You don't necessarily have to read the Paradise novels in order, but if you want to learn the details in sequential order the way they are listed above is how to go. If you read Sinner first you are going to learn some of the suspenseful details without reading Showdown, but I liked "suffering" through each book learning the details in order. In reading Saint and Sinner you learn some about the Showdown story, but many important details are left out. Each book builds on the last, but each book can stand alone.
Sinner is one of those books that is really hard to describe without giving away the story line of at least three other Ted Dekker novels. It is part of the Paradise Series and part of so much more. Ted Dekker has weaved several series into one larger series (Books of History). His writing takes you past what most would consider normal and into different realities. Spiritual warfare is a large part of his writing in the books that fall into the Books of History series. The author gives us a glimpse into the dark side and encourages the reader to consider the Light.
From Ted Dekker's Web Site
Some say roll with the punches. Drift with the tide. Nothing can stop the inevitability of change. There was a time when 300 Spartans disagreed with such banal thinking and stood in the gap. Now it’s time for the 3000 to stand in the gap. Sinner is the story of Marsuvees Black, a personification of raw evil who speaks with wicked persuasion far more destructive than swords or guns. Beware all who stand in his way. It’s the story of Billy Rediger and Darcy Lange, two unsuspecting survivors of a research project gone bad, who discover that they are quite extraordinary, perhaps the two single most powerful souls in the land. Listen to them or pay a terrible price. And it’s the story of Johnny Drake, the one who comes out of the desert and leads the 3000. Follow him and die. But most of all, Sinner is the story of our country just around the corner when all that was once held sacred in a free land where any man, woman or child could worship as they pleased and say what they believed on any street corner is shredded in name of tolerance. Sacrificed on the alter of hate crimes. Smothered by laws. Most will role with the punches. Most will drift with the tide. But not all. Not the 3000.
This book encourages us to count the cost and consider a day when our relationship with Jesus may not be as free as it is today in our comfortable world. What would you do if you were told you couldn't worship freely and you couldn't share your faith?