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Showdown    by Ted Dekker order for
by Ted Dekker
Order:  USA  Can
WestBow, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

A stranger named Marsuvees Black arrives in a tiny town, nestled in the Colorado mountains. The people of Paradise don't know what to make of Black - each person he encounters comes away with a different impression of the man. Some think he's evil, others that he's wonderful. Though Black promises to bring grace and hope to the town, his actions don't seem to mirror his words. Only Johnny, a young boy, is incredibly suspicious of Black's motives and is mostly able to resist his strong persuasive tactics.

Nearby, hidden deep in the canyons is a monastery run by committed teachers. Many young orphans have been raised there. The teachers attempt to instill moral and godly values apart from any worldly influence. They want to see if these young adults will choose good over evil if they aren't exposed to evil. But a tremendous power exists in the monastery. When unleashed, it has the potential to cause far-reaching effects beyond anyone's imagination.

When these two seemingly unrelated contexts begin to overlap, will any of the people involved come out unscathed? It will take the ultimate showdown between good and evil to declare a winner in the battle.

This is one of the most uniquely written books I've ever read. I didn't put together what was really going on until about two thirds of the way through the story. The characters are unusual, their motivations and actions strange, and their choices don't make much sense. Many of the events felt like they were pulled straight from the pages of a Stephen King novel. However, once you discover the big picture - wow, what a thrill ride! Generally I would be tempted to put down such a book, but I'm glad I stuck with this one. I challenge other readers to do the same - you will not be disappointed.

There are many biblical themes explored in Showdown. The consequences of free will, the faith of a child, and the effects of the choices we make on others around us. Ted Dekker is a gifted author who helps us see these issues in new and different ways. Inspirational fiction readers looking for a fresh and unusual thriller will delight in every page.

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