Customer Reviews for

The Priest's Graveyard

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

a character driven tense thriller

When Danny Hansen was fifteen years old, Serbians broke into his family home in Croatia; they killed his mother, and raped before killing his younger sisters. He knew this was a religious war between the Bosnian Orthodox Christians and the Catholic Croats with Muslims ...
When Danny Hansen was fifteen years old, Serbians broke into his family home in Croatia; they killed his mother, and raped before killing his younger sisters. He knew this was a religious war between the Bosnian Orthodox Christians and the Catholic Croats with Muslims in the mix. After killing the murderers of his family, Danny joined a militia seeking justice, but found no solace from the nightmare of what happened to his loved ones.

When he immigrated to America, he became a priest, but though he abides by the law of love and compassion for fellow mankind, he loathes the influential hypocrites who use the laws of man and God to fuel their avarice and perversions. Danny is an avenging killer targeting pedophiles, murderers and cold blooded sinners. His latest target is vicious Jonathan Bourque; also wanting this vile man dead is Renee Gilmore, a former hooker and drug addict. Danny meets Renee and takes her into his confidence while plotting how to kill the beast; unaware that what they wish whether it comes true or not will come back to haunt them.

The Priest's Graveyard is a character driven tense thriller starring two people who have given up on societal justice as each has been victims with no recourse in society except kill the enemy; yet in spite of their homicidal tendencies Ted Dekker enables readers to feel compassion for the pair. This non-stop action tale never slows down even with twists and turns that have the audience wondering what next will happen as Mr. Dekker pulls the rug out from his fans by switching direction several times in this exciting thriller.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on February 24, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

extremely disappointing

The story (a vigilante priest and drug addict accomplice) as described in the synopsis seemed as if it would be a great story. But it is destroyed by the constant inner turmoil of the characters. I found my self skipping through pages to eliminate the "whoa is me" porti...
The story (a vigilante priest and drug addict accomplice) as described in the synopsis seemed as if it would be a great story. But it is destroyed by the constant inner turmoil of the characters. I found my self skipping through pages to eliminate the "whoa is me" portions of the book which totally broke the flow of the story of vengance and vigilante justice. Then the "KUMBAYA" ending killed me I'm sorry but I have no idea how some one can give this 3 or 4 stars poorly done.

posted by Sonny855mp on May 1, 2011

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good Story

    This is the first book by Ted Dekker and I didn't know what I was missing. It is an intense, captivating, thrill ride from the start. Completely original, hard to put down tale of a girl who can be considered a lost soul and a priest focused on revenge so something that happened a long time ago.

    The first person you meet in Renee. Renee is a girl who moved to California while young with high hopes and dreams. Unfortunately she got caught up in the world of drugs instead. She is rescued one night by a mysterious man, Lamont Myers, who can only be credited with saving her life. Lamont from what we learn is an eccentric individual who lives in Malibu. He gives Renee a home and provides a place where she can be safe.

    We also meet Danny Hansen. Danny is originally from Bosnia, where he watched his mother and siblings killed in his own home during the way. He was able to avenge their deaths and learn more about those involved in that religious war before he left for America to try and recover. He ends up a priest in California who has some unusual side projects. He has become, in his mind, an avenging angel to others.

    Their stories come together when Lamont goes missing and Renee finds her way out of his house after living there for a year. She is going after his partner Jonathan Bourque who she believes knows something of his disappearance. Danny is looking into Bourque as well for vastly other reasons. Their paths cross one night and they end up working together, with Danny teaching Renee much he has learned about revenge.

    Both characters are immensely complex. But not hard to follow. Their stories unfold as time goes on and its easy to keep up.

    The theme of judgment is highly focused on. Where is the line crossed about judging others. How far can you go before you are as wrong as they are?

    This book was a complete page turner from the beginning, kept moving at a great pace and you couldn't wait to find out what happened next. All the way to the thrilling conclusion where you follow the characters to see what they learn after their life changing journey's. If you are looking for a great suspense novel, pick this one up right away.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    The Cost of Revenge

    Warning~~Graphic scenes.

    A young Bosnian man, now under the alias of Father Danny Hansen, came to the U.S. to escape the haunting memories of his mother's tragic death during the Bosnian War. He is outraged by the powerful manipulating the law for their own personal gain without regard to those whose lives are shattered in the wake of their lawlessness.

    Street-wise Renee Gilmore becomes a victim of one of these powerful men. Once she has escaped from his powerful grip, she wants revenge and justice, regardless of how it affects her or anyone else in the long-term.

    When Danny and Renee become acquainted through dire, deadly circumstances, nothing will ever be the same again for either party. It's questionable whether either will survive their escapades.

    Having read other books by Ted Dekker, I expected high-octane, thriller twists with plots that would pump your adrenaline throughout the pages. No disappointment here. The action-packed scenarios change at lightning-speed throughout the book, leaving you to ponder who would survive at the end of the scenes, particularly Danny and Renee, since they were taking on entrenched, big-time crime lords.

    The mood throughout the book is intense. Definitely not a book for the faint of heart. However, Ted's insertion of romantic scenes brings down the intensity enough to keep you turning the pages. Violence is high in this book. Almost too graphic in certain scenes, even for me. The distinct, delineated points of view make for a good understanding of the two main characters' thought processes.

    The idea of revenge is appropriately handled in the book, as is the aspect of judging other people's motives and lives. The ending is a complete surprise, but one that totally satisfies. For a 'rush' from a good read, this one will do it for you.

    This book was provided by Sarah Reck, Web Publicist, FaithWords & Center Street, in exchange for this blog tour and my honest review. No monetary value was exchanged.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    As good as expected

    One of those intelligent pieces of writing that is worth a second look, because I dare say most readers will probably miss the forest for the trees on first read. When I finished this book, I was able to look back and say "Aha! Why didn't I pick up on that!" The reason is that it was hidden in plain sight. I liked the way the author alternates between characters in the narration - a clever touch. It is not until the end that you realize the full impact of the psychological twist(s) of this thriller. Not unlike the old Hitchcockian thrillers that actually made you think. Very good storytelling.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Captivating Story

    On the surface, it's the story of a man who bestows judgment on those whom the law will not touch-on those who commit the worst crimes and get away with it. He gives them the option to repent or suffer the consequences, which would most likely be death. On the surface, it's the story of a victim of one of these crimes who follows the priest's path and seeks revenge for the crime against her. On the surface, it's a thrilling novel that captivates the reader with its riveting characters and plot about revenge and justice that gives you your book high from the first page to the last. But that's just on the surface. The Priest's Graveyard is a remarkable story about life and death, love and hate, and mercy and justice. If you experienced something terrible, how would you react if the authorities did nothing about it? Personally, I probably would have been right beside the woman taking vengeance out on the perpetrator. Once again, Ted Dekker created a compelling story that kept me glued to the pages. He managed to construct personal characters who think, feel, and suffer just like everyone else. Written in first person from the woman's perspective, The Priest's Graveyard forges a bond between the reader and the story. My heart broke when hers broke. But most importantly, this book teaches you something if you are willing to listen: "Judge not or else you'll be judged." Throughout the book, Danny judges others for their crimes, but he is as guilty as they were. His problem is that he realizes this far too late. This book was one of Dekker's best-written books for its highly intense and fast- paced storyline. From the first page, I was addicted and desperate to find out how it progressed. I devoured it. The only downside was how suddenly it ended. I was literally on edge until the last pages, but then it stopped so abruptly. I felt as if there should have been a few more pages to help take me off of the high. Overall, it is an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone looking for a suspense-filled novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2011

    Crime and punishment still rings true

    My favorite novel is Crime and Punishment by Feyodor Dostoevsky. In this most famous novel, he writes of a young man who believes himself above the law, because his "crimes" actually rid the world of people who only live to victimize others. So, truly, he argued, his actions were not sins as they actually benefited the world. He quickly learned how flawed his logic was, as his life spiraled downward close to insanity. In Dekker's newest novel, the protagonist (not your typical good guy) struggles with the same ideology. Only he doesn't learn quite as quickly as Raskolnikov, and drags another down with him. This other is a young and innocent woman who believes him fully when he shares his ideology with her, as she is harboring her own secrets so deeply she doesn't even know they are there. Both must struggle with the ideas of the morally grey, their role as the moral right, and where they fit into the law. If the law fails, is it not one's obligation to administer justice? Even in society today we do similarly: citizen's arrests, war on terror.... The two lead characters use this logic to fuel a rampage that would put Bonnie and Clyde to shame, and revert poor Raskolnikov to the moment after he dropped the ax. The narration is certainly unconventional (Dekker skips between first person and third person point of view, which grates against an English teacher's bones like a bad case of arthritis). And at first it is nearly impossible to see how the two characters' stories collide. But slowly Dekker weaves them together until their stories cannot ever be distinct again. He utilizes red herrings well, not too often to become overbearing, and keeping the reader engaged. The two leads are well-developed with intense backstory that shapes who they are and what they become. The unusually innocent and trusting character of the female lead lends itself perfectly to the storyline, increasing potential outcomes and resolutions to problems for the reader to ponder. Though not to be equated with the Russian classic, Dekker's latest novel wrestles with these questions of justice, judgment, and redemption potently and in such a way that the themes will stamp an impression in the reader's memory, certainly the highest goal of any author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    Motivated by love or hate?

    WOW!!! The Priests Graveyard has everything you want in a great suspense novel. This book will captivate you from the first few pages and lead you on a journey that ends in a twist!! Ted Dekker has created characters that have lived wounded lives, and in this novel he shares with us how they go on living. You may question if you would have made those same choices and I think that's what Dekker wants - he wants us to question or motives - are they driven by love or hate? This book will take you into the mind of a priest who loves and yet seeks justice, and a woman wounded seeking revenge.

    Is this book dark? Absolutely
    Is this book about love? Absolutely
    Will this book make you question your motives? Absolutely

    Is this Dekker's best work?
    I am not sure if this is Dekker's best work - I think that is still to come, or maybe has come in the works of...."The Circle Trilogy", "Three", "Adam", or "Blink"

    Is this Dekker's darkest book?
    I don't think so....I think that Dekkers previous works "Immanuels Veins", "The Bride Collector", and "Bonemans Daughter" were darker.

    This book is going to be a great addition to my library and I can't wait to share it with others!! Enjoy!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Can the End Justify the Means?

    'The Priest's Graveyard' by Ted Dekker is a philosophical thriller that follows the troubled lives of its two protagonists whose paths inevitably cross. Danny Hansen is a soul-scarred survivor of the Balkan War and is now a Roman Catholic Priest in the U.S. Renee Gilmore is prostitute and addict from a broken home. Both respond to their respective traumatic pasts by engaging in acts of vigilantism, which they feel are justified by their ends; bad people are no longer able to continue hurting good people.

    This is my first Dekker read outside of 'The Circle Trilogy' (plus one) and its spin-off books, all of which form a single landmark work the bridges the fantasy-reality gap while employing a masterful analogy of the Salvation History saga of mankind. This (the analogy/metaphor) is certainly an area of gifting for Ted Dekker, and he once again caught me off-guard in 'The Priests Graveyard.' Though far from the fantasy-laden 'Circle Trilogy/Books of Histories' series, I would suspect Dekker fans will not be disappointed with this work. I want to emphasize this fact first before addressing two elements of critique; true to his form, the author keeps the reader in suspense throughout.
    That being said, I do have some areas of concern or even caution.
    The first area is in the general presentation of the morality of certain 'acts of justice'. It is common in modern fiction to find ways to justify acts of vengeance meted out by a "good" character. Usually the easiest way to do this is have someone he/she loves be brutalized in some form. and just to make sure we make it REALLY okay, let's make it several people he/she loves, and add rape and torture to boot. Surely, that makes any acts of revenge or parallel vigilantism justifiable, right? I feel great lengths are gone to in this story to keep the reader sympathetic to the main characters despite their objectively evil acts. What is further troubling is that the main character is a Roman Catholic priest, who speaks a philosophy/theology so contrary to the most basic tenets of Catholic Moral Teaching-"The end never justifies the means" that it is hard to imagine how this man made it through seminary. We do seem to find that "Danny's" 'priesthood' is very ancillary to his identity/vocation along the way (perhaps it was just to add mystique or additional intrigue to someone who would have otherwise been a fairly one-dimensional character), making his character a bit INcredible. Dekker may have been attempting to bring resolution to this flawed moral thinking at the end, but the issue is left so ambiguous, I could not tell, and ambiguity within a metaphor that is meant to deal with Faith can be a very dangerous thing.

    That all being said, I've purposely avoided speaking much to the plot in this review because it unfolds in a very intriguing fashion that I pray no other reviewers will give even a hint of. My caveats notwithstanding, this is a great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Good read

    I've read everything Ted Dekker has written! This was another enjoyable story by Ted Dekker, with an unusual twist.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    Good Read

    I have yet to run across a bad Dekker book and this is no exception. Didn't expect the ending.

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    Good, but not Dekker's best

    When his mother and sisters are killed during a religious war, Danny Hansen makes it his calling to deal with the injustice in the world. Renee Gilmore is a victim of such injustice. When the love of her life is killed, she vows to avenge his death by going after his killer. These two paths eventually cross, and the twists and turns lead them down a road that could end with the deaths of both.

    If you’ve been to my blog enough, then you should know I am a huge fan of Ted Dekker. I have yet to read a book he’s written that I absolutely didn’t like. This one, however, is not one of my favorites. Dekker’s skill still shines. He knows how to weave a plot, and the characters are very well written. These characters in particular, though I could sympathize with them, were not really likable… but I believe that may have been intentional. These characters are born out of trauma and pain, which leads them to situations of more trauma and pain. But I think it was the unlikable characters that made me not enjoy the story as much.

    As usual, Dekker’s overall theme is love. Not mushy, romantic love… real love. This one also brings in themes of judgement and grace. Overall, it’s still a good story, just not up to par with Dekker’s previous work, in my opinion. You do have to realize, however, that my love of Dekker’s other works puts me into the OMG!-I-love-Ted-Dekker!-fangirl category. So my “negative” review of this book really isn’t all that negative, seeing as I hold his previous work in such high regard.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Exciting as always

    This book is among my favorite Ted Dekker books. My other favorites are Three and Adam. This had the religious, good vs. evil, tie-in. The story is captivating and the twist at the end is unexpected.

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