As a favor for a fellow author, Ian Jackson, I decided to read and review his debut novel Dead Charming. A psychological thriller set in the United Kingdom about a deceiving psychopath and the police who pursue him.
Ian Jackson’s debut novel, Dead Charming can be best described as graphic yet inviting. While the story details the accounts of several individuals, the main protagonists of the novel would have to be ‘Joe Reed’ and Jenny Foster.
‘Joe Reed’ comes off at first to be the perfect gentleman, a guy that anyone would instantly be friends with and would share a drink with. However, it is quickly learned that he has a sinister nature that could rival William Gacy. But over time, the reader learns that he is more a product of his environment and upraising, giving him the image of the tragic antihero. By the end of the novel, you genuinely feel sorry for him.
Jenny Foster on the other hand is a criminal profiler working for the Manchester Metropolitan Police, who at first just wanted to be treated equally as her male counterparts at the station. As she continues to delve into the case, you can see how it takes a toll on not only her mental and physical health, but how it affects her home life as well. This would actually reflect how many real life officers and investigators feel conflicted during cases and how it affects their lives.
While I primarily enjoyed the novel, I did have a few problems with it while I was reading. My first concern would be that some of the characters were not as fleshed out as the two primary protagonists such as Tony and Emma Jones. While there was some development of their characters, their roles in the novel were short lived. The secondary concern that I would have would be the graphic depiction of the sexual abuse that takes place during Joe Reed’s interactions. One of the examples of the violence that had me cringe would have been when Joe raping a drunken Marcie and suffocating her with a plastic bag. The attention to the detail in this violent sequences can be difficult for those who are more used to light heartened literature. Though I guess that it is more of a personal reaction more than anything else.
To anyone who wants to read a daunting psychological thriller, I would have to recommend Dead Charming. But I still have to give fair warning that this book is not for the faint of heart.
If you want to find out more about Ian, you can check out his home website here.