Top Ten List Part One

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

It’s almost impossible to pick a “Top Ten” list. Given that I’ve read over 500 GLBT fiction books and short stories in the past year, I ran into a wall trying to choose just ten. There are the comfort reads that I’ve already read numerous times, regardless of numerical star. Then there are the fabulous, gut wrenching books that are truly wonderful but I’m not likely to read again. There are the thought provoking literature reads, the mind bending spec fiction, fun romps, and the pure porn books.

In the sea of books, I did the best I could to come up with 10 books you should read if you haven’t. Then I threw in 5 series, and 5 favorites. Yea, I couldn’t stay with just 10. Sorry!

So today will be the 5 series you should read if you haven’t.
Best of the best of the c*ck on c*ck…

Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price

Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price

Don’t miss the riveting fifth chapter in the PsyCop saga, Camp Hell.

Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who’ve been guests behind its razorwire fence.

Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone’s gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who?


This is the fifth and most recent book in the PsyCops series. If you’ve been reading them all along – as you should – you know that the fourth book ended on a huge cliff hanger. Thankfully I had Camp Hell already waiting so I wasn’t too bothered but no doubt if you read at release you’ve been waiting eagerly for this offering. For those new to the series, the books follow first person narrator and cop Vic as he struggles with his talent. He sees ghosts, very vividly and often confusing the living with the dead. He handles his talent by repressing his past and drugging himself until he can barely function; thank god the city of Chicago gives him a gun. He’s mostly got his drug cocktail to the point he knows exactly how much to take but recent medication scares, kidnappings, and all around weirdness have Vic attempting less drug use and the more radical idea of learning to control his talent. But before you think loveable failure Vic is reformed, he’s just as self absorbed and messy as ever.

In this installment Vic is obsessed with finding out what happened to him during his time at Camp Hell. Affectionately called such by the inmates, Vic repressed almost all his memories of that time in order to function without the panic attacks and overwhelming fear associated with those memories. However when Vic discovered in Secrets that he was wiped clean from the internet and kept a secret, he digs deeper to find some of the missing people from his Camp Hell days. First up is his old lover and best friend, Stefan now Steven. While Vic is attempting therapy with Stefan/Steven, he also has to contend with finding some ghosts killing people at a nearby hospital, repairing the damage to his relationship with Jacob, and last but not least a new psychic watch group seems to be all over Vic.

Once again I felt the plot was too disjointed and unfocused. Vic as a first person narrator is absorbing and enthralling with his weakness, flaws, and reluctant hero antics. However his focus shifts from his obsession to his past to his police case to his relationship with Jacob to his drugs and back again in almost neck breaking pace. The various elements are disparate and didn’t combine cohesively enough to create a tight, even story. That is not to say the plot isn’t interesting and absorbing, because it certainly is. Unfortunately it is also messy and spread out without any particular focus, much as the character of Vic often is as well. Vic jumps from scene to scene and element to element in the way his mind often works, obsessing on the most important thing to him at that time and often using or ignoring everything else. This includes his boyfriend Jacob, his partner Zigler, his friends Lisa and Crash, and anything else that doesn’t revolve around his at the moment fixation. Here Vic slowly begins to realize that he is selfish and completely self absorbed, yet caring and loving in his own way. He also begins to realize that he needs more control over his talent and drugs aren’t always the answer.

This installment adds more depth and development to all the characters. From Vic’s slow awareness to Jacob’s new ability, even Zigler’s actions and those of the psychic watch group help create more context than fluff to this story. Unfortunately the hospital story line with the scary ghost is unfortunate since it’s almost forgettable and often Vic is more obsessed with his therapy, his paranoia, his relationship, and his drugs than actually doing his job as a detective. However the added context to Zigler from the last book and continued in this one creates an intriguing outline and I hope that he’ll stick around.

The main focus of the book and the series however is and always will be Vic. The other characters revolve in his orbit to a greater or lesser degree but it’s all about Vic. He is finally learning to accept his talent, instead of medicate, and more so learning what his limits and abilities really are. Before he seems to luck out on finding solutions or with the help of actual trained detectives solve a case. In this offering, Vic takes more control and handles a terrifying ghost with his own power on purpose. Additionally Vic is slowly starting to understand Jacob more and appreciate all the work Jacob does in their relationship. Not that Vic takes him for granted per se, but Vic’s obsessions take precedence over everything, including Jacob. I can’t wait to see how much more Vic can grow in future editions.

Get it HERE!

Secrets by Jordan Castillo Price

Secrets by Jordan Castillo Price


Victor Bayne’s job as a PsyCop involves tracking down dead people and getting them to spill their guts about their final moments. It’s never been fun, per se. But it’s not usually this annoying.

Vic has just moved in with his boyfriend Jacob, he can’t figure out where anything’s packed, and his co-worker is pressuring him to have a housewarming party.

Can’t a guy catch a break?

On a more sinister note, Vic discovers there’s absolutely no trace of him online. No trace of anyone else who trained at "Camp Hell," either.

Everyone Vic knows has signed a mysterious set of papers to ensure his "privacy." The contracts are so confidential that even Vic has never heard of them. But Jacob might have.

What other secrets has Jacob been keeping?




The fourth book in the series harkens back to the style of the first and creates addictive dialogue, entertaining prose, and a quick pace to the story that is as engaging as the first in the series. Although the last two books had some plot problems – weak and unfocused – this particular offering combines Vic’s work with Jacob’s and allows the focus to tighten with great results. The focus on Vic and Jacob’s relationship alongside a case they are both working on allows both the police/ghost case to shine while looking deeper at their relationship. For fans of the series, you won’t want to miss this installment but those new to the series should start at the beginning. Readers can read this as a stand alone, enough information is reiterated so readers won’t be lost, but the depth and context are greater in the series.


Here Vic and Jacob have moved in together but before they can unpack Jacob is called in on a sex crime at a retirement home but with a twist that may need Vic’s special talents. In the meantime, Vic is left wandering around their home with barely any idea of how to unpack or what to do with himself. This leads to trouble of course and Vic realizes that everyone around him is “in” on the secret to keep him a mystery and hidden. Between the pill popping, the investigation into Vic’s online presence (or lack thereof), and Jacob’s new mystery case, the two are in over their heads in ghosts, secrets, problems, and potential pitfalls.


The police case in this particular offering is much tighter and more interesting than the past two books. Jacob’s rape case in the retirement home leads to some paranormal action and thus Vic and a surprise cameo of Lisa must work with Jacob and Carolyn to find some answers. The fact that the police case allows all four to work together helps keep a tight focus and quick pace to the story without wandering off in any one direction. The problems and issues Jacob and Vic face from jealousy to lies to uncomfortable conversations are not a separate tangent as in the other books but tightly woven into the main police case. Whereas in the past the various cases Vic worked on felt inconsequential and forgettable, the force of Jacob’s dynamic personality combined with the chemistry between Jacob and Vic to give a more interesting and riveting narrative. This keeps the pace consistent from scene to scene without needing too many side trips.


The relationship between Vic and Jacob also gains more depth as previously I’d worried that Jacob seems to only be with Vic because of his psychic abilities. Clearly this is part of Vic’s appeal for Jacob but considering the absolute mess Vic is, there has to be an appeal somewhere besides good sex so I’m not as uncomfortable with the theme as in previous books. Instead the mistakes and flaws Jacob exposes are refreshing and humanizing, showing a man with more texture and interest than the perfection Vic sees. Vic is slowly gaining insight into his talent and finally the need for control – other than pharmaceutical based – is sinking into his head.


The writing is good with few awkward pauses and information dumps. There is enough reiterated information that a new reader won’t be lost and old readers can catch up but less jarring commentary. Instead the dialogue and prose keep the story moving quickly and easily with Vic’s engaging voice and first person narration. The pill popping, ghost hunting, and relationship challenges make for a thoroughly entertaining story and the mixture of all of those into one tight, cohesive plot makes this one of the best in the series. Be sure to pick up this series if you haven’t, it’s quick and composed entirely of novellas so each fast story is a delight. 

Get it HERE!

Body & Soul: a PsyCop Novel by Jordan Castillo Price

Body & Soul: a PsyCop Novel by Jordan Castillo Price



Thanksgiving can’t end too soon for Victor Bayne, who’s finding Jacob’s family hard to swallow. Luckily, he’s called back to work to track down a high-profile missing person.


Meanwhile, Jacob tries to find a home they can move into that’s not infested–with either cockroaches, or ghosts. As if the house-hunting isn’t stressful enough, Vic’s new partner Bob Zigler doesn’t seem to think he can do anything right. A deceased junkie with a bone to pick leads Vic and Zig on a wild chase that ends in a basement full of horrors.




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.

Get it HERE!


Criss Cross by Jordan Castillo Price

Criss Cross by Jordan Castillo Price


Criss Cross finds the ghosts surrounding Victor getting awfully pushy. The medications that Victor usually takes to control his abilities are threatening to destroy his liver, and his new meds aren’t any more effective than sugar pills.

Vic is also adjusting to a new PsyCop partner, a mild-mannered guy named Roger with all the personality of white bread. At least he’s willing to spring for the Starbucks.

Jacob’s ex-boyfriend, Crash, is an empathic healer who might be able to help Victor pull his powers into balance, but he seems more interested in getting into Victor’s pants than in providing any actual assistance.




Sometimes proficient authors with large backlists can be scary with such questions as where to start and how to sample without feeling overwhelmed. Thankfully Jordan Castillo Price has made things really really easy for those readers who haven’t sampled her fabulous PsyCops series. When I first read Among The Living, it was offered as a free download to entice readers. I have no doubt it worked since it intrigued me enough to buy the next 2 books immediately. Now that offer is gone but JCP still offers the first HALF of Among the Living for free over at GLBT bookshelf. Now that’s a deal. Additionally her site now makes it crystal clear how the series is to be read and in what order. It truly makes my little reader heart soar with happiness. I mention this specifically because I had commented on such problems when I read the first book. So enough of that – how was Criss Cross you may ask. It was a pretty good sequel, not as good as the first but enough to hook me on the series definitely.

Here Vic, our favorite drug popping psychic cop has a new partner. Unfortunately the ghosts around him have multiplied and Vic’s favorite drug induced coma coping mechanism has been taken away from him. Not to mention Vic seems to be channeling a dead killer while sleeping with his kind of new boyfriend, Jacob. As if all of this wasn’t enough, Jacob’s ex appears to help Vic cleanse his aura and Lisa is calling with cryptic messages from California. Vic must sort it all out before his head explodes or his liver does from drug use.

Told again in first person point of view from Vic’s perspective, the strength of the story relies on Vic’s drug popping nature and his dry sense of humor. The ability to recognize crazy in himself and still manage to function is a cornerstone of the story, and series, when his drug use and instability would incapacitate most people. The story itself is somewhat indistinct and loose and lacks a strong focus. There is a purpose to the action, but the reasoning is vague and limited to the last few pages. Several of the set up scenes are obvious in their intent and Vic’s constant distraction and absent attention can be frustrating. That guy with a chainsaw at 2 am is not necessarily just cutting down a bothersome tree people. However there are always reasonable excuses for each lapse on Vic’s part, even if the reader is annoyed at the lack of intelligence sometimes.

Another of the strengths of the story is the solid characterization and furthering the relationship between Vic and Jacob. Although neither man is given more depth than the previous novella, their relationship is strong, interesting, and engaging without overwhelming the story with sappy, unnecessary romance and sentimentality. The strong, silent nature of their relationship works very well so the focus of Vic’s mental chaos doesn’t overwhelm the story with too many components. Additionally the engaging voice and dialogue make the story a fun, entertaining read and one you don’t want to put down. There is subtle humor, horror, and paranormal elements deftly woven into the setting and characters creating a unique atmosphere and series that instantly attracts and draws readers in from the first scene to the last. The quick pace and dry wit keep readers connected to the story and interested in the outcome.

Although the story lacked a strong focus and meandered along for most of the novella, the great writing keeps this as a fun, must read for the series. The urban fantasy setting is more complex and intricate in this book so that also helps cover the lack of complicated mystery. The wonderful writing, tight descriptions, and crisp pose make this a solid story you won’t want to miss. If you haven’t started the PsyCops series I suggest you do so and I personally am excited to read the next books and hope to eventually get through that extensive backlist and series.

Get it HERE


Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price

 JCP was offering a free download of one her books and I wandered over since I’ve wanted to read some of her series anyway. For such a pretty site, it’s almost impossible to understand her backlist, which was disappointing. I don’t know why authors don’t make it crystal clear the order of their series but I assume the majority of people visiting already know the books. I don’t and am always frustrated trying to figure out where to start and how the series link together, especially with the short stories and freebies. But this isn’t a review of a website. So that aside, I eventually downloaded “Among the Living” from her main author site, which is much better than the actual Psycop site – avoid that newbies like me. I think this is the first book of the Psycop series. I’ve no clue how it links to the other series she writes so here we go.

*Edit to add : JCP has graciously clarified her series order over on her site. So easy even I can figure it out now. Thank you muchly!

Among the Living by Jordan Castillo Price


Victor Bayne, the psychic half a PsyCop team, is a gay medium who’s more concerned with flying under the radar than in making waves.

He hooks up with handsome Jacob Marks, a non-psychic (or “Stiff”) from an adjacent precinct at his ex-partner’s retirement party and it seems like his dubious luck has taken a turn for the better. But then a serial killer surfaces who can change his appearance to match any witness’ idea of the world’s hottest guy.

Solving murders is a snap when you can ask the victims whodunit, but this killer’s not leaving any spirits behind.


Surprisingly good story…