on 6 August 2015
I have just finished marathoning this series (except for the first one, I'd already read that one), including the shorts and I still want more. MORE, I tell you.
Wow. I don't really know where to start this review... actually, that's a lie. I'm going to start with Vic, because, for me, this is all about Vic. I love Vic. I LOVE Vic. I LOVE VIC. Totally and utterly. Starting with the cover model used (I mean HALLO, he's gorgeous and exactly how I pictured Vic, 9 times out of 10 the cover model used doesn't match my mental image but JCP nailed it for me). That scowl, that stubble, that can't-quite-be-bothered look. Perfect.
And, his personality matched. Perfect in that not-at-all-perfect way. A childhood that consisted of moving from one foster family to another. Drug use to control his psychic ability. His psychic ability, the dude sees ghosts, most often caught in the moment of their violent death. Time spent in Camp Hell where he was abused to find out the extent of his powers. Being part of a psycop team, disliked by the rest of the force because they don't understand, or fear, what he can do. Oh, and he's gay. Not that he has a problem being gay, but it isn't exactly embraced in the job he holds.
So, all in all, Vic fears the shadows. He doesn't can't trust easily. Humans and spiritual entities alike are just too willing to use him for their own gain. I'm surprised he holds things together as well as he does. But he does, in the snarkiest, grumpiest, most gorgeous way possible.
Have I mentioned I may love him a little??
As the series develops we see him embrace what he can do, albeit sometimes very reluctantly. His ability is stronger than most realise, because Vic wasn't born yesterday and he knows that being classified a level 5 psychic is risky enough, without anyone realising he is actually stronger. The more he learns about what he can do though, the more responsibility he takes on. It's a funny (perfect) mix of reluctance and responsibility. Kinda like knowing you have to get up to your baby for the fifth time that night no matter how exhausted you are. The difference being you undoubtedly love your baby more than Vic loves the ghosts/paranormal entities, oh, and your baby is most definitely less dangerous.
We meet Vic in book one at his, psycop, partner's retirement party. This is where we also meet Jacob, the non-psychic member of another psycop team. Jacob is seemingly (at least in Vic's eyes) everything Vic isn't. Handsome, personable, super-nice and he has a real thing for psychic abilities. like a real thing. As well as their adventures as psycops and ghost hunting (!!) this series is very much about the relationship between Jacob and Vic.
Now here I have a confession. I love nice characters in books. People use the word nice often in distaste, as if there could be nothing more boring. I think nice is very underrated and, what can I say, it's a quality I appreciate, in fiction and RL. However, yep, there's a however, because Jacob was so nice for several books, I was expecting Jacob to reveal a nasty side - I hope it's not too much of a spoiler when Isay it never appears!!
I did love Jacob and the further the series went on the more I appreciated him. He was there for Vic, wholeheartedly and, boy, did that give him plus points in my book. It's fair to say, not all those Vic thought he could trust could actually be trusted.
In fact, JCP writes fantastic characters. Crash is another favourite, I'm not going to elaborate on him too much because I feel to enjoy Crash properly, you need to experience him first hand. Secondary characters are often my weakness (I sometimes feel those second in nature to the MCs can be more interesting, though in this case Vic holds his own), they can take an interesting story and just make it...more. Crash, Miss Mattie, Lisa... a plethora of others, they all just work to enhance an already fabulous series. JCP manages this without taking the focus off Vic and the main story line.
The ghostly goings on...
The author has the knack of balancing emotional storyline perfectly with action storyline. Each thread is carefully interwoven, clues and hints dropped throughout the manuscript. Sometimes I thought I knew what was happening...at times I was right, at times I wasn't. Sometimes things twisted and turned making me second guess my opinion. In fact, it was just as any mystery story should be. The interaction of guessing and re-guessing is an integral part of the enjoyment for me. If it is too obvious what's going on I skim read to find out if I'm right or not! JCP struck the balance well.
I loved each story. I'm not sure I have one that stands out as a favourite, or any that I felt were meh. Each story worked well, on their own and as part of the series. When I say that, I'm not suggesting you start with book 6, or skip the 3rd book, reading each book definitely benefits the whole psycpos experience, but each book is a contained story in its own right. While some threads carry on throughout the series, there are no dreaded cliff-hangers. None of that stuff that's meant to entice you to the next story (but generally just makes me made as hell that I've only got half a story!)
I'm not going to go into detail about each storyline, what would be the point of you reading them if I did, but I will say I genuinely had difficulty putting each book down to do those everyday things, you know, like go to work, or look after the kids...
I also read one book after another (with, as I said the exception of book 1 - though I'm seriously considering a re-read to remember where it all began) and I definitely have a book hangover, I've DNF'd two stories since I finished this series (yesterday) already. Send recs ASAP!
One last thing before I go. Voice actor, Gomez Pugh, narrates these audio books. Now I read the books so I can't vouch exactly for these in audio, however I did listen to the audio version of Body Art by Jordan Castillo Price, read by Gomez Pugh, and thoroughly enjoyed his narration.