I found this tag on Chelle’s Book Ramblings . It’s simple and fun. I thought I would put my own spin on it and make it a weekly thing.
Psycop: GhosTV – Jordan Castillo Price
For the past dozen years, Victor Bayne has solved numerous murders by interrogating witnesses only he can see—dead witnesses. But when his best friend Lisa goes missing from the sunny California campus of PsyTrain, the last thing he wants to find there is her spirit.
Disappearing without a trace in a school full of psychics? That’s some trick. But somehow both Lisa and her roommate have vanished into thin air. A group of fanatics called Five Faith has been sniffing around, and Lisa’s email is compromised.
Time is running out, and with no ghosts to cross-examine, Vic can’t afford to turn down any offers of help. An old enemy can provide an innovative way to track Vic’s missing friend, and he enters into an uneasy alliance—even though its ultimate cost will ensnare him in a debt he may never manage to settle.
Screw Lisa, I want to be Victor Bayne’s bestfriend!
The book starts with Vic getting a haircut from Crash. His hair now looked ridiculously good. I’m a sucker for guys with great hair, I wanted to glomp him.
That would annoy the hell out of him but if I am in trouble, he’ll save my life anyway.
Also as your bestfriend, Vic. I say quit this athletic bullshit. I’d give my right hand to be as naturally skinny as you.
Vic continues to be AWESOME and walked the astral plane like the “so far beyond level 5 it’s not even funny” medium that he is. Loved that Jacob also gets in on some psychic action as well. The two men are so deeply connected, they take OTP to a whole new level. At this point, I don’t even care if they don’t get married at all. That candy cane cord says they’re solid no matter what plane they are on.
Maybe because he gets to hang around longer but I’m starting to warm up to Dreyfuss. Still, he remains dodgy till the end. As for Lisa, even with the power of si/no, she still gets into some deep shit. She and her roommate were nowhere to be found and someone is going around making people disappear. The only reason I care about this at all is that Vic and Jacob were investigating. The villain in this installment is among the creepiest in the series, someone who is as powerful as Vic, sees oneself as crazy and can rip a person from their reality. Also, we get a blast from the past. Faun Winsome resurfaces with a different name and the same bossy, know it all attitude that had endeared her to no one. Among Vic’s Camp Hell batchmates, only Richie seemed the most innocuous.
GhosTV clocked in at 12+ hours, most of it spend in the PsyTrain Institute where Vic and Jacob attended lectures on astral walking 101 and tinkered with the ghostv. Doesn’t sound very exciting at all if I say it like that but this book upped the ante even more. The mystery and succeeding investigations peeled many layers off the overarching thread, revealed more details about the different psychic abilities, entangled Vic and Jacob deeper into FPMP business and caused major AND shocking life-changing decisions. Vic continues to be one of the most enjoyable first person narrators and this is the most powered up I’ve seen him so far. He’ll never admit it, not even if Crash dyes his hair green, but I think he had fun.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Psycop: Camp Hell – Jordan Castillo Price
Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who’ve been guests behind its razorwire fence.
Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone’s gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who?
Normally I don’t like book covers with models because they tend to be cringe-inducing but I liked this book model. Even before I started reading Psycop, I thought he was perfect as Victor Bayne. JCP’s book models are almost always on point. Also, Gomez Pugh’s narration is the best!
Anyway, when Vic was 23, he sported DMs, mohawk and safety pin piercings. Love it!. His boyfriend at the time was Stefan Russell who I dubbed Boy George because of his teased hair and makeup. When Vic got out of Camp Hell and became a psycop, he never looked back. After some research, Stefan resurfaced, reinventing himself as Steven Russeau, an empath specializing in counselling rich housewives and corporate types. I didn’t warm up to the guy. Although he seemed concerned about Vic’s panic attacks and succeeded in helping him deal with it somewhat, I suspected there was a catch somewhere. As to Jacob meeting the ex part, it’s a good thing that JCP wisely steered away from petty jealousies. Jacob met Stefan and deemed him a decent guy. But if I am okay with a Jacob+Vic+Crash threeway, Stefan would be no, just no to Boy George.
Via Stefan’s hypnosis therapy, Vic revisited his memories of Camp Hell which was something like a college dorm slash medical facility slash science lab, the lab rats being young psychics. Vic was in his rebellious state, messing with his tests, sneaking up with Stefan to get high and have sex, stealing food from the kitchen, and getting involved in other shenanigans until the new guy in charge put his foot down and made their lives hell. He was as good a prisoner in the facility with almost no control over what they did to him. I know it was one of the worst periods of his life but the Camp Hell experience was actually kind of fun to read about and I would love a Psycop spin-off featuring young Vic.
I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the flashbacks of him was doing it with Stefan because I kept thinking he should be with Jacob dammit! but the Camp Hell memories had some answers he was waiting for. Although I said reading about the place was fun, being trapped in a mental facility with no one believing your sanity is a big fear of mine. So I could understand why Vic had panic attacks every time he remembers the place.
This installment is one of my favorites. There were major character developments and revelations. Vic faced his past, put it behind him and came to terms with himself. Meanwhile, Jacob discovered abilities he never knew he had. How these abilities play out in the succeeding books is something I am looking forward to. I think this marks a new chapter in Vic and Jacob’s life.
Now, about that ghost tv…
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Psycop: Secrets – Jordan Castillo Price
Victor Bayne’s job as a PsyCop involves tracking down dead people and getting them to spill their guts about their final moments. It’s never been fun, per se. But it’s not usually this annoying.
Vic has just moved in with his boyfriend Jacob, he can’t figure out where anything’s packed, and his co-worker is pressuring him to have a housewarming party. Can’t a guy catch a break?
On a more sinister note, Vic discovers there’s absolutely no trace of him online. No trace of anyone else who trained at “Camp Hell,” either. Everyone Vic knows has signed a mysterious set of papers to ensure his “privacy.” The contracts are so confidential that even Vic has never heard of them. But Jacob might have.
What other secrets has Jacob been keeping?
Secrets is notable for the disturbing sexual assault case that affected Jacob badly, Jacob acting cold towards Vic, Vic realizing he doesn’t exist on the internet, him in a jealous rage upon learning Jacob’s secret visits to Crash and then Vic subsequently discovering his own exhibitionist streak. This is also the installment that completely sold me on Vic and Jacob.
While I do like most Psycop characters, it took me a while to be 100% into Vic and Jacob as a couple.
Normally Jacob is all over Vic and is being his Mr. Perfect self. I think this might be the first time I have seen Jacob being distant towards Vic. When Vic stormed in, I was ready to see Jacob lose it but the way he handled it so calmly and showing his vulnerable side I finally understood why they’re perfect for each other. Also Jacob staring at Vic with “goo-goo eyes”.
It never failed to amuse me that Vic is both insecure and strongly attracted to Crash, punk, empath, Jacob’s ex, also potential friend whether Vic wants to admit it or not. Crash, being psychic and audacious, knew all about it and took every opportunity to flirt and shamelessly drop innuendos because he loves to push Vic’s buttons. If this ends up a three way, I’d be the last to complain. I like Crash.
All throughout the series, Vic tries to forget Camp Hell existed because the whole experience was a nightmare for him. This time, he tried doing research about the place, even asking Zigler for help. Vic, not the most tech-savvy person in the house, was shocked to discover that Camp Hell, officially known as Camp Heliotrope, might indeed be a figment of his imagination because he couldn’t find it anywhere online. He was disturbed to know that there was no information about him and his fellow inmates on the internet. He was angry to learn that people never mentioned this to him and he didn’t take it well. My dear Victor, why didn’t it ever occur to you to google your name all these years?
The series is from Vic’s POV and we, more or less, know how he thinks by now. However he has always been hazy about his past and there were only tidbits of information to explain why he is the way he is, most of which is related to some trauma regarding mental institutions and psych wards. There were also hints that Vic might be a more powerful medium than his current level 5 category and I wouldn’t be surprise if he is indeed more powerful because he is the type who will intentionally half-ass his tests. This is a pretty exciting development! It’s about time Vic face his past and learn how to properly use his abilities rather his usual “hit-or-miss style”.
It’s time to resurrect deeply buried ghosts. Yep, Camp Hell is next. Hey! Ho! Let’s go!
Review of Psycop books here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Psycop: Body and Soul – Jordan Castillo Price
Thanksgiving can’t end too soon for Victor Bayne, who’s finding Jacob’s family hard to swallow. Luckily, he’s called back to work to track down a high-profile missing person.
Meanwhile, Jacob tries to find a home they can move into that’s not infested–with either cockroaches, or ghosts. As if the house-hunting isn’t stressful enough, Vic’s new partner Bob Zigler doesn’t seem to think he can do anything right. A deceased junkie with a bone to pick leads Vic and Zig on a wild chase that ends in a basement full of horrors.
Took me two tries before I got Body and Soul right. In the first try, Vic’s pill popping is so off-putting and I was like, I didn’t want to read about a junkie. Second try succeeded because I had a change of perspective and told myself Vic is taking meds and everybody takes one or two to keep going. Heck, even I got my own daily maintenance. So I’m sorry, Vic.
Victor Bayne is a person with a difficult personality. He’s neurotic, socially awkward and has a lot of bad memories of psych-wards just waiting to be triggered. That’s not to say he’s not without his charm because Jacob Marks is head over heels in love with him. And I personally love Vic’s bland attitude towards most things. That and his commentaries.
Jacob is looking for a place they could both move into, someplace free of ghosts. Vic is sure there must be a place somewhere in a city as big as Chicago. Turns out it’s harder to find one than they think. Major points to Jacob for having the patience of a saint and for indulging Vic.
Also I was listening to this in the small hours of the morning, which is the prime time for anxieties and dark thoughts. I was fervently hoping my subconscious do not pick up on the images of dead people with half their heads attached or those nasty voodooed things Vic and Zig found in the basement. What my stupid brain projected in my sleep was that of a toddler with hideous features and bendy limbs. Must be that ghost baby in Vic’s laundry room. Good job creeping me out, JCP!
Despite their ,IMO, rather abrupt start, Vic and Jacob’s relationship is going extremely well. Jacob is still the image of a perfect (sometimes too perfect) boyfriend but I’m cottoning on to the idea that there are good, dependable boyfriends in the world and one of them happens to love Vic. Also, I enjoyed tagging along with Vic and Zig in their investigation and it looks like Vic is starting to like Zigler as his partner. Zig’s a good guy so I hope he sticks around.
Yay! I am finally getting the hang of Psycop and I’m in it for the long haul.
What on earth happened to Lisa?
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Psycop: Criss Cross – Jordan Castillo Price
Criss Cross finds the ghosts surrounding Victor getting awfully pushy. The medications that Victor usually takes to control his abilities are threatening to destroy his liver, and his new meds aren’t any more effective than sugar pills.
Vic is also adjusting to a new PsyCop partner, a mild-mannered guy named Roger with all the personality of white bread. At least he’s willing to spring for the Starbucks.
Jacob’s ex-boyfriend, Crash, is an empathic healer who might be able to help Victor pull his powers into balance, but he seems more interested in getting into Victor’s pants than in providing any actual assistance.
I know most people are squee-ing over the romance but up until now, I still don’t understand what Jacob sees in Victor. I get the protective streak, pill-popping Victor is high most times and tends to to get into trouble but he’s a mess and seems to bring nothing into the relationship. Is it a wish fulfillment thing? Because this could have been done more convincingly with a bit of depth and background information.
I also don’t know why Vic kept thinking about how gay something is, like do straight guys eat salad, that sort of thing. It’s kind of stupid.
Not to say I didn’t enjoy the audiobook. I do like Gomez Pugh’s voices for both Vic and Jacob as well as Vic’s commentaries apart from the one mentioned above. The mystery wasn’t that deep but it kept me listening. And we have Crash, Jacob’s ex. Crash is interesting enough in his own right without the Jacob connection and I am vaguely entertaining a Vic + Crash hook up because Jacob is perfect the way computer simulations are perfect.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
PsyCop: Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price
Victor Bayne, the psychic half of a PsyCop team, is a gay medium who’s more concerned with flying under the radar than in making waves.
He hooks up with handsome Jacob Marks, a non-psychic (or “Stiff”) from an adjacent precinct at his ex-partner’s retirement party and it seems like his dubious luck has taken a turn for the better. But then a serial killer surfaces who can change his appearance to match any witness’ idea of the world’s hottest guy.
Solving murders is a snap when you can ask the victims whodunit, but this killer’s not leaving any spirits behind.
A lingering-on-my to-be-read-pile book that turned out to be passable but barely.
An audiobook-narrator-kept-me-going story with a mildly interesting take on psychics doing detective work that couldn’t hold my full attention.
An I-see-dead-people urban fantasy with good potential for more stories (and it has more, a lot more) but didn’t really break new grounds.
A mostly-physical hookup I wasn’t invested in until…
“It was you, Vic.”
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it