Tuesday 6 April 2021

Book Review: Desecration by J.F. Penn

Desecration by J.F. Penn book cover

Death isn't always the end.

When the body of a murdered young heiress is found within the Royal College of Surgeons, Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke is assigned to the case. An antique ivory figurine found beside the body her only lead, she enlists Blake Daniel, a reluctant psychic, to help her discover the message it holds.

The investigation leads them to a sinister secret society known as the Lyceum, who revel in human vivisection and murder.

When personal tragedy strikes, Jamie has nothing left to lose and she must race against time to stop the mysterious Lyceum before it claims yet another victim.

As Jamie and Blake delve into a macabre world of grave robbery, body modification, and genetically engineered monsters, they must fight to maintain their sanity... and their lives.

First things first - if you are squeamish, this is not the book for you! Desecration embraces the darkest side of human nature, in all its gory, horrifying glory. It's violent and emotionally-charged, yet it also has deeper themes and raises questions.

Desecration is a difficult book to review. The overriding initial thought is disgust at the graphic nature of some of the scenes in the book, but underneath that, there is empathy for Jamie and her situation. Jamie is complex and emotional; focused and aloof yet inside, she is crying out for someone to share her burdens. Her story is heartbreaking and at times, highly moving. 

The murder investigation comes second to Jamie's character-driven story, and although it links many different plot threads together, it is certainly not the central theme. Instead, this is very much a personal journey through the weird and macabre, as unsettling as it is emotional. 

The story comes to a head about three-quarters of the way through, and the last part of the book is much more fast-paced and action-packed. It does feel a little rushed and there are definitely unanswered questions - although these are possibly left to the sequel. This sadly left the ending inconclusive and the book ends on a dissatisfied note, which is a shame. 

All in all though, if you aren't afraid of tackling some difficult themes, questions of morality, and plenty of blood, guts, and gore, Desecration is a strong read. 

Rating: 3 stars

Desecration is available to buy now. 

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Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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