Rating: 4.25 stars
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Victor Bayne is a level five psychic, one with the power to see and interact with spirits. He is one half of a PsyCop team, a police partnership made up of one psychic cop and one with no abilities (or a “stiff”). Victor has incredibly strong powers, but they also are a drain on him as he sees ghosts wherever he goes, and a result, he ends up medicating himself whenever possible to drown out the spirits and give himself some peace.
At Victor’s partner’s retirement party, Vic meets sexy police poster boy Jacob Marks. Jacob is as tall, gorgeous, and built as they come, and to Vic’s surprise, is totally into him. But after a quickie in the bathroom, Vic gets called away to meet a new partner and start a new case. There is a serial killer on the loose, picking up men in clubs and leaving them dead and naked in their bedrooms. When Jacob and his partner get called onto the case as well, interest continues to build between the two men. But something is definitely off with this case, as for once Victor can’t see the spirits of the murdered victims. Not to mention that the killer seems to have powers that may rival Victor’s own. As the team gets closer to solving the case, they must figure out how to capture the supernatural killer, and still manage to survive themselves.
Ok, so before I go too much further, I have to tell you that Jordan Castillo Price’s PsyCops series is one of my all time favorites. I first read Among the Living a couple of years ago when the fifth book in the series was released and was drawn in right away. After finishing it, I immediately went out to buy the rest of the books in the series and read all five in about a week and a half. They are just that good and I recommend them to everyone. And now that the author has released the latest installment, Spook Squad, I decided to go back and reread the series to get it all fresh in my mind before starting that book. So I am trying to focus primarily on this story, but it is a little hard to keep my knowledge (and love) of the series as a whole out of this review.
So first off, can I just tell you how much I love Vic and Jacob? They are seriously in my top handful of favorite romance couples. Here we just begin to see things develop between them. At this point it is mostly sex, but it is clear that there is potential for more, especially at the end. I love the way these guys fit together, even though they are so different. Vic is honestly sort of a hot mess. His psychic abilities leave him struggling a lot of the time just to deal, as images of dead people appear at inconvenient times, often pestering him and wanting to talk. His is tall and gangly and never has clothes that fit and tends toward the surly side. And Jacob is this gorgeous god of a man, beautiful and seemingly perfect (I sort of picture him as a bulkier David Gandy). Victor can’t even believe this guy has any interest in him, but he is far too smart to back away from a good thing. But Jacob is totally into Victor, and finds his abilities fascinating rather than repellent. As I said, here we mostly get the guys engaged in some very hot sex, but more develops throughout the series.
I also love the world Price has created here. Psychics are a known part of society, categorized and trained and managed. In this first book we begin to learn a little bit more about types of psychics and their abilities. Victor is a medium who can see spirits. Jacob’s partner Carolyn is a human lie detector. Another cop has the power to know the answer to any yes/no question. Others are precogs. And they all range in their level of powers, from those who are very basic, to those like Victor who operate at a very high level. Price creates a really interesting world here, and there are lots of little details that make you think about how a world with psychics would really work.
The murder case is also well done, although I will admit I think it suffered a little bit on the rereading. I remembered enough from the first time around that it didn’t have quite the same thrill as following the investigation fresh. The case isn’t a super complex one as we are just learning about the whole psychic world, meeting the characters, and getting to know Victor and Jacob. But I think it is an interesting one. And the best part is that the case leads us to a super sweet and romantic ending that made me squee with happiness.
So yes, I totally love this series and it is one that I recommend to everyone. The first book is really getting our feet wet, giving us a chance to get to know the world and the characters. As the series goes on, we get much deeper into both Victor and Jacob’s relationship, as well as the fascinating world of the psychs. I will be continuing to review the remaining books in the series over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes out for more. And if you can’t wait, go run out and pick them up now. You will not be disappointed.