BoneMan's Daughters

by Ted Dekker
401 pages, Suspense
Reviewed by Luthien

Wonderfully suspenseful and intriguing book, but marketed for adults for a reason.


Ryan Evans is an intelligence officer in the armed forces, until he undergoes a traumatic experience that causes him to be sent home until he can recover. His life further falls apart when he finds out that his wife is divorcing him and has gotten a restraining order against him. But when his sixteen year old daughter Bethany is kidnapper by the notorious BoneMan, a man who kills his victims by breaking their bones, he resolves to do anything in his power to get her back alive, even if it means being mistaken for BoneMan himself.


Good and bad are clearly defined, although at the beginning the main character is forced by a terrorist to choose between giving the address of his family so they can be murdered or having an indefinite number of children he doesn't know murdered. Several people start comparing BoneMan's characteristics with characteristics of another criminal to point out that the other one cannot be prosecuted for BoneMan's actions even though the other criminal has done some gruesome things. Also, it is implied that at one time some evidence was planted to help an official win an election.

Spiritual Content

Although God is mentioned a few times, there are only two characters who are particularly for a certain religion are a priest and a Muslim terrorist. The main character is asked to "play God" at one point. Also, BoneMan's killings are conducted in a way that attempts to mimic Christ's death on the cross since none of His bones were broken. BoneMan also expresses his likes and dislikes in a way patterned after Proverbs 6:16. Bethany attends a private Catholic school, but thinks that Christianity is pointless.


BoneMan's method of killing his victims, breaking most of the bones in their bodies, is very violent and while it is not described in detail, enough information about it is given for the reader to understand that it is very painful. At one point, a character views directions that BoneMan wrote about how to break bones without breaking skin. At the beginning of the book, a terrorist mentally torches someone and leaves broken dead bodies in a room with him. The main character threatens another man (with good reason) and as a result is put under a restraining order. Several characters are killed by BoneMan, and BoneMan tries to force another character to break someone else's bones. The main character eventually breaks one of his own bones as well. Several people die when a vehicle is attacked. BoneMan breaks several fingers and convinces someone else to break another character's heel. The main character's daughter undergoes psychological torture, and there is an explosion in the book as well. There are a few strangled cats mentioned as well. One girl attempts to cut herself, and a man attempts suicide as well, but fails.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Several characters are drugged by an unknown concoction of BoneMan's, and also there are several scenes in which alcohol is consumed. BoneMan also seems to have an addiction of using Noxzema lotion to make his skin soft.

Sexual Content

One character is known to be having an ongoing affair with another character, who is described as a "womanizer." It is also mentioned that BoneMan does not rape his victims, though at one point he accuses one of trying to seduce him. When they walking to school, two friends sing several risque lyrics to a song and one does an undescribed inappropriate dance move. One girl is mentioned as not minding having boys stare at her. Also one of the characters is described as having had a "botched abortion."

Crude or Profane Language or Content

There are a couple of crude words in the book, mostly at the beginning. Also, it is mentioned that BoneMan completely undresses himself when he is alone at two different points in the story. Characters are also provided with buckets in which to dispose their waste products.


This was a well written book with a strong message about a parent loving and protecting his child. It shows a man's journey from only thinking he was doing a good job to being willing to give his all in order to care for her. I loved how it was suspenseful, but I did not enjoy the book itself as much as I have enjoyed other, more tame books. I also found it to be a bit sad that the main character lost so much and that he sometimes resorted to lying, though it seemed to be necessary for the story's plot overall.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: adult

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