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Spook Squad by Jordan Castillo Price

Spook SquadSpook Squad by Jordan Castillo Price
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  JCP Books LLC
Novel:  107,800 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Everyone enjoys peace and tranquility, and Victor Bayne is no exception. He goes to great lengths to maintain a harmonious home with his partner, Jacob. Although the cannery is huge, it’s grown difficult to avoid the elephant in the room…the elephant with the letters FPMP scrawled on its hide.

Once Jacob surrendered his PsyCop badge, he infiltrated the Federal Psychic Monitoring Program. In his typical restrained fashion, he hasn’t been sharing much about what he actually does behind its vigilantly guarded doors. And true to form, Vic hasn’t asked. In fact, he would prefer not to think about the FPMP at all, since he’s owed Director Dreyfuss an exorcism since their private flight to PsyTrain.

While Vic has successfully avoided FPMP entanglement for several months, now his debt has finally come due.

 Excerpt

I have liked the series though Vic’s attitude is starting to grate.  This is the seventh book in the series.  There was quite a wait for this one.  I’m lucky I waited until later to start the series so I didn’t have to wait so long.

I must admit to big disappointment with this book.  The plot is slow.  It takes a while to really get into the book.  Jacob isn’t in the book very much and when he is it is fairly superficial.  There is one scene near the end that Jacob is important but not much else.  There are glimpses of Crash, who the author has said will be getting his own book.  Lisa is bigger in this story but even her character is shallow.  I had a feeling that this book was more about bridging Vic’s old and new lives.

I did enjoy the mystery and story.  The ending really is much better and fun.  The writing is excellent.  I have always enjoyed the author’s use of description.  It is different from many other books I have read.  This difference makes for a much more realistic and interesting read.  The characters, for this book, aren’t as well rounded.  They appear much more shallow and unreadable.  They tend to read flat.  The relationship between Lisa and “?” moves really fast.  Vic seems to not struggle much with the relationship at all.  This doesn’t seem very realistic considering who this man is to Vic.  I seem to remember Vic trying to stay clean but he appears still very much the addict in this book.  It even drives some of his actions.

Overall, this read just isn’t up to this author’s usual standards.  It was still good just not as good as I thought it would be.  Between the lack in the characters and the slow plot development the read really dragged for me.  I really hope to see the next book be more typical of this author’s writing.

rose-3

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Magic Mansion by Jordan Castillo Price

Magic Mansion by PriceMagic Mansion by Jordan Castillo Price
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher: JCP Books LLC
Novel:  117,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  4
 

Professor Topaz is tired of fending off advice that he should retire in Vegas where magicians his age have an easier time finding work.

Ricardo Hart’s career has sunk so low, he’s resorted to shaking his moneymaker at bachelorette parties.

But there’s a casting call for a new reality show called Magic Mansion that could change everything for these two gay stage magicians, one recovering from the loss of his partner, the other awe-struck by the presence of his idol. Each is poised for a critical second chance: at fame, and at love.

Who will win? Step into the Mansion, and find out….

Excerpt

This story was originally written as a serial for the author’s newsletter.  It reads a little that way but overall it’s like most books in the change of chapters.  I am always amazed by some author’s ability to take prompts and turn out a story week by week with little or no solid structure for the story.  These authors that amaze me manage to turn out a story that makes sense, isn’t all choppy and is really an entertaining/interesting read.  Jordan Castillo Price managed that with this story.

John “Professor” Topaz is a fascinating character.  He is an older man in his 60’s.  He has been through quite a bit in his life starting with his mother telling the world she was his aunt.  He has had tragedy with losing his life partner to a horrible traffic accident.  You feel for the man fairly quickly.  John is a bit of a straight-laced man but very passionate about his craft.

Ricardo “the Magnificent” Hart is a more colorful character.  He is out and proud.  Ricardo is almost the total opposite of John in outward appearances.   Both men are both True Magic welders.  They have a heart for their magic.

The concept of the story is wonderful.  It really fits with today’s world of reality shows.  The set up of the story fits perfectly with the story being serialized.  It also makes the book version of the story feel more like it is being told in the context of a reality show.  The setting made sense to me.  A sense of magic even added to how the show was filmed.

The story was really good in the set up and the telling.  The romance didn’t strike me as being as good.  It felt a little shallow.  I just didn’t see how the two could start saying I love you with very little knowledge of each other.

In the overall I loved the writing and the concept of the story.  The characters were entertaining and engaging.  I was engaged by the characters and story.  I read until late and was anticipating what would happen in the next chapter.  I was a little disappointed walking away from the story.  There seemed like there was a “wow” factor missing to make this amazing.  Still all in all it was a story I couldn’t put down until I finished.

rose-4