Title: Murderous Requiem
Author: Jamie Fessenden
Publisher: DSP Publications
Pages/Word Count: 234 Pages
At a Glance: Murder, mayhem, sex, love, this story had it all.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Jeremy Spencer never imagined the occult order he and his boyfriend, Bowyn, started as a joke in college would become an international organization with hundreds of followers. Now a professor with expertise in Renaissance music, Jeremy finds himself drawn back into the world of free love and ceremonial magick he’d left behind, and the old jealousies and hurt that separated him from Bowyn eight years ago seem almost insignificant.
Then Jeremy begins to wonder if the centuries-old score he’s been asked to transcribe hides something sinister. With each stanza, local birds flock to the old mansion, a mysterious fog descends upon the grounds, and bats swarm the temple dome. During a séance, the group receives a cryptic warning from the spirit realm. And as the music’s performance draws nearer, Jeremy realizes it may hold the key to incredible power—power somebody is willing to kill for.
Review: Author Jamie Fessenden offers up an unusual novel that is steeped in ancient magicks that call to both light and dark forces. Murderous Requiem is not your typical m/m offering and yet, there is something so interesting in this story that it keeps you reading well into the night just to see how it all turns out in the end. There are such strong undercurrents of love lost and rekindled yet still nearly unattainable that the story really had the ability to weigh heavily on the emotions. While there were times when some of the history and explanation of the order and its belief in ancient magick made my head whirl just a bit, I found the musical elements fascinating. I will say whether it was a history lesson or a quick dose of music theory that was served up, it was the story about Bowyn and Jeremy woven through these moments that was really outstanding.
Jeremy left the order several years before, giving Bowyn an ultimatum to either follow him or lose his love. Bowyn opted to stay with the order and with its leader, Seth. Jeremy spent the time apart pursuing his studies and becoming an expert in renaissance music, while Bowyn stayed in the order, slowly becoming Seth’s indispensable right-hand-man. When Bowyn contacts Jeremy and asks him to come interpret an ancient requiem that was heretofore undiscovered, the scholar in Jeremy cannot resist the invitation. To both his surprise and dismay, little has changed at the order—free love and partner sharing is still the order of the day, but now there are many more than just a handful of followers. Jeremy finds himself immediately drawn back in—including rekindling his relationship with Bowyn. But something else has changed. Bowyn has less and less to do with Seth sexually and has also come to some major revelations of his own—namely that giving Jeremy up those many years ago may not have been the wisest thing to do.
However, before either of them can really explore what they now may mean to one another, the centuries old manuscript seems to have hidden meaning—a meaning that may spell disaster to those who would perform it. The real question now becomes a race to discover exactly what dark forces may be called when the requiem is performed, and exactly why Seth feels it must be done immediately.
If you have read this author before, then you know that his writing is well researched and intricately drawn. There is a lot of material here—and some of it, despite Fessenden’s outstanding ability to weave a story, is heavy and, at times, a bit cumbersome. However, each time I felt my head begin to spin a bit, this author cleverly brought back the human element and his fascinating characters along with their deep emotional ties. Jeremy and Bowyn were simply made for each other—they are clearly in love and yet time after time, a wrench is thrown into the rebirth of their relationship. Even though both are able to come to terms with the fact that their time to be together may have passed, you cannot help but feel their strong desire that it just wasn’t so. This push and pull between them was so heartbreaking and yet, just as you began to despair it was all over for them, the author would toss in another glimmer of hope—sometimes one wrapped in truly sad circumstances.
Then there was the sinister—the evil pall produced by shadowy images, mysterious prayers invoking the gods of old, swarms of vicious crows where there should be none and secret passages that were walked in the dead of night—it all came together to produce one hair-raising moment after another. The moment when you felt things were going to be okay, when it was just some silly imaginative thought Jeremy dreamed up, the reality of the danger surrounding the requiem and the order itself reared its head once more. Honestly, this story kept me on the edge of my seat, and the end was both shocking and sad. Lest you think that there is not a happy-ever-after, know that the end was uplifting in its way, and happiness was most assuredly in the future if Jeremy and Bowyn chose to make it so.
Murderous Requiem is a mystical journey, steeped in the past yet brought to life in the present. Murder, mayhem, sex, love, this story had it all, and with it was some fascinating historical findings that enriched the novel overall.
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