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Psycop: Property Paperback – September 3, 2008
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About the Author
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. She writes paranormal, horror and thriller novels from her isolated and occasionally creepy home in rural Wisconsin. Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who's plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made...one client at a time.
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This was an engaging, raw, realistic (what I'll coin as a) "paranormal noir," with the wonderful twist of the MC being gay and having paranormal abilities put to use in his detecting job. This third and fourth in the series are the best so far and continued to build the story. Yet, for those interested, they also worked well as a standalone - they had a self-contained mystery with a conclusive ending, but also advanced and further developed the life of the MC (Vic), his boyfriend (Jacob) and other supporting characters, and any explanations needed to bring a first-time reader up on previous happenings were done smoothly in the storytelling.
Jordan Castillo Price's style was straightforward, even edgy to fit the story. She created a well thought-out world of psychics and their various abilities, and an outside world of how they were dealt with and used. And with my living in the city, I enjoyed the Chicago setting, but it could serve any reader for a big city setting.
I was pleased that the fourth was longer than the third's novella length, and both plots were realistic, nicely paced and developed in a believable way. I liked that the main focus was a combo of a mystery and Vic's psychic life, with the gay aspect and romance as a major subplot that develops across books. In Body and Soul, I thought the mysterious missing people/kidnapper premise was more suspenseful with a better tension-filled climax than in the previous books. In Secrets, the focus, unfortunately for me, switched more to the relationship, which in the end was still ok since the relationship was interesting and the mystery and psychic stories were good to support it. I also liked how all the complexities were built and intertwined in this one, thus the title, Secrets. But even though I said it was a standalone, in this one, more than the other books, a few loose ends were left hanging as a set up for book 5.
The whole set of characters were developed fairly fully. Of course there was more on the main characters, with Price really getting into the mind and mindset of a disturbed psychic, depicting a little off-balance but still functioning guy who I grew to like for all his skills, heart and humanness. Even with the supporting cast I got a good feel for who they were, with some new ones to keep things fresh. For those who've read previous books, it was nice that some characters returned; but don't worry first-time readers, they were included and described as well as any standalone.
A nice bonus was the relationship between Vic and Jacob. It gave a good sense of two guys who love and are strongly attracted to each other and the realistic struggles of how a relationship evolves. I also thought the sex scenes between them were pretty hot, described in an erotic way that a gay guy would like. And I appreciated that it wasn't overly romantic as some in this genre are, because I thought they were realistic for gay guys and fit in with the intensity of the story.
I continue to be impressed with the level of quality that Price maintained in this series, and I look forward to the next one.
- The narration in all of the PsyCop stories is hilarious. Victor's comments become more wry and acerbic with each passing story, not to mention the humor the characters' various abilities bring into the mix. On page 3 of this volume, we've already met a secondary character whose right arm is missing, but that doesn't stop Victor from seeing the arm as it flops around on the table and "caresses the silverware." (And just as an aside: "The ghost arm waved a `pshaw' at me"...possibly the funniest line EVER.)
- Victor and Jacob are two of the most well-formed, memorable characters I've ever read about in this genre. Vic is so flighty that I halfway expect him to have a nervous breakdown every 5 pages. And Jacob, while sexy and confident and outwardly perfect, is really just a big dork/weirdo who gets off--literally--on ghost stories ("my own special brand of sick," as Vic calls it).
- I love this author's sex scenes. They're just the right mix for me of length, details, emotion, and reality. There are only a few scenes in each story, but they're smokin'.
- Somehow Price manages to write mystery/thriller plotlines that incorporate supernatural elements without genuinely creeping me out. I'm a fraidy cat--seriously--and there are a few little things here and there that make me think, "Yikes." But I definitely wouldn't call them hardcore.
- There's a secondary character who I just don't like very much. And that wouldn't bother me if the two main guys didn't like him either. But they do. In fact, they're both kind of hot for him, which I can see causing relationship issues if the series sticks around for a while, especially since Victor acknowledges that he's never seen good things result from a "playing around" threesome in which an established couple invites in another guy.
Overall comments: I really like all of the PsyCop stories. I first read them over a year ago, very early on in my foray into m/m, and they're still some of my favorites. The plots are good, the sex is minimal but hot, and the characters are fallible and realistic. These books are just good, all-around.
Most recent customer reviews
In Body and Soul Victor is visiting Jacob's family in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving which is scary enough, and the...Read more