4.5 Stars, Genre Romance, Historical Romance, Kate McMurray, Paranormal, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Across the East River Bridge by Kate McMurray

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Amazon

Title: Across the East River Bridge (2nd Edition)

Author: Kate McMurray

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 239 Pages

At a Glance: Across the East River Bridge, in its second go-round, is every bit as good now as it was in its original release.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: When historian Christopher Finnegan walks into a new museum in Brooklyn, he’s chagrined to learn its curator is his old academic rival, Troy Rafferty. Worse, Troy is convinced the museum is haunted and wants Finn’s help learning more about the ghosts. Finn and Troy have never gotten along and Finn wants to run screaming, but then Troy offers him an intriguing proposal: Troy will help Finn with a research project for his overbearing boss if Finn will help Troy solve a mystery involving two men who died in the building under mysterious circumstances in 1878.

Finn and Troy piece together the two men’s lives–and the quiet romance that grew between them–through diaries, newspaper clippings, and police reports. They’re both soon convinced the men were murdered. They’re also convinced the ghosts are real even Finn witnesses paranormal phenomena he can’t deny–and that they’re capable of affecting thoughts, feelings, and actions. When Finn and Troy start falling for each other despite years of animosity, Finn worries he’s being manipulated by the ghosts to stay with Troy and solve the case. Troy is convinced the love between them is real, but he’ll need to figure out how to get rid of the ghosts in order to prove it.

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Review: I first read Kate McMurray’s Across the East River Bridge back in September of 2012. A few years and more than a few hundred books later, when I chose to review it in its second edition release, I’ll confess that while I had the plot basics down, I clearly had forgotten some of the finer details that made it such a fantastic read—both the first time and now, the second. This book is many things rolled into one: an enemies-to-lovers story, a contemporary romance, a historical romance, a tragic romance, and then, to top it all off, there’s a paranormal mystery dating back to the 1870s that this author managed to finesse into a touching and sometimes intense read.

McMurray leads us into the story in modern day Brooklyn, where we learn that Christopher “Finn” Finnegan and Troy Rafferty have a history of their own—rivals from their college days, Finn has spent more than a decade loathing golden boy Troy for sabotaging his academic career by discrediting his dissertation research, which then resulted in Finn’s funding being pulled. Amongst the animosity that Finn still feels toward Troy all these years later is an undercurrent of sexual tension that’s been there between them from the start. And, added to it, there’s an intense frustration that Finn is still attracted to someone he hates so thoroughly—or tries to hate so thoroughly, at least. The setup for them working together, then, is a great foundation for the conflicted feelings Finn has throughout the book—how can he hate Troy and still want him so intensely? And how can Finn look inward in any sort of honest and rational way and continue to blame Troy for his failings? I have to say I felt a lot of frustration myself toward Finn throughout this book. His stubbornness and scapegoating of Troy makes it hard to excuse some of Finn’s actions and reactions, but a lot of that for me is because Kate McMurray makes Troy such a likeable and charming character. Where Troy may be intended to be Finn’s foil, it actually worked the other way around, and I liked the turning of the tables.

Where the author infuses this book with a terrible poignancy is in the historical research Finn and Troy delve into to uncover the mystery of Brill House, the museum of which Troy is now curator. There is a ghostly presence or two in Brill House that seems to lead directly to one-time owner Theodore Brill, and a border who eventually became Teddy’s lover, George Washington Cutler. Their story, of course, carries with it all the ingrained difficulties of the time in which these two men lived and loved. As Troy and Finn continue their investigation into Teddy and Wash’s deaths—an apparent murder/suicide—they uncover more questions than answers about the way in which the couple died. And, in the process, begin to agitate the spirits of the deceased as the ghosts become desperate for the truth of their deaths to be revealed. I 100% loved this aspect of the novel, not only from an emotional standpoint but from a writing standpoint as well. As Finn and Troy get closer to the truth, the more the tension and suspense escalate, and once the storyline reaches its climax, it plays out in true page-turner fashion.

Troy and Finn’s interactions throughout the story are part antagonistic, part full-on sexual, and their relationship builds from that as well as the eventual realization on Finn’s part that he’s going to have to give up the ghost, so to speak, and stop trying to make Troy the enemy. As feelings change and begin to look a lot like two men falling in love, the underlying question they can’t answer for sure is, how much is this metaphysical mystery manipulating them and their emotions. Finn’s not only skeptical about nearly every aspect of Troy’s theories on what happened to Teddy and Wash, but he’s so busy hanging on to the past that he can’t see what a great future Troy’s offering him, and I liked how these relationships contrasted—we see what a gift it is for Troy and Finn to be able to live together openly, a luxury that Teddy and Wash didn’t have. And, it may well have cost them their lives.

Across the East River Bridge, in its second go-round, is every bit as good now as it was in its original release. Whether you’ve read it before, or are considering reading it for the first time, I can say it’s a solid story that comes highly recommended.

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You can buy Across the East River Bridge here:

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3 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Historical Romance, Keelan Ellis, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: I’ll Still Be There By Keelan Ellis

Title: I’ll Still Be There

Author: Keelan Ellis

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: In spite of some issues I had with I’ll Still Be There, I liked its message of the enduring power of love.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: The summer after high school, Eli Dunn and Jess Early explore an abandoned brothel in the rural Florida Panhandle. They’ve always kept their mutual attraction unspoken, but in an upstairs room at the end of the hall, everything changes. Suddenly, all the longing Eli and Jess have tried so hard to conceal bursts free, and passion like they’ve never experienced comes to light, along with the ghosts of Clay Bailey and Silas Denton, murdered owners of the brothel. And Clay and Silas have no problem possessing Eli and Jess in order to express their love for each other, without thought for the living.

Deeply disturbed by the experience, Eli and Jess part and try to get on with life as best they can. But after several years, Eli returns to Florida, only to find that Jess has made some questionable choices. These eventually lead him back to the abandoned house and a confrontation with Eli. Old scores are settled and Eli and Jess reunite. But Clay and Silas’s ghosts aren’t finished yet, for they’ve always believed in the power of open and honest love.

Dividers

Review: Keelan Ellis’s debut in Gay Romance, I’ll Still Be There, is an interesting blend of historical and contemporary, a bittersweet and tragic romance with a happy ending, and more than a little supernatural influence that comes into play to contrast the past and the present, giving this novel a touch of the unique.

Ellis pulls out all the emotional stops and offers readers not one but two love stories which juxtapose each other in one significant way. We first meet Eli and Jess in junior high school in 2002, when the two boys unite in defense of a girl, Cassie, who’s being teased on the playground. The three become the best of friends, but it’s not until high school that we begin to see clues their group dynamics are shifting.

In contrast to the contemporary we flashback to 1938, where we meet Clay Bailey and get a glimpse of him coming to terms with the realization that he’s wired a bit differently than other boys. When his father catches him in a compromising position with an older man, Clay leaves home, taking to the streets and caring for himself the only way he knows how—by exchanging sex for money. The anger I felt toward Clay’s mother for simply letting her son walk out was real and realistic and engaged me in the story, as we’re all too aware of the laws at the time. That anger only grows as we watch Clay being taken advantage of by the man who becomes his pimp. Eventually, though, opportunity gives Clay the freedom to strike out on his own again, where he soon finds a safe place to land and begins managing his own boys, meeting the one boy in particular who will steal Clay’s heart: Silas Denton.

The beauty of the contrast between the past and present in I’ll Still Be There is in the relationship between Clay and Silas, and what Eli and Jess are living out in the present. In a time (at this point, 1950) when Clay and Silas’s relationship was socially unacceptable, not to mention unlawful, we see these two men fall in love and then love each other with abandon, even as they’re unable to live out and proud. As tragedy befalls them, we see their love as timeless and immutable. Within the eternal nature of Clay and Silas’s love, we see the danger and struggles that existed for gay men in the not so distant past, how their need to hide affected them, influenced their opportunities to meet one another, and the sham marriages so many men felt forced into. And, in contrast, we see how difficult it still is today for some men to come out and live openly, even in a more enlightened time.

We watch Jess and Eli struggle privately with their feelings for each other as they come to terms with those shifting emotions, and we watch as Eli is weighed down by the fear of coming out in their conservative hometown. And though it takes the supernatural encounter with Clay and Silas’s ghosts for Jess to finally find the courage to admit his feelings for Eli, the damage is done—there is an all too important moment Jess and Eli are robbed of, though it also becomes this novel’s catalyst, causing a confused and angry Eli to panic and disappear in denial, leaving both Jess and Cassie behind him.

There are several characters I liked a lot in I’ll Still Be There, apart from Clay and Silas, and Eli and Jess. Ruth, the madam who became a friend, mentor and sort of surrogate mother to Clay, is a standout; as are Eli’s parents and Jess’s mom. The one character I felt was written as the disposable cliché in the book, though, is Cassie. She’s the woman we see portrayed quite often in this genre (the poor girl in love with the gay man), and while she served a purpose, the core of Jess and Eli’s story could have been told just as thoroughly without her, meaning she was more a convenience to Jess and Eli’s arc than a critical cog in the plot, then is used in a way that made Eli come off as callous at one critical point. While I’d have loved to see her as more than a device to generate conflict in the storyline, I did appreciate her being allowed to take the high road in the end.

I also enjoyed the way Clay and Silas became mentors to Eli and Jess, as a symbol of courage and the need to grab hold of love and happiness when you find it. And while I know flashbacks don’t always work for some readers, I personally was overall more invested in Clay and Silas’s story than Jess and Eli’s, those moments in the past adding a welcome emotional layer to what might have been an otherwise too-familiar plot.

While there were some points I felt might have been explored with more depth, especially when Eli returns to claim Jess in a way I found somewhat oversimplified in its resolution, it did serve to keep this novel low on the angst and moving forward at a brisk enough pace to make it a quick read, one I liked for its heartfelt message of taking risks and going for broke in the name of love.

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You can buy I’ll Still Be There here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Secrets (PsyCop 4) by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Title: Secrets (PsyCop: Book Four)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Narrator:: Gomez Pugh

Publisher: JCP Books

Run Time: 5 Hours, 57 Minutes

At a Glance: I have one word for the PsyCop series and Gomez Pugh’s narration: perfection.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: 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?

Dividers

Review: One thing I’ve discovered after listening to Gomez Pugh’s three previous performances in the PsyCop series is that by now I can anticipate the characters’ voices before he speaks. I can hear in my head Vic’s sardonic and deadpan drawl, Jacob’s husky sex voice, and Crash’s wiseass sarcasm dripping from nearly every word he speaks. The tone and cadence are there even before Mr. Pugh utters a single syllable, and the same goes for Carolyn, Lisa, Zig, and Miss Mattie. Listening to this series come to life has been like eavesdropping on a conversation between old friends.

There are a great many brilliant things Jordan Castillo Price does in this series, one of them is to contrast the bizarreness that is Victor Bayne’s life with the stability Jacob brings to it—rather mundane things like a home and a partnership. If anything concerning Victor or Jacob could ever be considered mundane, that is. In this installment of the series we now get a good taste of what Vic’s abilities do to Jacob, and let me tell you, it’s kinda kinky and really sexy. Among all the secrets floating around in Secrets–things Jacob is keeping from Victor, something everyone has been keeping from Victor—is something it’s impossible to miss: how Jacob truly feels about Victor.

The biggest revelation in Secrets is leading us directly to Camp Hell. Or, maybe that should be a lack of revelation because according to the internet, Heliotrope Station never existed. And for that matter, neither does Jacob. For a guy who has no presence on the information superhighway, someone, or a lot of someones, are keeping an awful close eye on our favorite medium. Part of the fun of having already read all the books in this series is knowing what’s coming next, and knowing what’s coming next for Gomez Pugh to narrate to us? Gah! The anticipation is killer.

The paranormal crime being investigated in Secrets is ghastly and ghostly, and it begins to take its toll on Jacob personally, while Lisa’s psych abilities begin to take a toll on her in both a mental and emotional way. I loved seeing Vic step in and step up in this novella to champion Lisa, and I loved listening to him attempt to figure out Crash, where he stands with Jacob, and simply try to understand what’s best summed up as the total erasure of his past as well as his virtual non-existence now—imagine being the corporeal specter in one’s own life, having memories of the days you’ve lived, remembering the work you’ve done, but having no tangible confirmation to prove you’ve been where you’ve been or done what you’ve done. It’s a pretty cool web JCP has woven for Victor, and now the fun will be watching him work his way through all the tangles.

This series is so many things: other-wordly and all-consuming, with characters it’s impossible not to feel on page, and now have come to life in spoken word. I have one word for the PsyCop series and Gomez Pugh’s narration: perfection.






You can buy Secrets here:

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5 Stars, Harper Fox, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Be He Ghost Or Be He Real? That’s The Question In Harper Fox’s “Kitto”


“But the pain of love are the pains of life, and a lifelong love it will be.” – Harper Fox


Title: Kitto (Tyack & Frayne: Book Four)

Author: Harper Fox

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 123 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Now Lee is free from the malevolent ghost of Morris Hawke, his clairvoyant gifts are expanding fast. Too fast for comfort, and he and Gideon find themselves wrestling with his unsettling capacity to see the future. In some ways this new power is wonderful, and Lee finds himself a local hero after predicting a flood. Continue reading

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4.5 Stars, Carina Press, Diana Copland, G.B. Lindsey, Libby Drew, Reviewed by Lisa

G.B. Lindsey, Diana Copland, And Libby Drew Reveal The “Secrets of Neverwood”


“Because brothers don’t let each other wander in the dark alone.” ― Jolene Perry


Title: Secrets of Neverwood

Author: G.B. Lindsey, Diana Copland, Libby Drew

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages/Word Count: 431 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars Overall

Blurb: Three foster brothers are called home to Neverwood, the stately Pacific Northwest mansion of their youth. They have nothing in common but a promise to Audrey, the woman they all called mother—that upon her death, they would restore the house and preserve it as a home for troubled boys.

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Dreamspinner Press, Rhys Ford

“Fish and Ghosts” – It’s Guaranteed Not To Stink After Three Days



Fish and visitors smell after three days. – Benjamin Franklin


For his entire life, Tristan Pryce has been called crazy. When he was young, he started seeing ghosts in his bedroom, on the streets, and pretty much everywhere he went. His parents had no clue what to do with him and after sending him to every doctor and psychiatrist they could find, they still had no answers. Tristan found his own answers while spending the summers and holidays with his Uncle Mortimer at the family estate Hoxne Grange. You see, Uncle Mortimer could see the ghosts too. Tristan feels like he has finally found somewhere he belongs, a true home. When his uncle dies unexpectedly, Tristan and the rest of the family is shocked to find out that he has inherited Hoxne Grange. With money and the family estate on their mind, his family sets out to prove that Tristan is crazy. They hire Dr. Wolf Kincaid and his team of investigators to prove that Hoxne Grange isn’t haunted and to get control of the family estate.
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KJ Charles, Torquere Press

“The Caldwell Ghost” Is Spooktacular With A Side Of Sextastic



“A ghost is a knot in the otherwise smooth flow of time… And sometimes a ghost is a shared thing.” ― Cole Swensen


I’m just going to say this right out loud ::clears pipes:: — There are some authors who shouldn’t be allowed to write short stories. There. Said. Now, let me explain why I feel this way. There are some writers whose prose is so magnetic, whose stories are so engrossing, whose characters are so intriguing that they should be given many, many words and paragraphs and pages within which the reader can become so lost that s/he forgets about the outside world for more than the space of a brief interlude with imagination.

KJ Charles has officially been put on notice.
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Ari McKay, Torquere Press

There’s More Than A “Ghost of a Chance” You’ll Like This Little Story



“Trust me, you see the dead walking around, you learn not to scream, laugh, or piss yourself pretty quickly.” ― Stacey Kade


Blurb: Dr. Mason Beaulieu thinks rival ghost hunter Haywood “Fort” Fortenberry is sexy but too credulous when it comes to the paranormal. Fort thinks Mason is attractive but too cynical. When they’re offered a chance to be locked up in reputedly haunted Wisteria Grove on Halloween night, however, both men jump at the chance.

Storms and mysterious sounds keep them busy during the night, and they discover a mutual respect for each other’s skills. As the investigation continues, Fort learns the truth behind Mason’s seemingly dismissive attitude, and Mason finds a new appreciation for Fort’s open-mindedness. But when an unexpected intruder derails the investigation, they learn that more than just hunting ghosts can offer them thrills and chills.
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Josh Lanyon, Just Joshin Publishing, Self-Published

“The Haunted Heart: Winter” Is The Perfect Late Summer Read




“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” ― J.K. Rowling


Flynn Ambrose is a man in mourning. Almost one year ago, Alan, the love of Flynn’s life died in a freak accident. Flynn didn’t want to keep going and after trying to end everything, his parents took over his care and put him in a psychiatric hospital. Eventually Flynn and his parents came to the “agreement” Flynn would be living in his Great Uncle’s house, cataloging all of his “treasures”. Flynn would take his medication, he would see his doctor, he would eat and sleep, and he wouldn’t harm himself. That was the agreement. Flynn was mostly keeping to the agreement, well, except for the sleeping, eating, taking medication and seeing the doctor. He was burying himself in the task of identifying the antiques and getting them ready for sale, when one of the items starts to reveal a scary secret. One night Flynn is scared out of his socks and when he runs out of his rooms, he literally runs into his neighbor.

Kirk Murdoch is a solitary type of man. Over the course of the story we learn that he is a former Army Ranger, a playwright, and he seems to have a bad case of PTSD. Kirk spends most of his time alone. He doesn’t want or need the company of other people. He writes, he tries to play the guitar and he works out…..a lot. All of this self isolation is about to come to an end when he runs into Flynn Ambrose one night on the stairs.

Flynn thinks he may be going crazy when he sees a ghost in a mirror. Because he is scared he may be going even crazier, he enlists Kirk to help him figure out if what he is seeing is real. Kirk does see the ghost, and this starts the two men on an adventure to find out who she is and what in the world she wants.

This story is something I have been looking forward to for a long time. I love Josh Lanyon’s work, and I didn’t realize how much I missed his writing until I was reading it again. His writing style and sense of humor comes through loud and clear in this story. Flynn’s story is a very sad one, and he seems to have given up on living. Kirk’s story has yet to be revealed in full but with three more stories on the way, I am sure we will get to know him just as well. There is no huge love story in this; I have a feeling this one will be a slow burn. Both of these men have some major healing to do, and I can only hope they choose to do it together.

I don’t think I have to sit here and wax poetically about the writing in this, but I will anyway. :) Josh Lanyon may have taken some time off, but his skills didn’t take any such vacation. Even in a novella he manages to paint a full picture of Flynn. We get the basic idea that he and Alan not only grew up together but were so in love that they hadn’t been with anyone else. They were soul mates and they were going to be together forever. I am so looking forward to the next story in the series because I can’t wait to get to know Kirk better; those are some deep waters in that man.

This new book is a homerun for Josh, and I can’t be any happier to have him back. So if you loved Adrien English, or maybe you got hooked on Holmes and Moriarity, then I think you will be as happy as I am to get caught up in Flynn and Kirk while they find themselves and each other.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy The Haunted Heart: Winter here:

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Samhain Publishing

“The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1) Is Indeed A Charm. And Lord, Is It Good!



“The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children.” – William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”



They say that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The danger in that bid for the ultimate control, of course, is that there is always someone who is more corrupt and more powerful than yourself. Power then becomes a game of survival of the fittest, in which the weakest of the powerful are doomed to succumb to the covetous ways and unscrupulous means by which the competition will most eagerly eliminate, permanently, the nuisance you have become.

Then again, sometimes death is simply a matter of revenge.

Murder in a most macabre and mystical fashion is at the heart of KJ Charles’ The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, Book One), and it is utterly and deathly divine.

Lucien Vaudrey, now reluctantly known as Lord Crane, knows firsthand what it means to witness someone pay for his sins in a most grim and grisly fashion, if not in the example of his father and brother, then in his own frightening and incomprehensible desire to commit an act of self-murder. The only difference between himself and his unsavory relations, however, is that while his father and brother deserved an untimely and gruesome demise, Lucien is guilty of nothing more than sharing their blood and surname, but now he must also share a portion of the loathing that goes along with them. The son who was rejected by the father may have been spared the taint of his sire’s corruption, but he could not escape retribution.

Stephen Day is a man who knows all too well what the Vaudrey men are capable of, or at least Quentin and his favored son Hector, who laid waste to Stephen’s family with neither hesitation nor remorse. Stephen Day is also a man who may be slight in stature but holds within himself a power more deadly than most anyone—or anything—can challenge, and Lucien is desperately in need of that power. Though it would be understandable and most justifiable if Stephen were to withhold it, given Lucien’s lineage. To offer Lucien help is to save his life—a life that, in the opinion of many, isn’t worth sparing.

Fans of gothic horror, historical fiction, gripping mystery, tight prose, rich plots and multi-dimensional characters are in for a solidly entertaining read in The Magpie Lord. I’m tempted to add many exclamation points here because I’m so excited about the first book in this series!!! There. Done.

This is a book of lust in so many ways: the lust for power and the lust for sex and the lust to be connected to someone, and the final outcome of all that desire is sex magick and a blood bond and a link which forms an unbreakable tether between two men that I can’t wait to see expanded in the coming installments in this series. Evil has escaped, after all. When that happens, there’s always more to come.

This is a story of loyalty and insanity and hideous crimes, where curses rein and secrets are discovered. It is a place where a house becomes a purgatory of horrors, void of energy that threatens to strip one man of his strength and send the other to his grave, unless they can discover a way to tap into the Magpie Lord’s power.

I won’t hesitate for a minute to recommend this book enthusiastically, and it’s one I await the sequel to anxiously!

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpie’s #1) here:

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JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Self-Published

Yeah… If We Could Get More Of The “Spook Squad” Gang, That’d Be Great



“Deception, when it works, is the most elegant and the least expensive manipulation of all.” – Vernor Vinge



Oh, Victor Bayne, how much do I love you? Apparently so much that I pretend you’re real and ask you if you know how much I love you.

It’s been approximately two and a half years since Vic, (our resident über-Medium with the Extra-Grande Psych skills) and the baddest of the badass Stiffs, Jacob Marks, discovered that Must-See-TV doesn’t hold quite the appeal for some as it does for others. Well, they’re back and better than ever in Spook Squad, the seventh (and counting) book in the PsyCop series, in which Jacob’s got a new job, and Vic is trying really hard to come to grips with the fact that sometimes justice is sketchy as hell.

Vic is trying really hard to avoid Con Dreyfus, Jacob’s new boss and the director of the FPMP—the Federal Psychic Monitoring Program—which we’re all pretty sure is keeping a very close eye, and ear, on Vic and Jacob’s every move. Paranoia is fun! And it forces the guys to be ultra-creative in their stealth. Well, F-Pimp wants Vic on the Federal side of the spook biz, but he’s not at all keen on the idea of siding with the bad guys. Or at least the people he believes are the bad guys, and why wouldn’t he think it, considering all the lingering repeaters there are hanging around the place, not to mention one psychotic ghost with a thirst for vengeance? And how about a director who isn’t opposed to playing manipulation games to get what he wants? It’s all a little on the sketchy side, if you ask Vic.

Spook Squad is a chapter in this on-going love-fest of mine in which nothing is what it seems and the dead have all the answers, not that they’re sharing much. Dead men tell no tales, after all, yeah? Only, sometimes they do, but then sometimes the dead would just as soon eliminate a guy than allow him to have his way with her—in only the most metaphysical sense, of course—and there’s one particular ghost who means to get her way, or make sure she takes some people down with her before Vic has a chance to send her to wherever it is spirits dwell once their earth-bound thread is clipped.

Vic and Jacob seem to get nothing but a lot of dead end clues in Roger Burke’s murder, a murder in which the least likely person to have possibly committed it has been implicated by Vic himself. Trying to figure out why Laura Kim was at the scene of the crime, and why her gun is the murder weapon even though she’s clearly not the kind of woman who shoots first and asks question later, is the trying-to-find-a-ghost-in-a-spook-stack mystery that needs solving in this episode.

Jordan Castillo Price has dialed this one up to a full Technicolor, High Def, you’ve-gotta-see-it-to-belove-it read of spook-a-licious intrigue, and Vic and Jacob just keep getting better. They fit, that’s all there is to it. They’ve evolved from Jacob’s near obsession with Vic’s talents to the two of them being a true team. They’re a hand-in-glove fit, and their relationship has grown into something that feels real and comfortable, and I adore them.

I’ve been hopelessly in love with this series since Among the Living, and it doesn’t look like the bloom will be falling off that rose anytime soon. Vic has got some new territory to explore coming up, and I’ll be reading right along with him.

If you’ve been following along on Victor and Jacob’s supernatural stand-offs, Spook Squad is a must read. If you haven’t started reading this series yet, do it now and catch up quickly.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Spook Squad (PsyCop #7) here:

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Alfie Dog Fiction, Iyana Jenna

Iyana Jenna’s “A Part of Me” Is A Bittersweet Tale Of Loss

“Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that’s what.”
― Salman Rushdie



Connor and Zach’s life together changes dramatically one dark and snowy night as their car skids off the road and slams headlong into a tree, leaving Connor seriously injured and Zach in a panic when he comes to and sees that Connor desperately needs help.

Frantic to flag down a passing car, Zach runs along the side of the road until he comes across the help he and Connor both need, though it quickly becomes clear that Zach’s actions have meant absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of their rescue.

Because, you see, Zach didn’t survive the crash.

Iyana Jenna’s very short paranormal love story, A Part of Me, is a different kind of romance: tragic, bittersweet, hopeful, and, at the same time, isn’t, not with the knowledge that the impossible can’t possibly lead to a lifetime together for these two men.

Connor lives, but Zach now exists in the space between here and what waits on the other side, making this a tale in which real-world rules cannot apply. Your enjoyment of the story will likely depend upon how much you’re willing to stretch your definition of happily-ever-after. But maybe the point is to take the happiness one can find in each day, and let the ever-after part take care of itself.

Iyana does her best to weave something good from the bad in A Part of Me, and I have to say this one has left me split right down the middle between having liked the storytelling but wishing there’d been a different outcome for this couple.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy A Part of Me here:

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