Camp Hell picks up immediately where Psycop 4 ends. Victor has decided to take the plunge and investigate exactly why Heliotrope Station (Camp Hell) and all mention of its residents has been erased. But when someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to bury the past, is it really safe for him to be poking around?
My favourite of the series. I think perhaps because the characters are so settled in. Both mysteries (Victor's investigation into the La Salle hospital and his investigation into Camp Hell) are completely interwoven into the story.
I very much appreciated Vic's sarcastic humor here, as it balanced out some of the tragic and sad history of Heliotrope Station which we experience firsthand as Vic undergoes hypnotic regression.
If possible the paranoia quotient gets even higher, mainly because it permeates the whole book this time rather than just being a part of it.
"I have to tell you something. But I think they're listening." Which sounded incredibly paranoid, I realized, but only after I'd said it.And there's also the sense of a conspiracy of silence. It's not 100% clear who the bad guys and good guys are. I'm very, very interested to see where the story goes from here. I don't think we've heard the last of Heliotrope station and the FPMP (Federal Psychic Monitoring Program) it feels like there's more to come.
Victor and Jacob's relationship gets stronger here, but they're still working on it. :) JCP manages to get across in a couple of sentences what takes other authors pages and it makes the story so much stronger.
"...We're both on the same side, right?"They're still not quite as honest with each other as they could be. As Crash puts it:-
Jacob's gaze had moved from the wall to my eyes. I wanted to squirm. "You've got to start acting like it," he said.
"...You guys think you're so virtuous because you both fall into the same bed every night, but I'll bet you haven't had a single conversation that was a hundred percent honest..."I think Crash knows exactly how to hit a nerve, but Jacob's and Victor's lies seem mainly to be each of them trying to protect the other. But it's still lying.
Crash makes another welcome appearance. I like how he rubs Victor up the wrong way. (Loved his comment about the fight with a lamprey). In a way it's like they're - Jacob, Victor, Carolyn, Lisa, Crash - this very dysfunctional family.
There's a nice balance of humor and suspense. The pacing of the story is excellent, Jordan Castillo Price knows exactly when to ramp it up and when to tone it down. And the story doesn't exist in a vacuum, their day to day lives and jobs carry on. Even though Vic is trying to find out about Heliotrope Station, he still has a day job and also a life outside that job that he has to deal with.
In Camp Hell a lot of questions have been answered. But I think there are some things that have only just had the surface scratched. (I hope the alcohol being/not being a psyactive is cleared up at some point). I am now in the unfortunate position of having to wait for book 6. :(
Edited to Add, Afterthought - One of the reasons I think I like this one the most is that in a way for me it feels that Jacob and Victor's relationship is the only normality in an increasingly hostile world. Thinking of the other m/m books I've really enoyed - A Strong and Sudden Thaw, Wicked Gentlemen, The Administration series - it's how these relationships develop, survive and grow stronger, even though it seems that the odds are stacked against them. Camp Hell (especially the scenes between Stefan and Victor) had that dystopian feel. I will definitely be re-reading this series again.