Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review: Psycho (and Psychic) Games

I've already reviewed Amie Gibbons' Psychic Undercover (with the Undead), a law enforcement UF novel that really makes Laurell K. Hamilton look like an amateur (okay, LKH does guns better, but since LKH has even managed to make Edward a useless character, I'm not feeling charitable).

And now, we have Psycho (and Psychic) Games (The SDF Paranormal Mysteries Book 2)

Psycho (and Psychic) Games is ... 

Well, let's just say this is what happens when southerners make a Hannibal Lecter.

And they thought catching the serial killer was difficult...

Psychic Ariana Ryder just completed her probationary year and is now a full agent in the FBI's Special Division Force, a semi-secret branch that investigates paranormal crimes. She's got a great, if strict and strictly yummy, boss, a vampire for a boyfriend, and yeah, that has its issues and politics, but overall, life's lookin' pretty good.

The director, in a bid to score political points, puts Ariana on interrogating famous serial killer JB Truck, aka The Puzzle Master. Truck's been in prison two years and the authorities still can't figure out who all his victims were or where his vast resources came from.

Ariana's mission is simple, get visions off the psycho until they get the information they need.

But nothing's ever simple when there's magic afoot. The vampire queen's gunning for Ariana, there's a mysterious new shifter in town who needs a psychic's help (and is way too flirty considerin' she's a lady with a boyfriend), and Truck's got a few tricks of his own.

And he didn't end up in Nashville by chance.

Frankly, this book already has a very nice summation of the novel.
"This isn't Silence of the Lambs, it's freaking Nightmare on Elm Street."
I think this sums it up nicely.

I would say that this is as good as the first novel, though there are some minor issues. You don't "sick people" on others. There were one or two moments where I was concerned we were going to enter into squicky Anita Blake BS. Don't worry: while the sex did get heavier into detail, it's still better (and easier to skip) than the Hamilton books. In fact, it's more like how I with Hamilton would write her books. Maybe I could get back into them.

But as I said, this was is just as good as Gibbons' first novel in the series. It has elements of fantasy microbiology (which was my favorite parts of Grimm, and I would like to see more of that in fantasy in the genre in general).

And Gibbons' does some cute bits of business with the psychopath du jour. There was a good deal of 3D chess going on that reminded me of the Joker. And then he turns into Deadpool (from before he became a popular character)

This one even solved a lot of my problems with the first one. Because this was the book where our heroine is a full agent, and it was time for her to just grow the hell up.

And then she ends by setting up book three.

I've only got one noticeable problem with the series in general so far and this individual book in particular.

With the book, it's a bit unbalanced. About 75% deals with the serial killer. Then we have a break and we switch tracks, where it turns into a relatively good variation on an Anita Blake novel (a bit of soap opera, a touch of melodrama, and let's talk about feelings -- though that was in service of actually FURTHERING THE PLOT, so it gets a pass).

With the series. I don't have a really good sense of place. This is something that is occasionally a problem with even Jim Butcher. I don't get a sense that this is Nashville. I like to get an idea of where the heck I am. But aside from some of the accents, this could be almost any city and state in the union.

To be perfectly honest, this is still a 5/5. The problems in the book are easily overlooked and forgiven. If I were being more nitpicky, I'd penalize the overall score. But I'm not. And the book was still enjoyable.

So if you're interested into a nice mystery, something that harkens back to the days before Anita Blake before it became Penthouse letters, you're going to want to read this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please, by all means, leave a message below. I welcome any and all comments. However, language that could not make it to network television will result in your comment being deleted. I don';t like saying it, but prior events have shown me that I need to. Thanks.