On the surface, I come across as a friendly and approachable person to most people. But my mind is capable of thinking grim and twisted thoughts that many would question if they experienced them. Everyone has a dark side; and I’m sure author J.F. Penn would concur. Reading Desecration feels like taking a step into the dark regions of her mind. This is an author that is always bright and cheerful in podcast form, but yet Desecration is a book that has succeeded in making even me – someone nonchalant about the harshest of realities – cringe a little.
This is by no means a bad thing, because I crave stories that have the ability to affect me mentally and physically, and this will be the case for many who read this book. Desecration follows Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke as she is assigned to investigate the mysterious death of Jenna Neville; whose body was found at the Royal College of Surgeons. Jenna is found with a figurine, leaving Jamie desperate find out what clues it can provide. She is then led to Blake Daniel who is a psychic with the ability to see glimpses of an objects history.
The murder-mystery element is full on in this book and the pace rarely slows down. At times Jamie’s character can come off as slightly robotic, but this is solved by her daughter’s role in the story. Jamie’s daughter Polly is terminally ill and on her last legs. Jamie’s moments with Polly begin to really pull on the heart strings, adding some emotional depth to the story.
We also get to see things from Blake Daniel’s perspective a few times. Blake’s scenes often leave much intrigue about the character. Sadly, by the end of the book I didn’t feel like we got to fully know much about him. However, Desecration is a part of a series, so I’m glad that there will be more opportunities to learn about Blake. His interactions with Jamie also leave much to be desired and J.F. Penn does a fantastic job by placing curiosity around their future.
Blake is ultimately a complex character and difficult to read. For example, he is surprisingly eager to help Jamie out during their first introduction, when in fact I imagined he would be a little reluctant to share his talents with everyone. He’s a character that keeps you guessing, and he makes me want to read more of the London Psychic Trilogy.
For those who enjoy reading mysteries to decipher clues along with the characters, I would say that it’s not always easy in Desecration. It is however, full of suspense and satisfying to uncover the twists and turns that Jamie endures. The final revelation isn’t exactly shocking, but the sequence that follows is simply unforgettable and unlike anything else I’ve ever read. The conclusion is grotesque and not or the faint-hearted.
With Blake’s ability, Desecration is almost supernatural but realistic enough to make it plausible. His ability never stands out or feels out of place in the realm that J.F. Penn has crafted. Another thing that she deserves much credit for is the amount of research she put in. If you’ve ever read her blogs then you’ll have an idea how serious she takes her research when writing a book. J.F Penn is the type of author that travels to specific places to get a real sense of the surroundings. She is extremely vivid in her descriptions, and her words have the ability to embed images into your mind. She also delivers titbits of history that is both relevant to the story and verifiable after a Google search. Her writing always feels authentic.
Desecration is a thrilling read, and should be welcomed by those who want to experience a more obscure mystery. There are some unanswered questions by the end of the book, – like, is Jamie’s boss really crooked? – but these aren’t questions that hinder the story should you want to read it as a stand-alone. What’s more, I’m told that you can read the London Psychic Trilogy in any order and not feel left out.
Everyone has a dark side, it’s how you channel it that matters. J.F. Penn is channeling her inner-darkness into exciting works of fiction, and what’s not to love about that? After such a satisfying experience with Desecration, I already know that I will be reading both Delirium (#2) and Deviance (#3). It’s just a matter of when.
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