In Ted Dekker's thriller Skin, a group of apparent strangers is caught up together in a small town in Nevada called Summerville as a result of a freak storm. Five people brought together by seemingly natural circumstances, yet there is a hidden connection in their past. Colt is a small-town cop whose mother was a prostitute and abandoned him as a child. Wendy is newly on her own after escaping an oppressive cult. Pinkus is a computer gamer who has suffered from epilepsy. Finally, there is the brother and sister Carey and Nicole. Carey is somehow linked to the occult and his sister is a pure beauty but overly innocent. Once trapped in Summerville, a serial killer named Sterling Red reveals himself to the group. After demonstrating his power, he tells them that they must kill the ugliest among them or he will begin to systematically wipe out the inhabitants of the town.
As the story progresses, Dekker's point is to explore the notion of ugliness from the viewpoint of flawed humanity. True beauty runs deeper than the surface layer that we present to the outside. Through the developing narrative, Dekker reveals what links all of the characters together and pulls back the curtains to show how our initial impressions of others do not truly reflect who they are. It is much deeper than the skin.
As I was reading this book, especially the first half, its plot and circumstances were very similar to House by Dekker and Frank Peretti. The second half of the book then ran in a slightly different direction but left several questions unanswered even after the plot lines ran their course. It was then that I learned that this book was intended to serve as a kind of bridge between Dekker's "Circle" series and his "Paradise" series. Certainly, Skin was nothing special, a bit played out and recycled, stale production line writing, but it did keep me company for a few nights and pulled me in at each reading with enough desire to see it through.