Friday, August 22, 2014


The novel Hacker is Ted Dekker's latest entry in his Outlaw series. The previous three books, which have all come out in the past year include, Eyes Wide Open, Water Walker, and Outlaw. The novel Hacker centers on a young woman named Nyah Parks whose father and brother died in a terrible automobile accident. Nyah's mother survived the accident, but it left her with degenerative brain trauma. Althought Nyah survived the wreck, it has left her with scars of a different sort. Nyah has lived a bit of a secluded life and has earned money by hacking into various company's computer systems, and then receiving payouts from these outfits in exchange for the vulnerabilities that she found. When the condition of Nyah's mother begins to worsen, Nyah gets her entered into an experimental research program. The only catch is that she needs to come up with $250k to pay for the treatments. Nyah's plan to raise the money is to hack into a security company to try to scam them into paying her off. However, when she does this, she uncovers some serious dirt that puts her life in grave danger when she is caught and her young helper is killed.

Nyah manages to escape the clutches of the company with the help of an FBI contact that she has worked with. Once free she seeks out the help of a fellow hacker named Austin (who we met in Eyes Wide Open). She and Austin had been close once, but one day he broke off contact with the world and kind of disappeared. However, Nyah tracks him down. Austin, it turns out, is slowly dying from an inoperable brain tumor. At one point he earned $10M from a company and spent nearly every penny of this money to set up some high-tech facility that allowed him to hack into his own brain. The story in this regard is more than a bit far-fetched, but somehow when Austin takes some special chemical concoction, it affects his brain such that he can enter the matrix to see beyond the "skin of this world". Ultimately Nyah joins him because she somehow comes to believe that this experience can help cure her mother.

I have read all of Dekker's published books and they tend to either be very good or very average. This story fell into the latter category. With Dekker publishing multiple books per year, it seems to me that he is aiming for quantity over quality. This book was marked by new-age dreck wrapped in some sort of Christian veneer. Shallow, unremarkable, under-developed, and utterly forgettable. In fact, this entire Outlaw series is all contrived flash and little substance.