My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sadly this was the last of the audiobooks for the psycop series and I kind of want to wail and gnash my teeth. Please JCP, please make more! Please!? If not everything in your backlist (yes yes I’m greedy) then at least the psycop series. I feel bereft knowing there are no more and while I’ll be listening to these again, I long for the entire series. Can I beg again, please?
Enough of that though. I liked the third book in the series more this time around due again to the narrator, the fantastic Gomez Pugh, but the lack of coherent plot still stood out. I enjoyed the furthering of the relationship between Jacob and Vic and damn they have some extremely hot chemistry – something JCP has always been excellent at creating. However the plots do get better in the series and it’s evident the mystery portion was still finding its feet early on in the series. I’d forgotten key parts of the series, such as the zombies, and it made me roll my eyes at that part but this time around I focused on the relationship between the key players and Vic’s new partner. I especially loved the narrator’s voice for Zig, Vic’s new partner. It was so very UP/Minnesotan that I wished he talked a lot more. That’s one of the reasons I sometimes prefer audiobooks as they add another layer to the story. Sometimes in a good way and others not so good. It compensates for sometimes missing details and nuances when not physically reading. Overall the plot this time was barely there and not entirely good but the writing and solid characterization smoothes over any issues in my opinion. I’m still impressed how well this series has held up on re-reading and even better on listening. Highly recommended still !
My original review: 3 of 5 stars
The third book in the PsyCops series and while these novellas are fun to read and enjoyable, they are starting to feel like fluff and completely unnecessary. This particular offering, Body and Soul, is even more unfocused than the last book in the series and seems to do nothing to further the characters development or the series in general. It’s an easy read with an engaging voice, great dialogue and tight descriptions but the mystery portion is definitely the weakest of the book and the progression of the series is non-existent. Fans of the series will likely want to continue with the unique setting and entertaining voice of Vic, but hopefully the next few books are tighter with a purpose to their actions.
Here Vic is called into work during the Thanksgiving holiday. He is to find a group of seemingly random but connected missing persons, one of whom is the son of a political player in Chicago. While this investigation is going on, Jacob is house hunting and Vic must help ensure that their future house is ghost free and an appropriate sanctuary.
The story has some interesting promise with Vic meeting Jacob’s family but this is ruined with the long and unnecessary information offered at the beginning. No doubt this is meant to catch readers up and remind them of the past books but it felt repetitive and lengthy as the conflict that could happen fizzles out and goes nowhere as Vic soon leaves the family holiday anyway. The mystery he leaves for is also full of possibility but again goes nowhere really and the final resolution is absurd, slightly confusing, and uninteresting. This is frustrating as the mystery portions of the books are increasingly becoming unnecessary and pointless. They allow Vic’s internal dialogue and commentary to litter the page in an appealing way but the purpose to the movements and actions is diluted and without purpose.
Furthermore the progression of Vic and Jacob’s relationship to the point of living together and even using the dreaded “L” word appears in this offering, but very little attention and time is actually spent on the two. Instead the story seems to meander from the day to day workings of the investigation, which largely offer no insight into the mystery as almost all their efforts are fruitless. The narrative follows the crazy twists and turns of Vic’s mind and his ability to see and talk to ghosts. This offers the most entertainment and humor as Vic’s first person narrative keeps the story moving, interesting, and with a gritty detail that hallmarks the series. However, there is very little actual depth and meaning to these activities. Vic drifts from scene to scene, mostly talking to ghosts or in his mind about his addictions and fears and past, while the other members of the cast orbit around Vic with small insertions such as dialogue or sex or commentary.
Here there is no additional depth to Jacob’s character and any time Vic does or says something strange, Jacob seems to be turned on. This is explained that Jacob has a bit of a fetish about paranormal activity which unfortunately had me wondering this particular book if Jacob really loves Vic or just gets off on Vic’s paranormal ability. This was an uncomfortable feeling and one I actively worked to ignore/put aside since I like the couple a lot but wanted more depth and emotion between the men and not just the paranormal aspects. Of course these cloud and overwhelm Vic on an almost constant basis but there has to be more to their relationship. I’m waiting to find out what that is exactly and hopefully that will be apparent in future books.
So while I really enjoy reading these, when I put this particular book down I realized I could have skipped it entirely and moved on to the next book. This goes nowhere, adds nothing although thoroughly entertaining to read. I will say this is not the new 2nd edition that is coming out in a week of so (perhaps I should have waited?) so perhaps the new edited edition is tighter and more polished. Either way, I’ll continue on to Secrets and I really love the Vic/Jacob match up, so here’s to hoping there is more depth.