by Ted Dekker

Paperback, 2005



Call number



Thomas Nelson Publishers-Fiction (2005), Edition: International Paper Edition

Original publication date



Welcome to Paradise. Epic battles of good and evil are happening all around us. Today that battle comes to town with the sound of lone footsteps clacking down the blacktop on a hot, lazy summer afternoon. The black-cloaked man arrives in the sleepy town of Paradise and manages to become the talk of the town within the hour. Bearing the power to grant any unfulfilled dream, he is irresistible. Seems like bliss . . . but is it? Or is hell about to break loose in Paradise?



1595540814 / 9781595540812

User reviews

LibraryThing member bibliophile1887
Paradise, Coloarado. A small mountain town, population 450. Very little changes in Paradise. Almost nothing happens from day to day. One hot summer afternoon, a stranger appears in town. Marsuvees Black is a preacher and says he’s been sent by God. It seems he can work miracles and the
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townspeople quickly fall under his spell. Then things start to happen. The clouds roll in and the town in isolated. No one is acting like they should. People are seeing things. The town is falling apart, and everyone believes that Black is the answer to their problems. Everyone except Johnny. Johnny sees Black for who he really is, and finds himself alone, trying to fight him. It’s only when Johnny goes up into the mountains and finds the monestary that he discovers what is really happening. And that the only way to stop the evil is with the faith of a child and the love of a Father.

Although Showdown is a good book, there were parts that I didn’t like. Although I don’t read Stephen King, I have heard that his books are all tied together. They all take place in the same universe and there are several that reference the people and actions in others. When your books are diverse as his are, that’s an impressive feat. Ted Dekker does the exact same thing in Showdown. He directly references the two main characters from his Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, and White). In fact, this book explains a few (rather important) things that are not explained in the trilogy itself. He has created a very interesting story. It weaves throughout his books tying them together. But it’s been done before, two years ago with Stephen King’s The Dark Tower VII

I could go on about a few other things I thought were weak (most of the townspeople are two dimensional), but I don’t want to turn you off from this great book. It is definitely worth the read and once you do, you’ll also have to pick up the Circle trilogy. They are equally gripping. Ted Dekker is a fine author. He writes Christian suspense well, and his books always leave you pondering some deep theological questions. Showdown tackles a big one. Can the pure faith of a child really move mountains? I’ll leave the answer for you to figure out when you read the book!
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LibraryThing member tcarter
Interesting idea underpinning the story, which I won't reveal as it would be a significant spoiler. Does leave you thinking about the nature of the battle between good and evil but as literature had a couple of failings for me. The main one was that I didn't really care about any of the characters.
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I suspect that this is because there are just too many of them. Compared to Peretti, whose themes are very similar, and also to Three by Dekker, which are focussed on a few characters, encouraging you to get more involved with them, the cast here is too wide.
In summary, an interesting concept worked out fairly flatly, worth a read but not a classic.
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
Ted Dekker is obviously a fan of Stephen King. He writes like King, and that is a compliment. His style is imitative of King, but he imitates well. The story is a strange supernatural... almost horror... allegory of God giving his only begotten son to save us all. The religion doesn't really come
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into focus until the last 40 pages or so.
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LibraryThing member Omrythea
This book had a lot of similiarities to Steven King's Storm of the Century TV special. (Not sure about the book since I didn't read that one.) An interesting story, kinda gory and yucky, with all the slimy worm poop being eaten by the bucketful, but still fine for a quick, easy read. This book was
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intended to explore human nature and the fall of innocence in people, but I am not sure how effective it is at actually doing this. It also has some things in common with the Inkheart series, where what is written can influence actual events in a story, but unlike that book, this one is definitely for adults.
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LibraryThing member debs4jc
Is Ted Dekker getting too bizarre and full of blood and gore? I really liked his earlier books but this one kind of threw me for a loop. Basically there is this town in an isolated part of Colorado called Paradise. A wierd dude shows up and starts claiming to be a prophet of some sort--a prophet
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who does some stage tricks and then somehow has the whole town convinced to let go of their inhibitions and give into their obsessions. So one townsperson is gorging herself on food--but that's mild compared to some of the others who are sharpening stakes to use as intruments and generally destroying the town or each other. Meanwhile there is this monastary of sorts outside of the town where there are these children who have been part of an experiment to see what happens to kids raised in a controlled environment with no contact from the outside world. One of the kids discovers some tunnels under the monastary filled with all sorts of disgusting things and also a library full of books. He is drawn to the forbiddeness of the tunnels and pretty soon has the entire school in a revolution against the teachers and order. Somehow these two are related, and many more bizarre things happen along the way.
For me this book was filled with too much unexplained violence and some of the supernatural events that drove the plot along were too bizarre for me to stomach. So if you like that sort of thing give this one a try, but otherwise it may not be for you.
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LibraryThing member Eskypades
Showdown was a good read, albeit definitely not as good as the Dekker’s Circle Trilogy. In my opinion, Dekker has a pretty good grasp on the art of allegory. In Showdown, you have the classic struggle of good versus evil, but Dekker has a way of mixing it up a little bit. The story centers around
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two locations mysteriously interwoven – a town called Paradise (oddly enough) where a man named Marsuvees Black decidedly shakes things up quite a bit and a monastery in the mountains where a special project has been under way for the past 12 or so years. Half-way through the book, Dekker introduces a key element that anyone who has read the Circle Trilogy will recognize immediately. (As a side note, if you’ve not read the Circle Trilogy, read them before you read Showdown.) In the end, there is an allegorical element of redemption and a very stirring portrayal of just a tiny bit of the agony that must have ripped the heavens when God willingly sacrificed his Son, Jesus.

The other main take-away from this book that I had was the graphic (and rather disturbing, at times) depiction of the blackness of the sin nature. As the actions and thoughts of the townspeople rapidly degenerate, through the first half of the book it appears that they really have no control over what they do, but are seemingly under the power of a hallucinogen. However, it is later revealed that while there is some outside influence, all the choices made by the townspeople (even down to the seemingly untouchable minister!) are completely their own, and almost without exception everyone chooses the wrong, all the while thinking they have been “freed.” That’s a pretty good description of the sin nature, in my opinion.
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LibraryThing member chocolattepi
At first, I found Showdown to be rather tedious. It switches back and forth between the town of Paradise, Colorado, and a Monastery. It took until the halfway point of the book for it to really get exciting for me. But when it did, it got exciting and engaging very quickly. The rather slow build-up
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was definitely worth it! I loved the constant battle between good and evil, and what was actually good? What was the definition? Was it really good, or was it evil? Or was evil really good if it lead to the discovery of love? I enjoyed this book immensely and would recommend it to others. This was the first of Dekker's work that I read, but I will be reading more in the future.
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LibraryThing member nesum
Taken as a thriller, this book is okay. It frequently drifts into silliness, and the plot over the top, though Dekker does keep your attention, and it's a reasonably fun read.

Taken as a religious allegory, which (we see clearly by the end) it was clearly meant to be, it is a good illustration of
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the problems you have when you have a false understanding of the Gospel.

We see, for example, just how impotent God is under a theology that exalts man's free will over God's free will. The God-figure of the book is utterly helpless against the rising tide of evil in this book -- he can only hope that things turn out okay.

This is not the way God is. God is sovereign over all things. He does not sit back and hope for the best, but instead moves the earth by His hand to bring about His redemptive purpose.

The real problem comes in the end, and it is mainly bcause Dekker has a false understanding of the atonement. I'll not give away the details, but in his understanding of the atonement (which seems to be simply "Love conquers all"), we really have quite a silly conclusion that only makes sense under specific and contrived circumstances.

Dekker's understanding of the evil within all of us is pretty sound, so I wonder why he thinks that a little love can make up for all of that wickedness. God, in Dekker's world here, is a helpless old man who just wants to hug everyone, not a holy and righteous sovereign. Why does the massive amount of evil that is perpetrated in this book not worthy of justice?

The true atonement answers this question. Jesus did not merely die to show us love (though that is certainly true), but to pay the price for our sin. He took the punishment we deserve upon Himself so that we could live. Those who repent and have faith in Him will find their just sentence served by Him.

Some of Dekker's own comments about being a "post-Christian believer" prove rather clearly that he is not of the faith. We should pray for him, and pray that God reveals to him to truth of Christ's work on the cross.

Luckily for Dekker, the true God is not one who merely sits back and hopes that all of us wicked people suddenly become good people and seek Him. God actively saves His children. We should pray that Dekker is amongst them.
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LibraryThing member enewt823
I am only about halfway through this long novel, however, I may not like it. I am a fan of Stephen King and the similiarities between Necessary Things and this novel are kind of obvious. From the cruel reverend's entry into the small town smoldering with unsavory feelings to the lone preteen who
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understands the stranger's true nature, the plot is carbon copy. I will finish the novel because I want to know if poor Johnny is able to defeat the evil reverend.
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LibraryThing member buzzkiss
Just couldn't get into it, by page 50 I gave up.
LibraryThing member Elizabeth.Wong98
Showdown is a project designed by the top students from Harvard who are now adults. The main goal of the project is to see if kids can keep from being contaminated with evil. It succeeds, but only for about 10 kids. The rest are on the dark side now, changing the world every second, literally. The
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kids have found the books of history, magical books that make into reality whatever you write. And now they are wrecking havoc on the town below them, Paradise. But one kid decided to change that. His name is Samuel. Samuel willingly goes down to Paradise, now a war zone, and stops the fighting by defeating Marsuvees Black, his arch enemy. But Samuel doesn't defeat him completely, leaving Black to wreak havoc somewhere else.

This book was okay, but it wasn't as good as some of the other books in this series. It was confusing, and a little gross. One thing I liked though was the villain. The villain was awesome because he had all these powers and could bend people to his will. Overall, this book was okay, but I wouldn't read it again.
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LibraryThing member chsbellboy
Ted Dekker's Paradise series is an enjoyable three-book read in typical Dekker style. There are several different Christian motifs sprinkled throughout the page turners. In all, the Paradise series is my favorite series by Dekker. This is the first book by publication date in the series.
LibraryThing member CoreyHolst
Stephen King at his best........Oh, Wait.... Ted Dekker, sorry Ted. It was strange, original, and deeply twisted. If you like Stephen King, you'll love Showdown. The goodreeads tag says Paradise #1, but don't let that disuade you, it still has an ending. It leaves room for more, but doesn't leave
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you dangling like some. Somethings I could see coming, others I could not, but I did enjoy that twisted sort of way.
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LibraryThing member mtlkch
I made it to page 14, but had to stop after he ate the wart.
LibraryThing member indygo88
I don't even know how to describe this one. Part horror, part supernatural, part thriller, with some Christian undertones. Basically a man (Marsuvees Black) arrives in the small town of Paradise, Colorado and starts creating havoc. Meanwhile, in a nearby monastery, orphan children who have been
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brought up with a religious background and have been tailored to become gifted writers, become divided and seek out the restricted underground tunnels, discovering secret blank books. However, when the children begin writing in the books, their stories become reality, adversely affecting the town of Paradise.

This book is as crazy as it sounds. I still am not sure what the point of it was or why Marsuvees Black began causing trouble in the first place. The audio I listened to was an abridgment. I'm not sure if the story would've made more sense to me had it not been abridged. Probably not. But I doubt that I'll read anymore Ted Dekker. Too weird.
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