At some point in the career of a writer, their inspiration spout temporarily stops flowing, making the blankness of the page seem more daunting than inspiriting. Many are surprised to find out that readers can get the same feeling. Sometimes you pick up a book or two and lose interest, but you hold on to hope it will get better. In the end, however, you toss it on the shelf and forget about it.
The thought of window shopping for new books that actually interest you, however, can feel almost as overwhelming as dating post-quarantine. Thankfully, author Ted Dekker has a long list of timeless titles that will immediately hook your interest, keep you turning the page and make you demand more.
Dekker is now being likened to Stephen King in terms of horror and suspense novels. The busy writer has published over 40 novels with over 15 million copies sold worldwide. Two of his novels, “Thr3e” and “House,” have been adapted into films.
His creative creations are often a combination of fantasy, science fiction, horror, thriller and Christian fiction. Dekker is well known for his adrenaline-infused stories, unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters and confrontations between good and evil. Most of all, Dekker has the powerful ability to hook his audience by starting in the midst of drama and creating emotionally vulnerable villains that readers somehow find themselves sympathizing with.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with reader’s block, here are some of Dekker’s best novels to binge to renew a love of literacy.
“The Circle Series”
Some of Dekker’s most popular novels belong to “The Circle Series,” the majority of which were published in 2004. After a near-death encounter with an assailant, Thomas Hunter wakes up in a dark fantasy realm with black twisted trees and evil bat-like creatures called Shataiki. Everything dark and evil resides in the Black Forest, including their leader, Teeleh. The Black Forest stands in stark contrast to the luminous Colored Forest, a utopian civilization of humans that are watched over by their god, Elyon. The two forests fight in a never-ending battle of good versus evil.
When Hunter wakes up from his dreams, he finds himself back in the real world in which a deadly airborne virus called the Raison Strain threatens to wipe out humanity. In his dream world, Hunter has the power to control the present-day world by writing Books of History. Both his dream world and the real world are in danger, and their fates are decided by his choices.
The series was previously known as “The Circle Trilogy” and was published in the following order: “Black: The Birth of Evil,” “Red: The Heroic Rescue” and “White: The Great Pursuit.” A set of graphic novels was released for comic lovers in 2007. In 2009, “Green: The Last Stand” was published to serve as both a prequel to explain the beginning of the series and a sequel to round the series out.
Published in 2007, “Skin” is one of Dekker’s most underrated novels. Wendy Davidson, a cult survivor, stops in the fictional town of Summerville, Nevada. Upon her arrival, three tornados ravage the small, isolated town and leave only five survivors. Davidson, a policeman and two siblings attempt to dig their town out of the desert sand when they find that they are at the mercy of a much more ominous threat — a serial killer named Sterling Red.
This professional killer holds closely guarded secrets about what’s going on beneath the skin of Summerville. Red puppeteers the five into playing a murderous game where they must kill the ugliest of the group. The novel follows Davidson and the other survivors as they struggle to discover Red’s identity, who may be hiding among the group members, and determine the meaning of true beauty. They don’t have a lot of time before Red goes on his revenge-killing spree.
The 2003 novel “Thr3e” was Dekker’s first book to be made into a featured film. Although the 2007 film was not received well and was pulled from theaters after grossing $1.4 million, the novel remains one of Dekker’s best Christian psychological thrillers and leaves readers clinging to the edge of their seats.
Kevin Parson, a theology student, is driving his car late one night when his phone rings. An infamous serial killer by the alias the Riddle Killer (R.K.) threatens to murder Parson and blow up his car unless he confesses his sins to the world in three minutes. R.K. drops biblical references and riddles as clues to his true identity and his motivations. While attempting to discover the sin R.K. is alluding to and solving his riddles, Parson risks the lives of his friends and family. As always, Dekker leaves readers continuously guessing about who the perpetrator is until the very end.
One of Dekker’s most recent thrillers is titled “Play Dead.” In the not-so-distant future, the world resorts to working from home and communicating with each other by connecting in virtual reality chatrooms that are nearly indistinguishable from real life.
People are outraged at the discovery of two teenagers that were ritualistically murdered in a park in Austin, Texas. Their deaths are traced back to a mysterious virtual game known as Play Dead; however, overwhelming forensic evidence points to Jamie Hamilton, a young man on the autism spectrum, as the killer. Angie Channing, a world-renowned true-crime writer, tries to prove Hamilton’s innocence while uncovering the secrets about the relentless game of cat and mouse known as Play Dead.
In an interview with Life Is Story, Dekker explains his inspiration for “Play Dead” and connects it to the false convictions in the 1994 West Memphis Three murders. “That got me wondering what would happen if I woke up one day and discovered that all of my own grievances were based in illusion,” Dekker mused. “What if I realized that all of the darkness that I’ve ever seen is only because my perception has been distorted?”
For those who cannot get enough of Dekker, there are many other phenomenal stories worth picking up — although you may not be able to put them down. Dekker and his daughter, Rachelle, have just announced the release of their trilogy, “And They Found Dragons,” available Nov. 9. The series is written for the enjoyment of anyone ages nine to 99 and, considering the impeccable writing abilities of the Dekker family, is sure to be a page-turner.
If you’re finding yourself unmotivated to finish the books piled up on your bookshelf, it might be time to pick up one of Dekker’s novels that are guaranteed to make you love reading once again.