GhosTV (Psycop 6) by Jordan Castillo Price

Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Title: GhosTV (Psycop 6)
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Genre: Paranormal, crime
URL: JCP Books
Price: US $6.69
Other Information/warnings: Violence, explicit sexual content, horror
Summary [from the publisher]:

For the past dozen years, Victor Bayne has solved numerous murders by interrogating witnesses only he can see—dead witnesses. But when his best friend Lisa goes missing from the sunny California campus of PsyTrain, the last thing he wants to find there is her spirit.

Disappearing without a trace in a school full of psychics? That’s some trick. But somehow both Lisa and her roommate have vanished into thin air. A group of fanatics called Five Faith has been sniffing around, and Lisa’s email is compromised.

Time is running out, and with no ghosts to cross-examine, Vic can’t afford to turn down any offers of help. An old enemy can provide an innovative way to track Vic’s missing friend, and he enters into an uneasy alliance—even though its ultimate cost will ensnare him in a debt he may never manage to settle.

My review: It’s been way too long since the last major instalment in this compelling and wildly popular series, and Ms Price delivers a satisfyingly long and complicated novel which, as is typical, sets up more questions than it answers. Victor is still a lovable klutz – he’s more Monsieur Hulot than Dirty Harry – and still desperately in lust and love with the ubersexy Jacob Marks. Fortunately, Jacob feels the same way about Victor, no matter how many people try to make Victor feel he might not be a good match physically for his totally cut and rugged lover. Victor’s insecurities over this are funny and cute, and something I think many people in a relationship will relate to.

Other favourite, though lesser, characters, get less screen time. Crash makes a reappearance of course, and manages to be less annoying than usual. We don’t see Jacob’s partner, Caroline, or Lisa for far too long. Bob Zigler doesn’t appear at all, except in Victor’s memory. Instead, we get a whole host of new and whacky people to enjoy, all staff or students at the Psytrain Institute, from where Lisa has disappeared, as has another student. Mixing it all up and adding a sinister edge is the secretive and appallingly powerful FPMP director, Constantine Dreyfuss from the previous book, Camp Hell – and the GhosTV, from Book 2, Criss Cross. All these elements, together with astral travelling and Victor’s developing new and unsuspected abilities, makes for a complicated and at times, pretty scary story.

Jordan Castillo Price is of course, probably the finest storyteller in the genre, and there’s nothing you can teach this lady about writing. I was a little disappointed to spot at least three quite significant line editing errors, but only because her self-published books are usually incredibly clean, and three in a book over 111,000 words are probably not even worth mentioning. I wasn’t in a mood for sex scenes, so I skipped all but the last in the book (which comes rather earlier than the end) because it showed a fascinating side to Jacob – this is how you do it, if you’re skilful. You make the erotica add to the story substantially, rather than paste it in because it’s expected.

This series just gets better and better. Victor is more neurotic and fascinating, Jacob more mysterious (and there’s a cliff hanger tied to him which I did not see coming), and the other characters develop in utterly unsuspected ways, especially the slimy but oddly compelling Con Dreyfuss. I could have done with more Lisa, because I adore her, but it’s clear her story is a long way from over. In other words, Ms Price left me hungry for more, even while delivering a hearty and filling emotional meal in this book. Roll on PsyCop 7!