REVIEW: These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

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Read this book for: non-murder investigation, journalist investigators, women banding together, US investigation, LA mystery, bringing known perpetrator to justice

Quick Review: A very readable novel about justice finally coming to a sexual predator — timely and relevant.


At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS is a drama that follows a group of women as they try to bring a teacher with a history of serial sexual abuse of his students to justice.

This novel is not your normal mystery or suspense novel. There is no real whodunnit element. You know precisely who the perpetrator and the victims are — and so do the authorities. The only question is whether or not he will actually face justice for his crimes. It’s a different angle for a suspense novel, but you spend the entire novel absolutely hoping that they will succeed.

The other big difference between this and a typical mystery or suspense novel is the lack of major plot points. Very little actually happens in this novel, and yet the stories of the characters carry it. They are poignant and disturbing, and you really feel for the characters who have lived through these horrific experiences.

This is not a novel for everyone, but Namkung does an excellent job of helping the reader understand the horror in the lives of survivors of this kind of abuse, and how there can be real fear and doubt as to whether or not the people who have committed these crimes will ever be brought to justice.

While more a statement of the emotional violence that these kinds of accusations can cause for the victims than a mystery or a suspense novel, this is not a bad read for anyone who questions why abuse victims have a hard time coming forward.

Namkung has written a sensitive character study in THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS that covers some hard truths about society. It is well worth the read.

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