Throw back review : Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price, new audiobook version

5603414 Among the Living (Psycop #1)
by Jordan Castillo Price

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

I listened to the audiobook version of this novella for re-read as I was curious about the narrator. Also I may have mentioned that I’m seriously into audiobooks right now and can read more that way than sitting down to read a book. I’m happy to say that I think the audiobook version lived up to my first impressions of the series, all the way back to 2009. Kind of impressive for books these days. I don’t think I enjoyed it quite as much as the first time I read it, nor did I pick up on all the nuances within the writing and characters when listening to the audiobook. This is a drawback I’ve come to expect from listening versus reading and I try to factor that in to both my comprehension of books and my enjoyment. That said, my review still stands pretty spot on to how I felt about the book now.

What’s different is of course the narrator. He’s got a slight spanish accent when he’s listing details such as the author’s name but has the smooth blandness of a good narrator when speaking in Vic’s voice. I did think his voice for Jacob was kind of funny. It’s deeper and more of an attempt at sexy and it always made me laugh a little. As did the sex scenes because frankly I’m a prude when listening to sex. I keep thinking about whether the narrator was embarrassed having to describe very graphic sex scenes, because of course it makes -me- blush. But overall I liked this narrator quite a bit. He’s got a good voice to listen to and keeps my attention. He does the various voices with enough inflection I could differentiate them. His voice is very mature and I always thought of Vic as pretty immature and young (despite actual age) so that took a minute to get used to. However, I’m kind of eager to listen to the whole series now. Also because this was a novella the audiobook version was incredibly short and I finished it in a day, which made me sad. I wanted more. I hope JCP decides to do audiobook versions of all her work. 

My original review which still covers exactly what I think about the book:

This was a great beginning to what sounds like a fabulous, enthralling series. From the fast paced action and humorous dialogue to some seriously sexy characters, the plot was interesting and engaging from the beginning and held true until the end. The psychic elements were very well done and never too outrageous even as magical powers were heavily woven through the plot and characters. An amazingly quick read but thoroughly entertaining and sets the stage for an addictive series if the level of creativity and interest is able to be maintained. Combined with impressively solid and tight prose, I can see why Price is a popular author and has so many books to her credit. If I can figure out her backlist, I’ll likely continue with these and other series.

The plot starts off witty and fun, told in first person point of view from Vic, the psychic cop hero of the story. He’s funny and sarcastic with an instant charm as he drugs himself almost out of his mind just to handle the retirement party of his partner. However, he’s not too drugged to pass on a quickie in the bathroom with hunky Jacob Marks. Sadly their tryst is interrupted but it sets up a burgeoning relationship with the tenacious Marks. Vic is by turns surly, moody, and insightful as he deals with not only the fallout from his talent but the unique relationships and circumstances this causes. From his point of view, other people and settings are often skewed to how he perceives them.

Jacob is defined as hunky, confident, and aggressive. He knows what he wants and easily goes after it without letting much get in his way. He’s seen as fascinated by men and women with psychic power but again, that is seen through the jaded eye of Vic so how much is paranoia versus truth remains to be seen. He clearly cares for Vic and is attracted to him, whether that turns into more is questionable. Vic definitely would be a high maintenance lover. So far Jacob doesn’t seem to mind, the sex is hot – even if Vic has a tendency to talk to himself – and the fitting happy for now ending was appropriate and satisfying.

Similarly the action/horror plot was well crafted and executed throughout. Tight prose and vivid descriptions created crime scenes that were easy to imagine and incredibly clear in their depiction with the actual villain creepy yet fascinating. Mixed in with the equal parts horror and mystery plot were numerous witty and funny comments that kept the story moving and lightened the intensity of the book. One of my favorite lines came from the first crime scene as they examined the body of a dead gay male:

The tech said that judging by the open container of lube nearby she’d just spotted, the victim had likely been penetrated, though the Coroner would have to verify that. A psycho murderer who lubed. How considerate. 

Although the story could have easily stretched out with the tension and suspense, its shorter length was perfect as an introduction to the characters and the setting. The urban fantasy setting lent itself well to the edgy mystery even with the problems inherent in both the writing and style. Due to the first person point of view, actual characterization was a definite weak point. None of the characters, including Vic, Marks, and the female partners, were ever fully realized and only given cursory introductions and a hint of personality. The implication is that as an introduction to a series, these characters will become more involved and have added depth with each successive book. While I’m not sure I always like this tactic, the solid writing and intriguing premise is enough to keep me going. Thankfully the author did not leave multiple threads hanging, even if there were hints for future storylines. I look forward to future books in this series.

 

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3 thoughts on “Throw back review : Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price, new audiobook version

  1. Tam says:

    I am always worried that the narrator will ruin it. I know Jordan is a perfectionist, but I hear stories of names pronounced wrong, weird words, etc. But this sounds like it might be okay. And yeah, hearing written sex read out loud can be weird, but imagine Wild Bill and Michael? You’d be beet red. LOL Can you hear an excerpt? I haven’t really bought any audio books so I’m not sure how it works, but seems it should be possible, just in case the voice makes you nuts.

    • I didn’t notice any discrepancies with odd pronunciations or wrong words. Not to say there are none but I didn’t pick up on any myself. Everything seemed correct and in place.

      I will say that the thought of listening to someone talking about Wild Bill and Michael does make me blush just thinking of it but with the right voice I’d be interested in hearing it. Though I wonder how you sign up a narrator for that? “Great voice willing to read gay porn” (it’s not but still).

      Go here:
      http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Among-the-Living-Audiobook/B00MI3H564/ref=a_search_c4_1_3_srTtl?qid=1416595886&sr=1-3

      And you get a 5 minute audio sample to see if you like the narrator. I got it without sampling because I do my books that way and I’m lazy. But check it out! I think its pretty reasonably priced too.

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