Desecration by J.F. Penn

Desecration by J.F. Penn


“If you like dark & graphic thrillers, give it a try.”


When the body of a 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 is the only lead and she enlists Blake Daniel, a reluctant clairvoyant, to help her discover the message it holds.

When personal tragedy strikes, Jamie finds her own life entwining with the morbid fascinations of the anatomists, and she must race against time to stop them claiming another victim.

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Why I Liked It

As if Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke’s investigation into the macabre world of grave robbery, body modification and genetic engineering wasn’t enough to keep her awake at night, when it takes a personal turn, she is not only struggling to expose a gruesome underworld but is also fighting for her life.

Desecration certainly lives up to its name. It is a dark and graphic mystery/thriller that deals with plenty of unique and unusual albeit uncomfortable themes, including corpse art and dissection. Just how depraved humans can be is explored in this action packed and well researched story. The fascinating historical information was dropped in effortlessly. Who knew for example that necrophilia was only made illegal in the UK in 2003?

I was drawn into this book by the prologue, told in the first person, where we meet the antagonist and catch a glimpse of their chilling character. (I actually wish there was more of the book in this style.) We are then introduced to DS Jamie Brooke and follow her journey into the sick world she finds herself investigating. But this is so much more than a police procedural. Jamie is a tortured soul whose young daughter, Polly, is dying. Her story is heart-breaking and there are very moving scenes. When Polly dies, I wondered what would happen to the case as Jamie takes personal leave, but then there was a huge twist in the story. There is never a dull moment as the horrors of the case are combined with Jamie’s personal life and her interesting partnership with Blake – a psychic who can read objects.

As I read the book, I wondered about the truth surrounding the bizarre, grisly acts discussed so the author’s note at the end was enlightening, though unnerving. I was also glad to read that Jamie and Blake will be working together again soon.

So if you’re looking to learn about dark but fascinating topics in an original thriller (this is definitely not a cozy mystery) where you will develop an emotional connection with the main character, this is the book for you!



Body parts line up here in a macabre apothecary’s shop, strange and bizarre with colors of pus, bone and decay.


As he spoke, Jamie saw that his tongue was forked, split into two, strangely grotesque but mesmerizing to watch.


A human cadaver sat at a desk, flesh ripped open to reveal its inner organs, as if it had been exploded from the inside out. “This is one of my works in progress.”

Jamie didn’t react and she was impressed that Missinghall didn’t either. They just stood there in front of the body looking inside the preserved corpse, a compelling obscenity.

“This is your art?” she said.


The thin canvas gloves he habitually wore prevented the casual visions that could intrude, but now he laid his bare fingertips upon the figurine.

Sometimes the visions were hazy and he expected to ease slowly into this one but immediately he saw the body of a young woman. Her lower abdomen was cut open, her organs on display …


If you would like to read about Jamie’s exploits in “Desecration”, buy your copy TODAY from Amazon.


Behind The Scenes

Learn a little more about the author and her book with these snippets of previously unknown trivia that Joanna has been kind enough to share!

About you

I’m a PADI Divemaster and love scuba diving. My most memorable dive was a freezing morning off the coast near the Moeraki Boulders in New Zealand where I lay on my back in the giant kelp and felt like I was in the most perfect cathedral. It’s the closest I have personally felt to something divine.

I’m a taphophile, someone who loves graveyards. I used to live in one, at least it was a house belonging to the church next to the graveyard! I also have a Pinterest board.

About the book

Blake’s reading of the Hunterian Museum is based on my own physical reactions to the medical specimens when I first visited. I really did feel the same revulsion and disturbance, which became the seed idea for the whole book. Blake’s reliance on tequila has its origins in my own flirtation with alcohol for self-medication when I worked in the city of London in the 1990s. Scary times!



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Desecration stats: rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars from 17 reviews

Goodreads rating: 4.73 out of 5 stars from 11 ratings

Price: $4.99

Pages: 266

(Correct at the time of writing.)

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