Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Narrator:: Gomez Pugh
Publisher: JCP Books
Run Time: 4 Hours, 45 Minutes
At a Glance: Body and Soul asks much of Gomez Pugh’s talent, and he, in turn, delivers
Blurb: 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.
Review: I’m hardly an e-book aficionado, considering Body and Soul is the third book in the PsyCop series and is exactly the third audiobook I’ve ever listened to, but I must say that when Gomez Pugh introduces the book, even the way he says Jordan Castillo Price’s name resonates on a scale of one to ten as a sexy eleven.
Book Three takes place at Thanksgiving time, which leads to Vic meeting Jacob’s family, which leads to some pretty interesting events around the dinner table. As this series is narrated in the first person from Vic’s point of view, we play witness to the fact, without him stating it point blank, that he has no real clue how to operate within or fit into a family dynamic. What makes it a great scene for the reader, if not for Vic, is the sight he’s treated to sitting across the table from Uncle Leon. I’m not going to say what that is, but it’s darkly humorous and is also a revelation of even the small things Vic is forced to acclimate to because of his sixth sense, not to mention it’s a great way to begin a book—nothing says meet-the-in-laws like a soupcon of the supernatural to add to the discomfort.
In Body and Soul, readers are treated to a greater understanding of Victor Bayne as a character. Details about his past and what he’s lived through are being parsed out in small doses in preparation for a more in depth set of revelations as the series progresses. The one thing we know about Vic for sure, almost from the first moment he’s on page, is that he is a survivor. Sure, he may have to use some pretty good narcotics to help him make it through most days, but with a “gift” like his, a medium’s gotta do what a medium’s gotta do. He shows us a deadpan (pun not intended) humor and a certain vulnerability but a growing confidence, as well, in his relationship with Jacob. Which is still in its infancy but is bringing Vic closer to a home in someone than he’s ever been before. Jacob is Vic’s new “normal”, a normal he can, and wants, to live with.
Vic and Jacob take an important step in their relationship, when Vic says yes to Jacob’s suggestion they move in together. Jacob, who’s always been nothing less than confident, shows a little vulnerability when Vic doesn’t seem to be as excited to live with him as he is to live with Vic. It was a revelation, this glimpse of how much Jacob really loves Vic and wants to be with him, but is willing to be with him on Vic’s terms. In turn, Vic realizes there’s never been anyone who makes him feel the way Jacob does, and let me tell you, it’s one thing to read a hot sex scene. It’s another thing entirely to have it read to you in a deep and seductive voice.
With Vic’s former partner, Maurice, retired; his partner for the blink of an eye, Lisa Gutierrez, falling off the radar while she’s away being trained how to be a PsyCop; and his last partner, Roger, trying to make a human guinea pig out of Vic, we’re introduced in this book to a new partner, Zig. Though he doesn’t say much—he’s not the talkative sort—his actions speak well enough for him and he seems a decent fellow, so prepare for him to be around awhile. Also prepare for a gruesomely touching scene between Vic and Zig that alone puts another macabre touch on what Vic lives with day in and day out.
Their first case together comes at the expense of Vic and Jacob’s long holiday weekend, but people are going missing and Vic gets called in to liaise with the non-living to try to figure out what’s happened to the men and women who’ve disappeared without a trace. The case itself turns out to be even more bizarre when it reveals itself to involve a spiritual ritualism that even Vic has never seen before (just when you think you’ve seen it all), and which gives this book its title. In working this case, we get the chance to see why Vic is such an asset to the “Spook Squad”, as well as why he’s the object of some scorn from the NPs—the non-PsyCops. We also get another delectable peek at Jordan Castillo Price’s imagination and her ability to draw readers in to her unreality.
It can’t be easy for a voice actor to narrate a book, especially considering the fact that actor is providing not only the narrative voice but the dialogue for every character in the book. This means the narrator must sort through his repertoire of accents and vocal pitches to find those that will fit within the story’s setting and suit not only the male but the female characters as well. What’s impressive about Pugh’s vocalization in Body and Soul is the range he manages to employ that brings to life an impressive number of role players in this book. Not only does he have Vic and Jacob down pat, but JCP has included Zig, as well as the Marks family, a few cops, Crash, assorted family members in a missing persons case, the kid at a hot dog stand, the perpetrators of a missing persons crime, and an assortment of ghosts in the book. Body and Soul asks much of Gomez Pugh’s talent, and he, in turn, delivers.
If you love speculative fiction at all, read all the books in this series, listen to the audiobooks that have already been released, love Victor Bayne and Jacob Marks as Jordan Castillo Price has written them, and get to know them a titch better in the way Gomez Pugh has brought them to life.
You can buy Body and Soul (PsyCop 3) here: