MtSnow and Dana review Bitter Pill (PsyCop Book #11) by Jordan Castillo-Price (Published by JCP Books, LLC, Released January 20, 2020. 257 pages. Released on audio March 18, 2020. 8 hrs 49 mins length. Narrated by Gomez Pugh)
There’s a new drug on the streets called Kick. The side effects are so brutal, most folks only try it once…unless they’re psychic. Then they do it until it kills them.
Psychic medium Victor Bayne is well acquainted with pharmaceuticals, from the Auracel that blocks his ghosts to the Seconal that offers him a blissful night’s sleep. But he’s managed to steer clear of street drugs…so far.
Jacob Marks has a medicine cabinet filled with every over-the-counter remedy known to man, but none of them are doing much for his mood – and his long, fruitless days of combing through records at The Clinic are taking a heavy toll.
But their lackluster investigation does have one silver lining: a front row seat at The Clinic when the first Kick overdose comes in. And as scary as the drug might be, if it truly does augment psychic ability, the appeal is not lost on Vic.
Because the very first hit never killed anyone.
Where did Kick come from? Why is it so addictive? And why is everyone at The Clinic acting so darn shady? That’s what Vic intends to find out. And if he’s lucky, he can also expose a shadowy figure from Camp Hell.
Unfortunately, the demons of his pill addiction might prove just as deadly as his long-buried history. He thought he’d managed to ditch that pernicious habit. But what if it was only lurking in the shadows, waiting for the best time to rear its ugly head?
PsyCop is an ongoing series filled with supernatural action and delightfully awkward humor – with a steady undercurrent of gay romance. It’s best listened to in order, so if you’re new to the series, start with PsyCop Book 1, Among the Living…and prepare for a hauntingly good listen.
The story – This as usual is another awesome addition to the series. I am so happy it never gets old to see the growth of Vic as an investigator, and I’m glad to see new and old characters showing up.
Vic is his usual self-deprecating self, but to my enjoyment, he is still barely touching the tip of his capabilities, with the honing of his talents and understanding of self coming to the forefront.
This story had so many layers, and whenever a situation or thought comes up where he would automatically want to go to one of his resources, it is validating to see him struggle through the thought process on his own when his go-to person is unavailable.
Vic has so much going on inside his head; memories, experiences, and a common sense factor that he taps into, muddling his way through things that so many would just never be capable of. It’s just so cool.
I appreciate that he doesn’t have a big ego, and seems to be clueless in his strength. His low-key likability (he’d be like ‘huh?’) to his co-workers and friends, and his realization of their individual value is finally starting to cement in his memory bank.
Venturing into yoga, observing paper-folding videos, regular usage of a (gasp) kid’s phone app, binaural audios, air freshener cams (yeah, that’s a thing!!) and learning sleeplessness may actually have its attributes makes things even more interesting.
His struggle with addiction makes this whole case very challenging, and working with Jacob throughout the case, and the way Jacob just goes with the flow and supports him so effortlessly makes this one of my favorite couples.
There were a few tear-jerking moments for me, but I appreciated the closure it enabled for both Vic, and me 🙂
Narration – Okay, so since this author is an autobuy for me in ebook, paperback, AND audio, I really had to sit on my hands for the time it took for the audio to come out. It is just so worth listening to Gomez Pugh and getting his nuances, accents, and tone to help these stories along. I will forever relate Vic and Jacob’s voices in my head to Gomez. Fantastic narration!
Anyway, this is soooo worth adding to your collection in this series. And, with the last few pages, we just know there is going to be another story to look forward to.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
The story – I have been a fan of this series and these characters for a long time now. It’s the eleventh book in the series and the romance and relationship between Victor and Jacob is pretty much a done deal. Yes, they still have to work at it like most couples do, but it has relegated the romance in the story to the back seat. The series now really focuses on the changes to the main characters’ life. It’s the third book since the two began working for the FPMP and left their Psycop jobs behind, but I feel like they are both still feeling their way.
Jacob is kind of on the outs with their boss after accusing her of murder, and Victor is finding that he has to work a little bit harder at investigating in this job. As psycops they had partners, but as FPMP agents they work alone most of the time. In the past, Vic just had to check out the ghosts but let his partner take on most of the investigating, and he acknowledges it in this book as he tries to find out more about a new drug that is killing other psychics. They aren’t the only ones looking into “Kick,” though, and they run into their old partners who are now working together. To try to get this deadly drug off the streets they decide to work together and it was really nice to see them partnering up again. There are some old hurt feelings especially between Jacob and his ex partner but they are able to smooth things over. Part of me wonders if they will try to bring these characters into the FPMP, because it felt very natural for them to work together again.
This book really calls to attention Vic’s own addictions. While he seems to have embraced his “gift” with more confidence now, Victor has a history with drugs that would drown out the ghosts and on top of that a duplicitous ex-partner had kept him drugged during their work together. When they keep running into dead ends, Victor is tempted to find some Kick and use it himself. He knows it’s dangerous but if it can offer him some clarity he is willing to make that sacrifice. And find some he does. It’s a little insurance policy, so he tells himself, until it falls into unsuspecting hands.
There are some real twists and turns in this book. The realization of paranormal forces that somewhat drive the habits of addiction was interesting. Victor and Jacob reconnect with old friends and partners in this book and I think they make some new connections as well. I am interested to see if they do find themselves working with the Psycops again or if this was a one off. One big moment comes at the very end as we find out some secret information about some patients at Camp Hell and one in particular will blow your mind. I definitely can’t wait to see what happens next.
Narration– As always the narration by Gomez Pugh was awesome. The first time I heard him was in this series and he really has become these characters to me. I definitely recommend his narration and this series.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal sci-fi thrillers colored by her time in the Midwest, from inner city Chicago, to various cities across southern Wisconsin. She’s recently settled in a 1910 Cape Cod near Lake Michigan with tons of character and a plethora of bizarre spiders. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” girls with tattoos and boys in eyeliner.
Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her mind-bending trilogy Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.
Website ~ http://www.jordancastilloprice.com