Tuesday, 31 August 2010

M/M Challenge - Secrets by Jordan Castillo Price (Psycop 4)

In Secrets Victor becomes aware that perhaps some of his paranoia is justified. Heliotrope Station (Camp Hell) where he spent two years being 'trained' in his psychic abilities isn't mentioned anywhere on the internet, come to that neither are any of the former inmates...including himself. At the same time Jacob is dealing with a particularly unpleasant case involving sexual abuse at a retirement home, a case he doesn't want to talk about with Victor. Things are starting to unravel.

After the previous book I was a little worried that maybe I was overglomming Psycop in my attempt to get to Camp Hell before the end of August. (Hey there are still a few hours left). But I needn't have worried, Secrets is back on form with a vengeance.

The story opens with a wonderfully domestic scene, Victor and Jacob are moving in together. Which of course involves a little moving day nookie.
"You left a bite mark!"
..."Good thing you don't have to work tomorrow."
"You shit."
Of course everything is down hill from there. Jacob gets called away to deal with a case. And Victor (currently on medical leave) is left trying (and failing) to sort out their new living quarters. The case weighs heavily on Jacob but he doesn't want to talk about it with Victor. And Victor having recently found out about the complete lack of information on Heliotrope Station begins to feel (not unjustifiably) that everyone is keeping secrets from him.

I thought the mystery in this one was much more integrated into the story. Although the mystery itself is a separate thing, it impacts on Jacob and Victor's relationship. Jacob doesn't want to talk to Victor about it because he doesn't want to burden him. But he does feel able to talk to someone else about it - which doesn't really do much for Victor. Victor realizes that Jacob is keeping secrets from him, but doesn't know if that's the only secret he's keeping. And it seems that everybody (bar Victor) knows about the lack of information on Heliotrope Station and doesn't see anything strange about it. Especially towards the beginning of the story you can almost feel Vic's paranoia coming off the page. Everyone (with the possible exception of Carolyn who can't lie) is keeping secrets. And it's only when these secrets come out and are revealed that they can move on. Though as Victor says at the end
"I'm not so sure I like the new, improved, honest you. Let's go back to pretending everything's fine the way it is."
There was a lot more of Crash (Jacob's ex, the empath) in this one, which immediately ramps up the sarcasm quotient. Crash is one of those characters who can't resist metaphorically poking at the sore spot with a stick. He's an empath, so even though Victor doesn't want Crash to know he's attracted to him, Crash knows anyway and takes full advantage. I love Victor's justification to himself that it's Crash's green hair that does it.

I think this is the first time that Victor and Jacob's relationship is put to the test. Which makes for a very realistic read. You don't just ride off into the sunset together and everything's fine from then on. Relationships take work. It's working through the problems that makes them stronger and is far more interesting to read about.

One other thing that's explored here is Jacob's almost fetishistic attraction to Victor's ability. As Carolyn says in her blunt way.
"Victor, you've got to get out of here...Whenever you're in the room, Jacob turns into a walking hard-on. I haven't got the time for it..."
Victor starts to think that maybe they are like opposite ends of a magnet and that's why the attraction is so intence. I wonder if this is a thread that JCP will pursue?

A definite recommendation from me for anyone who hasn't yet read it. Onward and upward to Camp Hell.


Chris said...

I need to reread these....

Heh, my veri word is mates. :)

Tracy said...

Oh so damned good. I just loved this one. With the hot love scenes and the emotional chaos that the relationship is in it just worked for me. So glad you liked it.

LesleyW said...

Chris - lol. I want book 6 now.

Tracy - Yeah, I like my protagonists to have to work at their relationships.