The Bottom Line: A must-read paranormal thriller filled with exhilarating action, ancient magic and historical fantasy. Fans of James Rollins and Dan Brown may find a favorite new voice in John Gray.
From the prologue, set in a turn-of-the-century New York graveyard, author John Gray’s cinematic prose is impossible to put down (“His face was a pincushion of whiskers and his breath fouled the air as he panted”). The pulse-pounding opening sequence ends with a cliffhanger before Gray catapults the narrative into the present day.
For Jennifer Shelby, hiding out among the dead felt like the safest way to escape dealing with the living. Her job working the night shift as a morgue attendant at the NYC Morgue seems like the perfect place for the pre-med dropout to be alone with her thoughts and hide from her past. That ends when she’s saddled with babysitting Trevor Pryce, a seemingly vapid, famous British actor who gets sent to the morgue to do community service after being charged with yet another DUI. His arrival is met with disdain by Jennifer, especially after he toys with the bodies as a macabre way to amuse her.
The night he arrives, something in the air—and at the morgue—is different. Bodies are suddenly not where they were left. The inhalation and exhalation of a ventilator whirring continually registers in Jennifer’s mind despite the obvious lack of one at a place dedicated to the dead.
Most importantly: an ancient Egyptian amulet is unearthed from a cemetery nearby and brought into the morgue, releasing a terrifying curse. It’s not long before things take a deadly turn, with re-animated corpses, hauntings and murders plaguing Jennifer and Trevor and turning them into unlikely allies in a race to keep the darkness from closing in on them. As the book progresses, Jennifer evolves into a sympathetic heroine that readers will love spending time with. Amid the creatures from beyond and bone-chilling twists, author John Gray – creator of TV’s Ghost Whisperer – gets plenty of mileage out of putting Jennifer and the occasionally “dirt-smeared movie star” in situations they never dreamed they’d be in.
Perfect for fans of James Rollins’-style supernatural archeology thrillers, The Desecrated is a taut, economy-sized novel that readers can easily finish on a long flight.