Thanks to Anna at Hachette for letting me review this one.
About the Book
FBI Special agent Brad Raines is facing his toughest case yet. A Denver serial killer has killed four beautiful young women, leaving a bridal veil at each crime scene, and he's picking up his pace. Unable to crack the case, Raines appeals for help from a most unusual source: residents of the Center for Wellbeing and Intelligence, a private psychiatric institution for mentally ill individuals whose are extraordinarily gifted.
It's there that he meets Paradise, a young woman who witnessed her father murder her family and barely escaped his hand. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Paradise may also have an extrasensory gift: the ability to experience the final moments of a person's life when she touches the dead body.
In a desperate attempt to find the killer, Raines enlists Paradise's help. In an effort to win her trust, he befriends this strange young woman and begins to see in her qualities that most 'sane people' sorely lack. Gradually, he starts to question whether sanity resides outside the hospital walls...or inside.
As the Bride Collector picks up the pace-and volume-of his gruesome crucifixions, the case becomes even more personal to Raines when his friend and colleague, a beautiful young forensic psychologist, becomes the Bride Collector's next target.
The FBI believes that the killer plans to murder seven women. Can Paradise help before it's too late?
For more information on the Bride Collector please visit Hachette's website.
This was a very disturbing book, on a few levels. There's the serial killer, the Bride Collector, who is killing God's chosen one's. What's even more disturbing than the killings themselves is the fact that the Bride Collector truly thinks he is doing God's will by killing these women. Then there is the fact that the killer is using detective Brad Raines' past to get close to him, through the victims. So yes it was disturbing, but it was a great story!
I really liked the characters. Raines was great, he was dealing with a past that was being brought back for him to confront. The killer was insane, but yet his convictions were so strong, I understood why he thought what he was doing was right. Nikki, was a likable character, although she was a bit underdeveloped. But in the end I don't think her character was a main focus for the book. She was just a means to an end. Then there was the brood from the Center for Wellness and Intelligence. Paradise plays a large role in the book, and while she suffers from mental illness she was very "normal". My favorite character was probably Roudy. He was so serious about everything that he came off as a bit humorous to me.
One thing I really liked about this novel is that it showed mental illness in a very respectable light. The characters from the Center for Wellness and Intelligence all had their issues, but there wasn't any condescension surrounding them. There were quite a few times when Raines would make a comment to the effect of "and you're the crazy one". It truly showed that just because someone has a mental illness does not make them stupid, or ignorant, or any less of a human being. And while the characters in this book were different they weren't projected as being animals, which I think is a view that is normally painted around patients in mental hospitals.
I really liked the narrator in this one. John Glover's voice was easy to listen to, and he had so much character in his voice. While he is a recognizable person I didn't see his well-known characters while listening to him.
My only complaint with this one was that it was so long. Getting through the first 5 CDs seemed like it took forever. After the 6th CD though things picked right up. The last 7 CDs I went through quite fast. I hated having to switch CDs because I didn't want to have to take a break in the story.
Overall well written book with great characters and a great story.
The Bride Collector