skeleton crew coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Victor Bayne is making his weekly round of ghost checks at FPMP headquarters. He is down in the basement when a delivery comes in and the weekend lab manager, Howard Jibben, starts making a fuss about getting the shipment contained without waiting for the security check. Before Vic can extricate himself from a conflict he wants no part of, a powerful storm leaves them without power.

Vic is no fan of basements during the best of times, but things are made even worse with him and Jacob being trapped down there with Howard, the delivery crew, and the security guard. Not to mention some dead bodies in the rapidly thawing cooler, no lights to see in the creepy lab, and a limited supply of food. Plus, Jacob’s nephew is visiting and stuck in their house alone and they have no way to reach him. As one crisis after another hits while they wait for rescue, Vic and Jacob begin to wonder if all the problems are a result of more than just the weather. There appears to be something supernatural lurking as well, and if they can’t figure out what is going on and how to stop it, all their lives may be on the line.

Skeleton Crew is book 14 (!) in Jordan Castillo Price’s fabulous PsyCops series. I have been reviewing this series for more than ten years now and reading it even longer than that. Vic and Jacob are one of my all time favorite couples and I still enjoy every opportunity to reconnect with them as the series grows. Castillo Price has done a great job in having these characters and their circumstances grow and evolve in order to keep the series exciting and fresh. The last two books, in particular, have shifted the set up away from the law enforcement procedural style of the early books, which I think has added some interesting twists. In this case, I really found the plot so engaging. It is not quite a “trapped for the night in a haunted house” situation, but it is leaning in that direction, as the group is stuck in this basement with no power, limited resources, no idea when they are going to get rescued, and some very creepy goings on. The storm outside is making it difficult for anyone to get to them (assuming anyone even realizes they are there). Added to that, there is this mysterious shipment, an uptight lab manager, an exasperated delivery person, and Vic and Jacob worried about their nephew. And then things really get weird. It is thrilling and scary and intense and Castillo Price builds this locked room dynamic so well as they are stuck in the basement and forced to figure it all out themselves.

As I said, I absolutely love Vic and Jacob and have enjoyed seeing their relationship grow over the series. One thing the author does so well is connect the mysteries and cases back to the men and their relationship. Here we see that both men and their individual journeys connect to what they inevitably learn about the supernatural events going on. But it also helps both Vic and Jacob understand and relate to each other in new ways too. These men are so comfortable with each other, and as I reader, I have come to feel like I know them so well. It makes their stories just feel so satisfying, like reconnecting with old friends.

I will admit there were a couple of places here where I questioned some specifics. For example, someone gets injured and they call 911. When the paramedics arrive, someone else is more seriously at risk and so the paramedics help them first. But then no one helps the first victim, or sends anyone back, and it seems like a loose end that isn’t tied up. There were a couple of other small things like that where I felt like the details needed a bit more tightening, but nothing that affected my overall enjoyment.

This story really drew me in and I loved the whole set up here watching this group navigate the danger and the mystery of this dark and creepy lab basement. Getting to visit with Vic and Jacob again is always a thrill and I found this a particularly great installment.

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