agent bayneRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

After years with the Chicago Police Department, Victor Bayne has taken a job working for the Federal Psychic Monitoring Program. Working for the FPMP is a big change for Vic. For the first time, his abilities are not the subject of fear and scorn. And the FPMP way of doing business is definitely different than the rules the police must follow. Not to mention he is now working with his boyfriend, Jacob Marks. But changing jobs is not all smooth sailing. For all its frustrations, Victor was good at being a homicide cop. Now he worries that he is out of his depth at the FPMP.

Victor’s first task on the new job is working on establishing a screening test for potential mediums. And to aide him, the FPMP brings in none other than his old nemesis from Camp Hell, Dead Darla. The years have not softened Darla to Vic at all, and it is pretty clear she thinks he is useless at the project. But before they can even get too far, FPMP agents start turning up dead and Victor gets brought onto that case as well. When it looks like it might be an inside job, Vic teams up with Jacob to try to figure out who is behind the murders. As they dig deeper into the case, Victor’s past also starts to come more to light. He begins to remember more about his childhood — and finds there is a lot that has somehow been covered up.

Now Victor must team up not only with Jacob, but with Darla as well to figure out who is behind the murders, before it is too late.

I am always thrilled when a new PsyCops series book comes out. This is one of my all time favorite series and I really think it keeps getting better and better. Jordan Castillo Price has created a fabulous and sometimes creepy world here and combined it with one of my all time favorite couples in Vic and Jacob. This book is the ninth in the series and they need to be read in order. Not only does it continue the story of Victor and Jacob, but this book connects back to plot threads from earlier in the series.

The title of this book is Agent Bayne and that perfectly reflects the focus of this story. It is about Victor becoming an FPMP agent and adapting to the new job, as well as about him as a person and the new revelations about his life and his past that come to light over the course of the story. I really liked seeing Vic find his way in the new job. Now Victor is not a guy brimming with self confidence in the best of times, but here is he is finding his footing in a new job. In some ways, it is a refreshing change. He doesn’t have to hide his relationship with Jacob, he is accepted as a medium — and even admired for his abilities. So it is a real change for him over the police force. But at the same time, he was good at that job and suddenly he can’t quite get settled into his new position. Half the time he can’t even find his way around the building. And as he struggles with both of his cases, Victor worries he is just not cut out for the job and fears he can’t be successful. So I enjoyed seeing him find himself here, especially toward the end as he gets his stride and is able to make a real difference. I particularly liked him coming to terms with things with Darla and the way that working together made them both stronger.

The other focus of the book is on Victor and his past. Camp Hell was the book that really introduced us to Vic’s background, and this story flashes back to that time as well. We uncover a lot about Vic’s past here — things he didn’t even know or remember himself. And in the process, he learns about a shadowy organization that has been up to no good even before the FPMP came on the scene. This aspect of the story isn’t fully resolved yet, as while we learn a lot, there are still secrets. But I think Castillo Price gives us just enough here to really get some new insights, while still building up suspense and excitement for future books.

I’ll also throw in something I have noticed before in this series but never mentioned, and that is how much I like the egalitarian view on religion, spirituality, and psychic abilities. Many of the characters have their own approaches to accessing their abilities and their own sets of beliefs, whether it is Vic’s “white light” or Darla’s crystals or Faun Windsong’s Native American beliefs. The idea is that it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you can use that as your focus. It is a small thing, but something that carries throughout the series that I really appreciate.

As I said, this book is mostly about Victor and the relationship between him and Jacob is a little off to the side here. We can never doubt the commitment to each other and love between them, and we see that again here. But I’ll admit I would have liked more time with the two of them together, mostly selfishly because they are one of my all time favorite couples. I also think things take a bit of time to get going here and so the start of the book is a little bit slow. And finally, the bad guy here was totally obvious to me from the get go. It didn’t blow the story for me by any means, but it did take away some of the suspense, especially when things come to a head and I could telegraph some key events just because I knew exactly who was behind it all.

But overall, I absolutely adore this series and I wouldn’t miss a book. I have said over and over that if you aren’t reading PsyCops, you need to be. It is just that good. So if you haven’t checked them out, definitely look into them. And if you have been following along, you aren’t going to want to miss Victor’s new adventure.

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