Title: Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary (Books 1-5), A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion (Books 6-10), Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary (Audiobook), and Canine (A Channeling Morpheus Short)
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Narrator: Gomez Pugh
Publisher: JCP Books
Pages/Word Count: 193 Pages (Channeling Morpheus), 272 Pages (Sweet Oblivion), 7 Hours, 44 Minutes (Audio), and 28 Pages (Canine)
At a Glance: Wild Bill and Michael are my addiction and give me book hangover for days. I can’t recommend that hangover highly enough.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb – Box Set 1-5 – And Audiobook: Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got the hots for Michael, and will stop at nothing to go home with him.
Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the Interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America’s Heartland.
Ebook box set and audiobook contains the following novelettes: Payback, Vertigo, Manikin, Tainted, Rebirth
Blurb – Box Set 6-10: Staking a vampire isn’t so easy now that Michael’s got a vampire of his very own. Although killing them is no longer an option, he’s as determined as ever to stop the spread of vampirism.
Wild Bill is a lover, not a fighter–so he’s tickled when Michael’s new agenda, to dispense condoms and sterile phlebotomy gear among vampires, replaces the old “heads will roll” approach.
It takes courage to track down vamps in their own territory and deliver a lecture on safe sex, and more importantly, safe bloodletting. Michael’s never been short on audacity…but he’s finding that he and Wild Bill aren’t the only ones with agendas.
Ebook box set contains the following novelettes: Brazen, Snare, Fluid, Swarm, Elixir
Blurb – Canine: What’s the difference between a faithful companion and a feral animal? Wild Bill suspects the line separating the two is shaky at best. Supposedly, Michael has been tamed, and he swears he gave up hunting. But when he comes home covered in blood and reeking of adrenaline, Bill fears Michael has crossed paths with another bloodsucker, and the urge to exterminate the vamp was too powerful to resist.
Michael doesn’t need to hunt vampires to stir up trouble. His run-in with threatening neighbors has left him baffled, demoralized, and teetering on the brink of yet another episode of depression. It tears Bill up inside to see Michael suffer—unfortunately, the sorrow also trips his most primal vamp triggers. Before he knows it, his own inner beast rears up, ravenous, insatiable, and ready to tear into the next thing that crosses his path…making him wonder if it was wishful thinking to hope that either of them had been successfully domesticated.
Canine takes place after Elixir and contains series spoilers
Review: “Michael had his sorrow, and I had my shame. Maybe that’s the reason we harmonized so well.”
If ever there were two sentences that so perfectly encompassed the relationship between Michael and Wild Bill, it would be these, straight out of Canine, the newest short story in the Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion series.
Reading these novellas is a full-immersion trip on Michael and Wild Bill’s journey to nowhere special, as they trek their way through the Midwest, eventually lighting in Vegas–for now. They meet while hunting the same vampire for their own personal reasons, they connect through something far more intangible and impossible to name than simple vengeance. Michael and Wild Bill live a vagabond life and exist on little more than blood, sex, and trying (when it’s possible) to do the right thing. Attempting to live by as moral a code as possible was Wild Bill’s goal even before he met Michael—trying to do what was right, though sometimes he had no choice but to be the vampire he is. After he met Michael, trying to be the best vampire he could be became Wild Bill’s raison d’etre, just to be the guy who deserves Michael’s love. The emotional underpinning Jordan Castillo Price layers into this series, through Wild Bill’s smirks and ennui, and Michael’s emotional highs and lows, is love laced with despair then woven into need. It’s a stunning complement to her vampire lore, which is original and also borrows just a tad from Stoker’s canon.
I said something in my first review of this series, and it still holds true, reading after reading: “Michael and Wild Bill are two halves of the same whole, in an entirely symbiotic relationship that survives, thrives, and has become a physical and emotional imperative. They are distinct yet entwined by something deeper than love. They’re bonded by blood and a metaphysical link that makes it impossible to think of one without the other. They’re yin/yang and it works perfectly. These stories are erotic in a fully meaningful way because where Michael leaves off, Wild Bill begins; where Wild Bill leaves off, Michael begins. They don’t rely on words as such to each let the other know how he feels; Wild Bill’s not much of a talker, truth be told, so they both speak in actions and body language, and are so attuned to each other they know what the other needs without insincere platitudes and oversimplified endearments. What this does, in effect, is makes the times they do feel the desire to express what’s in their hearts all the more touching, and it works beautifully within the framework of their relationship.
There is a scenario in Canine where this is especially evident. To put a metaphorical point on it, Michael and Wild Bill are each other’s abyss—they look into each other’s eyes and sometimes it’s the abyss that looks back. Wild Bill feeds on Michael’s misery, at least as much as his conscience will allow. Michael’s sorrow and depression (underlined and punctuated by the death of his friend Scary Mary) is Wild Bill’s aphrodisiac, but while Wild Bill could let Michael wallow in the muck of his depression to feed an innate sexual desire, his love for Michael compels him to pull the man back from the ledge before he slips and drowns in his black moods. These two men stare into the depths of each other’s souls, and are each the other’s salvation, time after time, before the literal and figurative monster takes hold. What Wild Bill does for Michael in Canine is such a wholly loving and unselfish gesture that while it might not be considered traditionally romantic—because, let’s face it, it ain’t wine and roses—it is one of the more touching scenes in the series simply because it’s significant to the two of them and highlights just how far Wild Bill will go to be Michael’s redeemer, even though he believes himself to be beyond redemption. They are survivors, these two, and they are each the other’s savior.
Just released on audiobook, the Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary set has come to life under the vocal talents of Gomez Pugh (who also narrates JCP’s PsyCop series), and I have to confess, in as much as is demanded of Pugh in the wide range of characters and voices in the PsyCop books, I was worried how in the name of narration he was going to come up with new and distinct voices for Michael and Wild Bill. Those worries were unfounded, though, because again he proves his range is apparently limitless. Michael’s voice is outstanding, capturing his youth and innocence, his strength and tenacity, and his need and vulnerability in the face of Wild Bill’s natural magnetism.
Wild Bill, on the other hand, is portrayed to perfection in his jaded, world-weary way, with the husky, tobacco-whiskey drawl that alludes to his years of chain smoking and Jack drinking, and complements the lassitude and general tedium that go hand-in-hand with being decades more cynical than his twenty-three-year-old appearance should allow for.
The Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary/Sweet Oblivion series is a fusion of spec fic, red-hot erotica, and a study of the human condition which exists for two men, one of whom isn’t technically human any longer. It’s sexy and original while staying true to the vampire mythos, the allure which makes the undead live on in fiction, century after century. Michael and Wild Bill have become iconic in the M/M lexicon and are at the top of my list of all-time favorite characters, human, non-human, or somewhere in between. Every time I read them I suffer, though—they’re my addiction and give me book hangover for days. I can’t recommend that hangover highly enough.
You can buy Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary (Set 1-5) here:
Barnes & Noble
You can buy Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary in Audio here:
Buy A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion (Set 6-10) here:
Barnes & Noble
Buy Canine here:
Barnes & Noble