Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 10 hours, 23 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

Blue Billings has finally settled into his life and his psychic gifts. The guidance and rough care he receives from his mentor, Tom, gives him better control of and ease with his abilities, and the love and home he’s created with Levi shelters and centers him. However, the presence of a serial killer who leaves pieces of their victims in boxes around York hangs over everyone. Blue is surprised when the police come calling for his help. He’s then enraged when it becomes clear that the killer is hunting the homeless, but the police only became alarmed when someone “important” is snatched.

Despite loathing the idea of assisting the police, Blue wants to stop the gruesome murders, especially since those targeted are some of the most vulnerable. However, even with his expanding abilities, Blue is constantly on the backfoot and forced to play witness to the deads’ helplessness, terror, and desecration. Once the killer draws Blue into their game, Blue is terrified that his family is now in danger. As the killer escalates and the body count rises, Blue frantically tries to understand the cryptic clues he is given, but will he be too late to stop the murderer’s destructive and brutal coup de grâce?

Something Wicked is the third book in the Black and Blue series and definitely my favorite thus far. Blue going up against a human foe is a concept I was hoping to see, and it does not disappoint. I was initially dissatisfied that I didn’t get the story the blurb seems to promise. It implies Blue must solve the mystery without the aid of his powers and is “terrifyingly on his own,” but that isn’t the case. In actuality, he works even more closely with his family, and Levi’s love and support are integral in helping him stop the killer. That being said, I found the story hilarious, ghastly, heartwarming, and perilous by turns and enjoyed the ride. I did appreciate the avenue Morton chose to tell the story. The killer targeting the homeless and the police’s apathy heightens the intensity and connection to the case for Blue. Though he and Will are no longer part of that community, they worry about their compatriots and grapple with their changed circumstances. They feel powerless to help the people others treat as disposable ghosts. The killer’s choice of victims, their seeming invincibility, and the macabre murders create a menacing atmosphere. Their delight in their prey’s anguish and fear, as well as their joy in involving Blue, makes them feel even more depraved and threatening.

The expansion of Blue’s gift is also unsettling because it too feels dangerous. Before, his visions obviously took a toll, and he saw terrible things, but now aspects of his abilities seem as likely to kill him as help him. However, Blue has a tether in Levi, and their family’s love supports him physically and emotionally. I absolutely adore Levi and Blue. I enjoy seeing how far they’ve come and how they navigate their relationship and Blue’s steadily increasing power. There is a comfort and solidness to the pair now that Blue completely trusts Levi. There’s also the fully realized, heartwarming family dynamic that is nascent in The Quiet House. Will’s doubts about his place in Blue’s life and in the group have been allayed, and his boyfriend Jem fits in like he’s always been there. Tom has basically adopted all the boys (though he probably wouldn’t admit that even on his death bed), and Tarquin is. . . still Tarquin—enthusiastically and inappropriately excited about paranormal danger. All the loving snark, care, and protectiveness bring light and warmth to this otherwise dark, gruesome story.

Again Blue’s powers jump substantially as he incorporates everything he’s learned from Tom. I also think he’s getting stronger because he’s truly happy. Previously, Tom told Blue that happiness is the best way he can find control, and Blue is happier and more centered in each installment. As with the previous books, there’s the standard overlooking something obvious until the necessary turning point for the heroes and/or getting to a conflict. It’s especially notable here, because they figure out more obscure clues while being confused by and ignoring the two big hints. However, Morton does a better job making some of Blue’s more credulity-stretching behavior/actions less nonsensical. Plus, it’s easy for me to go along with it all because the aspects I love are so strong.

This series is also one of my favorite of Joel Leslie’s audio collaborations. Blue’s voice is particularly spot-on, and his irreverent charm, adoration of Levi, and the vulnerability and fear hidden under jokes and banter are excellently portrayed. Leslie’s pace and cadence fit the pacing and tone of the narrative, and he conveys the horror and dread so well. He also makes sure that the emotional core of the series resonates. The family dynamic—all the sass, ribbing, love, and ease—shines through. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the York crew, though I am worried that if Blue unlocks anymore powers to his already OP stats, he may become some soul collecting Dark Souls character.