Not for the faint of heart. Showdown makes a point and it does so well and at times in a graphic manner. Still, the best part of any Dekker novel is the intertwining of the message with the plot in a gripping manner. You can never extract the message from the plot, because the plot would die. And yet, you never quite reach the point of feeling “preached at”. Dekker does a fabulous job of making this story sufficiently allegorical to subdue the message without going overboard in the allegory.
Showdown takes place in a small town named Paradise in a Colorado valley. Paradise lies beneath a hidden and mysterious monastery. When a mysterious “Preacher” enters town with a message from God, things go from sleepy and quiet to insane in a matter of hours. Meanwhile, back at the monastery, a David Abraham leads a group of teachers who have been raising thirty-seven children. These children are being raised outside of the “wicked” influences of society in an experiment on human nature. Unfortunately, a rebellion is brewing amongst the ranks of the children. The crucible for these children and the town of Paradise is coming sooner than anyone expects. What is the place of “love” in religion and life?
Showdown lends itself to the gory in the first several chapters. After that, it tends toward unpleasant but not gross. Every character in the town of Paradise has a sin nature. One complaint is that a deacon runs the town saloon and the characters are introduced as they sit around the bar drinking. They are all church-going people. Another problem is the use of the name of God. Dekker uses the title of God in several ways that are questionable at best. There is no need for a Christian writer to write in that manner.
Overall, this isn’t his best book, but certainly better than the vast majority of Christian fiction writers. Well worth reading. Oh, and as a teaser: several elements from the Circle Trilogy show up in this book.