Book Review: Kiss, by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy

Ted Dekker is a man with fans. Fans who blog. His name has been everywhere on the internet recently, and I was eager to get in on the fun with his newest release, Kiss, with co-author Erin Healy.

From the Thomas Nelsonwebsite:


Sometimes dying with the truth is better than living with a lie.

After a car accident puts Shauna McAllister in a coma and wipes out six months of her memory, she returns to her childhood home to recover, but her arrival is fraught with confusion. Her estranged father, a senator bidding on the White House, and her abusive stepmother blame Shauna for the tragedy, which has left her beloved brother severely brain damaged.

Leaning on Wayne Spade, a forgotten but hopeful lover who stays by her side, Shauna tries to sort out what happened that night by jarring her memory to life. Instead, she acquires a mysterious mental ability that will either lead her to truth or get her killed by the people trying to hide it. In this blind game of cat and mouse that stares even the darkest memories in the face, Shauna is sure of only one thing: if she remembers, she dies.

I was prepared for this to be a suspenseful mystery, and Dekker and Healy did not disappoint. I was not expecting the subtle supernatural twist, which I found both interesting and well-played. As I explained to my husband, “There are some elements of the unknown going on here, but they don’t overshadow the story and they don’t take it to any strange, exaggerated places.” Not for me, anyway. The plot remains planted in the very real world.

As far as the believability of that “real world,” I have to admit that I didn’t spend a lot of time evaluating the hows and oh really?s of every detail. For instance, the main character’s father is a presidential candidate just weeks away from the election. Having just gone through that process in this country, it could be easy to dissect the plausibility of certain situations surrounding her father’s activities and whereabouts. I decided instead to just get out of the way and let Dekker and Healy tell their story, and I found it compelling and entertaining.

I also really appreciated the pace at which Dekker and Healy chose to reveal the different truths behind the mystery. I found it relatively easy to predict the “bad guys” versus the “good guys” and the underlying motives for their actions, but it seemed that just as I made my predictions, Dekker and Healy would confirm them. They could have strung out certain aspects of the suspense for much longer, making for a frustrating read. Instead, things unfold just as they should and the story moves along.

I also liked the understated spiritual tones of the story and of Shauna’s experience. I understand, even as a newcomer to Dekker, that he is lauded as a “master of evangelical Christian suspense,” but I didn’t feel hit over the head with the Christian themes. Instead, they are woven into the characters’ lives and stories, and it feels more seemless than blatant.

Kiss was a good, suspenseful read, kept very clean and easily recommended to everyone.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 6, 2009)