Camp Hell by Jordan Castillo Price
Series: PsyCop #5
Source: Personal Library
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Victor Bayne honed his dubious psychic skills at one of the first psych training facilities in the country, Heliotrope Station, otherwise known as Camp Hell to the psychics who’ve been guests behind its razorwire fence.
Vic discovered that none of the people he remembers from Camp Hell can be found online, and there’s no mention of Heliotrope Station itself, either. Someone’s gone through a lot of trouble to bury the past. But who?
I’m officially adding PsyCop to my ‘Favorite Series’ shelf!
This is fucking brilliant storytelling.
“You want to catch up with some of your old friends from Heliotrope Station? I can find out where they are.”
“The ones who are still alive.”
“Or not. That’s never stopped you from talking to anyone. Has it?”
If I didn’t have to pause and write reviews of each book, I would’ve binge read this entire series beginning to end in one sitting. Fiction this outstanding is worth ignoring reality for a few days…
In fact, I see many happy re-reads in my future!
The love was deeper,
The ghosts were scarier,
The suspense was amazing,
The humor was awesome as always,
I was constantly wondering who was selling Vic out to the Feds…
I started to feel some measure of Vic’s paranoia as the story progressed.
I was on the edge of my seat the entire time!
I had to figure out how deep the FPMP had their hooks in me. And how to live with it, or tear myself free, once and for all.
So – Vic is resorting to gathering information from dubious sources. We’ve got a ‘keep your enemies close’ situation happening with an old friend and several new faces…
In the previous book of the series, Secrets, Vic discovered that he couldn’t locate information on any of the people he knew from Camp Hell. With the help of his partner, Vic manages to track down an old friend – Stefan Russel, a high-level empath who was training at the same time as Vic. The two of them were close – in a hot and heavy while the orderlies aren’t around kind of way. After Vic managed to “graduate” from Camp Hell, he never saw or heard from Stefan again.
Zig’s sources discovered that Vic’s ex had changed his name and started up a private practice using his empath skills for counseling and hypnosis… As in hypnotic memory regression… Their reunion gives Vic the convenient opportunity to re-live the memories he’d buried from his dark days at Camp Hell…
The flashbacks to Vic’s time at Heliotrope Station were wonderfully incorporated into the story. I won’t get too spoilery on you, but we had the opportunity to learn why Vic is so secretive when it comes to providing details about his talent.
Oh it was glorious!
Vic’s backstory was so satisfying and it elevated the rest of the book because the reader was given a much better understanding of his motives.
Understanding Vic’s past made his relationship with Jacob so much more remarkable…
“You coming to bed, or do you want me to leave you here?”
It was a great recliner, but I’m more of a side-sleeper. And besides, my back feels naked without Jacob curled against it.
Jacob was totally brilliant in this story – I seem to fall for this character a little more with each book. He’s fucking amazing. Jacob’s giddy excitement about everything paranormal is infectious and adorable. His devotion to Victor was on full display – He’s willing to face off against past lovers, mysterious government agencies, and deadly vengeful ghosts… Plus the man is sex on legs! *fans self* the sexytimes in this book were delicious!
Ok, so I have a crush on Jacob, but not because of him as an individual… It’s the way that Jacob interacts with Victor that makes him so amazing to read.
Vic has spent the majority of his life as a complete outsider – they thought he was crazy, then they discovered he was a medium and turned him into a lab rat. When he finally made it out into the real world, he was still in survival mode – he never really opened himself to the idea of living until he met Jacob…
Vic has finally found a safe place with this relationship. Jacob didn’t question Vic’s sanity when he laid out all his fears about his disappearing history, Camp Hell, and the faceless government organization following him around. In the past, Vic might have held onto all of that paranoia for fear of being institutionalized, but Jacob didn’t hesitate for even a second.
I love watching Jacob and Vic work together!
They team up to face the FPMP and even find the time to track down a deadly spirit hanging out at a local hospital… Vic hones his skills in this story with the help of old friends and rediscovered memories…
There are HUGE surprises in store for the reader with this one, and I’m dying to give you spoilers – but I won’t because I love you and I want you to discover all the awesomeness for yourself.
“So. You’re here to gloat over how you’ll nail me with your civil suit.” Roger Burke nailed me with the world’s smuggest grin, and when I didn’t accommodate him by being lured into some sort of argument, he added, “I’d just like to see you try.”
My civil suit. I checked that phrase against the known phrases in my admittedly limited catalog of things-I-knew-about, and came up blank. I was coasting on the sweet spot of my Auracel and I didn’t feel the immediate need to tell Burke that I had no idea what he was talking about, so I stared at him instead.
He’d been grinning at me. His smile faltered. “Don’t give me that look.”
I attempted to look even more like I currently did.
“Go ahead and sue me. I’ve got less than five thousand dollars in the bank. And believe me, I’ve got my countersuit all planned out. You could’ve given me a stroke by shooting me up in the neck. I’m prepared to testify that a long-time drug user like you would know that.”
It had never even occurred to me to sue him. I pressed the heel of my hand into my right eye. It felt great, and then it hurt, and then I saw a flash of pretty colors. “Would you shut up for half a second?”
“Think you’d win over a jury? Maybe they’d sympathize with you on the drug angle if you did your ‘boo-hoo, I’m a medium’ routine. But once my attorneys parade in that big, smug, steroid-pumped gorilla you play house with….”
“I was planning on talking about a way we could avoid the courtroom, but keep running your mouth, and my next phone call is my lawyer.”
Burke crossed his arms over his chest as far as his handcuffs would allow, and he glared. He had a hell of a glare. I’d never seen him use it during the time he’d been my partner at the Fifth Precinct. He’d spent over a month projecting a wholesome, helpful, non-threatening persona as the Stiff half of our PsyCop team, and I’d been totally sold on his good-cop act.
Now that I knew him for what he was, I had no idea how I ever could have seen him as harmless. His eyes, which once seemed unguarded and approachable—at least, for a homicide investigator—now looked so cold and calculating that I wondered why I’d ever thought it was safe to get into a car with him, let alone accept a drink he’d bought without my surveillance.
He sat across the plastic table from me in the visiting room, with his pale, reptilian eyes trained on me so hard that I felt like I needed to go take a shower under a water cannon to wash off the evil. There was a repeater in the corner, the ghost of a former inmate who’d died pounding on the two-way mirror, who continued to slam his fists into the glass long into the afterlife. I’d been spooked by him when I first came into the room and discovered I hadn’t taken enough Auracel to block him. Now I found his presence almost comforting. It meant I wasn’t alone with Roger Burke.
I controlled my revulsion toward him enough to plant my elbows on the table and lean forward. I’d been hoping to buy his information with Marlboros, but the guards wouldn’t let me bring cigarettes into the visiting area. His hissy fit had given me an idea, though. “Here’s the deal. I promise not to sue you, if you tell me what you know about Camp Hell.”
I did my best not to look too full of myself, but I had to admit: a promise to refrain from any future lawsuits seemed a lot more valuable than a few packs of smokes.
Roger eased back into his chair. I wouldn’t say he looked exactly comfortable, but he was interested enough to stay awhile, if only to taunt me about things that he knew, and I didn’t. It was a start.
“I assume that you’re not talking about the new Heliotrope Station. You want to know about the real deal. Where you trained.”
In name only, Heliotrope Station lived on. It was now a series of night-school classes they held over at the Junior College. None of it was even remotely like the original Camp Hell—not the administration, not the staff, not the location. Hell, not even the textbooks. Still, even the old name made me start to sweat, and swallow convulsively.
Roger’s smug grin was back. “You’d need to talk to me ‘til my release date to find out everything I know about Camp Hell. And given that they haven’t even set my sentence, who knows when that’ll be?”
Posturing. That was good. It meant that he wanted to seem like he had something valuable to dangle over my head. Unfortunately, I already knew that he did. Lisa’s si-no talent had told me that Roger could not only tell us why stories about Camp Hell had never made it to the Internet, but who’d managed to bury them.
“I’ll be checking out what you say to make sure it’s true,” I warned him. “I smell bullshit, and I’ll see you in court.”
Roger smiled. There was some genuine pleasure in that smile, along with all the malice. My creeped-out meter ratcheted up to eleven. “April eighteenth,” he said. “It’s a mild fifty-five degrees outside. The subway tunnels are being drained from a freakish flood incident that occurred when an old access tunnel collapsed and the Chicago River poured in. And twenty-three-year-old Victor Bayne was transferred from the Cook County Mental Health Center to Heliotrope Station at approximately fourteen hundred hours. In a straightjacket.”
My right eye throbbed. I jammed my thumb into the corner of it at the bridge of my nose, and reminded myself to breathe. “Big deal.”
“Could anyone else have told you that story? Your co-workers? Your lover?”
He said the word lover like it was something rotten he’d found stuck between his teeth. “You know things about me,” I said. I think my voice sounded normal. Maybe. “I’d be surprised if you didn’t, since you and Doctor Chance schemed to kidnap me for, what, a year? Maybe two? That doesn’t mean you know Camp Hell.”
About the Author:
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.
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 new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.
With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again.