I officially no longer have rhyme or reason when picking my next audiobook 😂
I found The Priest’s Graveyard through a Search for books narrated by Rebecca Soler, who is probably my favorite female narrator. I have a few books by Dekker but not this one. I do usually love vigilante thrillers too and Dekker has an absolutely fascinating upbringing and tendency to write on the spiritual side, so, let’s see how this one worked out for me
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: The Priest’s Graveyard
- Series: Danny Hansen #1
- Author: Ted Dekker
- Publisher & Release: Center Street, 2011
- Length: 368 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐ if you like psychological and vigilante thrillers that stay fairly clean
On the audio: about 10.5 hours from Hachette audio, narrated by Rebecca Soler and Henry Leyva
Here’s the synopsis via GoodReads:
Two abandoned souls are on the hunt for one powerful man. Soon, their paths will cross and lead to one twisted fate.
Danny Hansen is a Bosnian immigrant who came to America with hopes of escaping haunted memories of a tragic war that took his mother’s life. Now he’s a priest incensed by the powerful among us who manipulate the law for their own gain, uncaring of the shattered lives they leave behind. It is his duty to show them the error of their ways, even if he must put them in the grave.
Renee Gilmore is the frail and helpless victim of one such powerful man. Having escaped his clutches, she now lives only to satisfy justice by destroying him, regardless of whom she must become in that pursuit.
But when Danny and Renee’s paths become inexorably entangled things go very, very badly and neither of them may make it out of this hunt alive.
So this is a pretty character based thriller, let’s start there. I liked Danny and what he was doing, I liked the brutal backstory of how he got from Bosnia to California and became the man he is today, both priest and calculated killer. I also liked how Henry Leyva narrated him with the thick but understandable accent
I even liked Renee at first. She seemed like someone who had made some bad choices and was able to rebound from them. The two characters seemed like a decent team, and of course Rebecca Soler can do no wrong and she was Renee’s voice.
Pause the thought on the characters –
Action wise, this is definitely a suspense novel at times and thriller at others. Although the book was not exceptionally exciting, it had its moments of action and reckoning that kept me interested through out.
My favorite part was all moral debating that Danny did on how he justifies being a monster. It was interesting too to see the symbols in names and other small spiritual elements that Dekker out into the story. He doesn’t preach at all but there’s a small undercurrent of spirituality that would be concurrent with Danny as a priest.
So… How did this go from five stars to three stars? It got predictable. If I can predict something, it’s super predictable. That isn’t the main issue though.
Towards the end, Dekker completely lost me on the “romantic” element. I’m just absolutely not believing that Danny would fall for an addlepated and traumatized drug addict (in recovery) who is frankly batshit crazy, unless Danny is batshit crazy too. Renee became annoying as hell, jeopardized their missions, put them both in danger, and was just bluntly an idiot. Danny’s flawed judgement is about as bad as hers is if he wants to “love” her, and Renee literally just falls in with whatever man is in front of her. As soon as Dekker started portraying that idiot (with a long history of bad life decisions) as some kind of precious flower, he lost me.
The Priest’s Graveyard has a good premise, good action, good vigilante debates, and good audio, but it felt short overall for me mostly because of the improbable relationship that formed, even if the premise was an interesting psychological element.
A lot of people really liked this book and I would definitely recommend trying it if you like vigilante books.