We’re back for another Throwback Thursday and this time we’re bringing the light to a self-published creator. J.A. Templeton is an author who’s written quite a few books; while I have yet to read even half of them, I loved the first one in her MacKinnon Curse series, the best aspect being the chilling story behind it.
The Deepest Cut is a young adult novel about sixteen-year-old Riley Williams who develops the ability to see ghosts after living through a car accident that takes her mother’s life. A year after the events, Riley’s father moves the family to Scotland, where she continues to struggle with her new gift (curse?), taking comfort in her hidden secret of cutting herself. When a nineteen-year-old ghost the name of Ian MacKinnon catches her in the act, the two develop a relationship and Riley becomes determined to free him from his curse, inadvertently unleashing a vengeful spirit on herself.
It’s been a hot minute since I last read the book, but the story is still fresh as can be in my mind. The plot and the characters are all so unique, and the storytelling it wonderful. Going back and glancing over it, I noticed things here and there that could have been laid out or done better, but overall I couldn’t think of a better self-published book to highlight today. So, let’s talk The Deepest Cut.
The plot is by far the best aspect of this story. Not only does it have an interesting mystery to it (how to undo a curse, find out who killed Ian, and how to stay alive in the process), there’s also a supernatural aspect to it. Add in the delicious trope of a forbidden romance between the dead and the living and you’ve got a gripping tale. I’ve always been a sucker for a good romance. J.A. Templeton overlies each of these aspects and makes a fascinating story that pulls the reader along the entire way. What makes this even better is that it’s set in Scotland. More often than not, I feel that I read books that either take place in America, or some dystopian version of America, so reading this was a delightful change of pace.
The major thing I want to talk about pertaining to Templeton’s The Deepest Cut novel is research. In stories such as these, I find the number one reason behind me putting the book down, is because of the little research a person does for the plot. I don’t even have to know a lot about the topic to know how much time the author put behind the work; their voice, style, descriptions, character development, all these little aspects will give it away. It’s clear this isn’t the case with Templeton. We’re not just given these diverse elements of Scotland, ghosts, and witchcraft (Oh My!); she doesn’t just toss everything at us in one go (aka the dreaded info dump). Rather, she gives us bits and pieces as we get further and further in the plot, presenting each bit plausibly. We get to learn as Riley gets to learn, which is great, because we establish this connection with her; our goals become the same because we also want to figure out the answers to this MacKinnon mystery. This story line, combined with her use of descriptions and character development, make the reader become more invested before we even realize what’s happening; that’s what made this story so amazing.
Jumping over to the forbidden romance trope; this can be a double-edged blade as the author tries to balance it out with a mix of unique and cliche. Any book you look at will always have some cliche trope to it, it’s how the author twists it for their story that makes it one of a kind. With Templeton’s book, she does a good job of making it just that. I never felt that the story was too bogged down by the overuse of cliche, or lack of uniqueness; the only thing that I have a problem with, is the whole forbidden love with a ghost thing. This is because I feel like I often know how it will turn out. It hardly ever ends with the ghost coming back from the dead (If you know of a good one, comment the title, I’d love to check it out).
Side Note: How many others seriously wanted Ian to return from the dead? Second Question: Raise your hand if you cheered when Kade FREAKING MacKinnon made his appearance? Not gonna lie, my face hurt from smiling so hard. I mean, seriously? SCORE for Riley, am I right? Plus, she gets Cait out of it too, and the girl is just a joy. Love her a Shane together, and I need a story pertaining to these two if there isn’t one already.
Alright, that concludes this weeks Throwback Thursday. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’re interested in checking out The Deepest Cut, you can get the first book for free on Kindle right here on Amazon. If you’re interested in learning more about Templeton and her other works, check out her author’s page. Until next time.
All the best.