Although I grew up reading an eclectic mix of books, testing and sampling everything on the menu, mysteries and paranormal novels were always the ones to make my juices flow into overdrive. I devoured them manically. That fascination has stuck with me forever.
Within the M/M genre, my cravings for top grade whodunits are satisfied by Josh Lanyon’s outstanding prose. In the paranormal department, there’s a whole solid crew, who regularly feed my habit – Astrid Amara, K.J. Charles, Ginn Hale, Lou Harper, Jordan L. Hawk, and Nicole Kimberling amongst others. However, one author would get my vote, if she ever decided to run for the president of the M/M Paranormal Republic.
This author is Jordan Castillo Price.
JCP is a creative institution. Recognised by a cool three-letter acronym, and preceded by the reputation of her awe-inspiring back catalogue, she is also a gifted artist. I know – whoever said life was fair, was a mean bastard, lying through their teeth. A pox on them. And halitosis.
JCP is best known for her excellent series PsyCop. It is, naturally, precisely my jam, as it fuses paranormal with mystery and suspense. Nevertheless, for the purpose of this post I’ve chosen three other books from JCP’s impressive repertoire. In my view, they perfectly illustrate the scope of the imagination involved in her writing and its first-rate quality. While they could not possibly differ more from each other, they are all five star reads for me. I recommend this diverse mini-selection for readers who are yet to take the plunge into JCP’s works, and fans of PsyCop who have never ventured beyond the world of Vic and Jacob.
I love so much about this standalone novel.
Firstly, this is a long ass book (about 120k), yet I read it within two days. Ironically, the blurb put me off initially. A reality show and magic (as in top hats and rabbits)? Honestly, there aren’t a lot of things less likely to float my boat. But then…. I binged on this book, gobbled it down greedily, foregoing sleep, delaying meal times and other, um, bodily functions. From the first page, it piqued my curiosity and I wasn’t able to ration it down.
Written in an interesting format resembling continuous TV show segments, the quirky setting and a pinch of paranormal make this story very unusual. It’s suspense-packed and quick paced. The sheer amount of research that must have been involved in the writing process would surely succeed in giving me a migraine, if I spared it more than a fleeting thought. Although sex is scarce, this story it’s unbelievably sexy in an emotional sense. In all probability, Magic Mansion is the most romantic book JCP has written to date.
Another astonishing thing is the wide array of side characters appearing in the book. All of whom, may I add, are wonderfully depicted. Paradoxically, it was a one-man show for me.
Behold Professor Topaz.
I can hardly remember a character ever making such a tremendous impression on me by simply being sincere, charismatic, and intense. John, a mature sixty-plus character, possessing a distinct presence, integrity, class, and stark sex appeal, could be considered a rarity in the M/M romances, which predominantly favour lower age brackets.
This book, consisting of five novellas, is something else entirely. I am a hopeless fancier of the vampire theme, but I hadn’t expected to be surprised by it anymore. It’s been done (to death) and revived so many times that undead doesn’t even begin to describe it. Yet, voila! This is a fresh take on vamps. Dark, raw, seductive, filthy and dripping with sarcasm. Seemingly jaded, cynical and disillusioned, Michael and Wild Bill are, in essence, bloody (wink) romantic and, errr, humanitarian.
The structure of those stories can only be described as one smooth operation. Seamless cohesion is the key. Whether there is an internal monologue, dialogue or a descriptive passage setting the scene, or any combination of the three – everything blends fluidly, not allowing the reader to notice the change and giving them one task only – to enjoy the ride.
Those stories are scorching hot. Sex is an important part of the dynamic between Mikey and Wild Bill; this is how they naturally react to each other. It also demonstrates the strength of the irresistible pull existing between them, the connection that stretches way beyond the physical. I loved the clever way, in which the powerfully erotic vibe doesn’t end at sex. It saturates everything, including what’s withheld and left to the imagination.
Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary was made into a fervent audiobook, narrated by the amazing Gomez Pugh. I declared it my audiobook of 2015. A word of advice – do not listen around other humans. In particular, if they’re in the process of consuming food. Unless you’ve got the Heimlich Manoeuvre down to a tee.
This whimsical short novel, set in alternate reality, is an intriguing introduction – or a teaser in fact, to a Mnevermind trilogy. Its title immediately diverts my thoughts to Salvador Dali’s iconic melting clocks painting. It makes me marvel at how in tune substantially this book is with the concept of surrealism. The fascination with distortion, slight bleakness, humour laced with sarcasm, the emphasis on the subconscious and nonrational, incongruous juxtapositions – it all fits.
I immensely enjoyed two elements of the story – the inventiveness of the plot and the unpredictability of it. Anyway, how predictable can things be when one strolls around inside the erratic dreamlike realm of fake memories, trying to determine reality versus imagination?
I loved the focus on the way Daniel’s poignant relationship with his father works, a blend of love and guilt. While the two main characters, Daniel and Elijah, are both imperfect, flawed, and somewhat awkward (and again, quite non-standard for M/M), the very set up for the romance is just as unexpected and bizarre, as it is fascinating.
To my mind, there are three main aspects prevalent in JCP’s writing, which are unique to her style:
J – for jargon, meant as the overall combination of the precise, well-turned, and suave language, infused with irony and humour, and its light, smooth delivery. JCP’s books flow, unfold and ripple away like a roll of quality SILK.
C – for character creation. With all the layers, depth and nuances to JCP’s characters, we can safely say we are in for a major ONION peeling extravaganza. Shredding one veneer at a time, the individual essence of each character is revealed slowly and tantalisingly, keeping the reader coming back for more.
P – for plot line. The only constant in JCP’s stories is an element of surprise. What you should most definitely expect are twists, turns, more twists and then, BANG! A satisfying finale slaps you in the face in the manner of a wet fish.
In other words, it appears as plain as day, that JCP stands for Silk, Onions, and Banging (the latter in more ways than one). Hence, the logical conclusion I have arrived to after my rational deliberations is as follows:
JCP is simply one talented SOB.
JCP is very kindly giving away an AUDIOBOOK of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary to a lucky reader. To be in with a chance of winning, simply comment below, sharing your thoughts on the article, the title of your favourite JCP book or another paranormal recommendation.
I will select the winner in a random drawing on 15th of March.