Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary by Jordan Castillo Price
Series: Channeling Morpheus, Books #1-5
Source: Review by Request
Copy Provided by the Author
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Michael is a waif in eyeliner who’s determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth. Wild Bill’s got the hots for Michael, and will stop at nothing to go home with him.
Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the Interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America’s Heartland.
Ebook box set contains the following novelettes: Payback, Vertigo, Manikin, Tainted, Rebirth.
“You’d almost make a good vamp-hunting wingman, the way you wear your heart on your sleeve. Pain, longing, loneliness… especially loneliness. Vamps feed off that just as much as the blood. We can see it shining in the darkness. It calls to us. You’re like one of those backyard bug zappers. Irresistible.”
This was a phenomenal set of stories – completely addictive – the kind of narrative you want to binge read and then read again because you’re having so much fun. My personal experience with this box set was made twice as amazing because I had the opportunity to experience it in audio..
Some Thoughts Specifically on the Audio Book:
I’d like to thank Jordan Castillo Price for sending over an audio-book of this box set and completely shattering my lackluster experience with the medium.
I admit that I haven’t indulged in a whole lot of Audio-books – There are several reasons for that:
1. I read ridiculously fast, faster than a narrator, and I have trouble immersing myself audio.
2. I prefer to use my own imagination when it comes to character voices.
3. Sometimes a narrator winds up killing a book for me…
Since I review books based on the story, and not on an audio-book narrator, I generally stick to good ol’ fashioned print…
I had heard tales of the glorious narrator, Gomez Pugh, whom Jordan Castillo Price uses to narrate both this series and the Psycop books. I stand before you today to tell you that rumors of Gomez Pugh’s talent were not exaggerated. He has perfect pacing and I really enjoyed his characterizations. Everyone had a unique cadence, the details of which sucked you into the story completely – It was like having this sexy, bloody, Urban Fantasy world injected right into your brain.
If you’re like me, and you haven’t had the best luck with audio books. Or, if you’re looking for the perfect title to pop your Audio cherry – wait no more. This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
Goth Clubs, and Vampires, and Three-Ways! OH MY!
Mallet? Check. Wooden stake – hickory, of course? Check. Crucifix? Well, yeah. Like five of those. Rohypnol? Check. Holy water? Check. Eyeliner? Check.
Yeah, eyeliner. It looks good on me. Scary Mary used to say that…
You can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Michael – he’s just a goth kid looking to avenge the death of his best friend, but nothing seems to be working out the way he imagined it.
Somehow all his carefully laid plans go awry and he’s wrapped up in the middle of an impossibly hot three-way with a vampire and a complete stranger.
This is the introduction to Channeling Morpheus.
We meet Michael, who had the sole POV of this dark and sexy tale.
We learn about Scary Mary and why Michael decided to take up Vampire hunting.
And most importantly, we meet Wild Bill…
This book was ridiculously, unapologetically HOT and sets the dark tone which carries throughout the series.
Hello flip POV!
He was vamp-heroin and he wanted to know f he tasted good. Unbelievable. “Look, you’re great eye candy and all, but I can tell you’d be way too high-maintenance for someone like me. Besides, you’ve got that pointy hobby of yours. And I’ve got my special diet – humanitarianism.”
The first story in the Channeling Morpheus series was told first person from Michael’s POV. He’s a twenty-one year old goth kid turned ammeter vampire hunter. His best friend was killed by a group of vampires, and Michael set out to avenge her death. In the process of tracking down one of her killers, Ambrose Grey, Michael found himself entangled in someone else’s vendetta.
Wild Bill was a twitchy, aggressively sexual fellow who wound up saving Michael’s life that night. at the end of book one, Michael was left at a bus station, coming down from the rohypnol, with Wild Bill on the brain.
Imagine my surprise when I started this story to discover that Wild Bill held the sole POV. What an incredibly fascinating character. Turns out, Ambrose Grey was the Vampire who turned Wild Bill into a bloodsucker. He’s been hunting down Grey with singular focus and Michael just so happened to wander into the scene.
Michael… Who Wild Bill can’t stop thinking about.
Michael… Vampire heroin.
Michael… Who managed to track down Wild Bill and follow him into a feeding frenzy at a park in Minnesota.
The first thing Wild Bill has to do is get Michael away from the pack of hungry bloodsuckers who hunt willing prey in the park. The second thing he has to do is get the fuck away from this goth kid before he becomes completely attached…
Unfortunately, Michael is a temptation impossible to resist.
Luring Wild Bill with his body and blood…
Seems Michael set out to seduce Wild Bill, and when the Vampire’s control shatters, we’re treated to a gloriously sexy episode set in the dark woods…
The first book in this series was wonderfully hot.
This book was on fucking fire.
Wild Bill’s deliciously deviant POV was an absolute pleasure – he’s a perfect compliment to Michael.
A little bit darker & a lot more bloody…
“I’m going to keep hunting bad vampires.”
He snorted. “And here I thought you’d rather be a dentist.”
Fine. Mock. Better than him shutting down and going all quiet, like he’d been in the kitchen. “You can do it with me.”
“My guidance counselor told me that my serial killer skills were totally lacking…”
Things are heating up in this series. We were back to Michael’s POV with this book and everyone’s favorite goth kid amateur vampire hunter is in a tight spot.
When we open with this book, Michael is in the process of taking down a vampire named Marushka… Sort of… More like, she’s divesting him of every inch of body hair with a straight-razor and he’s not-so-patiently waiting for the rohypnol to kick in.
Naked, shivering, bald-assed, and chained to a bathtub with an unconscious vampire at his side.
That’s how Wild Bill finds Michael for the first time since Minnesota when he was drugged by the little fucker and left inside a park bathroom to wait out the daylight.
Seems Wild Bill is always getting Michael out of tricky situations, even if the vampire pretends to exist in a world of complete nonchalance.
Marushka’s, um… Dollhouse… was a particularly twisted scene… JCP has a gift for spinning gorgeous macabre details which get the reader absorbed into the story. I think I felt about as chilled as Michael when it finally hit home exactly how close he had come to being a permanent addition in her gory masterpiece.
Seems pretty obvious that Michael is going to get himself killed sooner rather than later if he continues hunting vampires with his clumsy execution. It also seems pretty obvious that Michael and Wild Bill should pair up to take down the vampires that go on murder sprees.
Well, it seems obvious to the reader, anyway…
And maybe even to Michael…
But Wild Bill won’t join up without a fight.
Wild Bill is still trying to convince himself that he’s only interested in Michael’s body – his suddenly smooth and hairless body… The sex is increasing in intensity between the two, and it’s obvious that Wild Bill is completely infatuated with Michael…
Once again, it seems obvious to the reader, anyway…
Wild Bill would never admit such a thing…
And Michael is awestruck and a little baffled by the attention…
There was a great deal more humor in this episode of the series – I laughed out loud several times. That’s not to say that the previous episodes were devoid of humor, they weren’t. I think the dark and twisted scene at Marushka’s simply brought the playfulness into sharp relief.
We delve into the science of vampirism in this episode of Channeling Morpheus…
…but we also got a hefty dose of the warm fuzzies…
Michael. Deadly Michael.
I’d been combing through my vocabulary for a word that meant lust-smacked. And skinless. And fucked up, and scared, and invincible. But I’d come up empty-handed.
All I could say was, “I love you, you know.” Because that was about as close as I could come with words.
This episode was told from Wild Bill’s POV, and I’m loving his character more with each book.
It’s been several weeks since we left off with Michael and Wild Bill in Manikin. They’ve been traveling about the country in their van and fucking like bunnies…
Michael’s body is a canvas of bruises and scabbed-over cuts where Wild Bill slices into his skin to feed. He’s gotten thinner, his ribs are on show like a rock star heroin junkie… And that’s with Wild Bill being careful with him.
It’s a constant struggle for Wild bill to keep his control in check around Michael, and he’s increasingly worried about his health, safety, and his humanity. It’s no secret that Wild Bill resents being a vampire, and he doesn’t want the same for Michael.
How can you prevent what you don’t understand?
What exactly causes vampirism?
What transmits it, what exactly triggers the change?
Michael finds a researcher who has been studying vampires for more than half a century, and our boys go to pay him a little visit.
The man has answers, but not the ones Michael and Wild Bill were hoping for…
Lot’s of sex and angst in this installment, all of it given a rough edge by Bill’s gritty POV.
Home is where the heart is…
Just, ya know, don’t let your boyfriend drive a stake through it…
Listening to Wild Bill talk was like peeling an onion. Layer after layer of truth, wrapped in sarcasm, wrapped in truth, covered with a wry twist of his lips and a flippant delivery.
Michael goes home to check in with his family for the first time since he set out to avenge Scary Mary’s death.
He’s been on the road,
Killed some Vampires,
Hooked up with Wild Bill,
and became an Almost-Vampire…
Not that he can share much of that information with his judgy, assholish family. To them, he returns as the filthy gay goth kid with no future prospects…
Seriously, around the time Michael’s sister came into the picture I was all:
The horrible homecoming underscored the tenderness that Michael and Bill have cultivated between them. They’re still hot and heavy (and oh so dirty) when the situation calls for it, but there’s so much love in the air now.
There’s about a million reasons why a romance between a Vampire and a Vampire Hunter shouldn’t work out… But Michael and Bill make it work for them. It becomes clear that Michael won’t be returning to his old life, but staying on the road isn’t the most healthy lifestyle for them either.
Michael finds a Vampire Commune, and instead of putting on his murder pants for once, he’s hoping that he and Bill can find a safe place to settle. A family of their choosing…
An awful lot went down in this story and almost all of it was spoilery…
But guess what? Before the end of this book, we learn Wild Bill’s real name!
These books just flew by, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
Part 1: Payback
I picked up my bag, or satchel, or whatever you want to call it, and checked it again—even though I knew everything was still there. It had to be, because it’d been pressed against my foot, and if anyone had been rifling through it, I would have felt them doing it. Mallet? Check. Wooden stake—hickory, of course? Check. Crucifix? Well, yeah. Like five of those. Rohypnol? Check. Holy water? Check. Eyeliner? Check.
Yeah, eyeliner. It looks good on me. Scary Mary used to say that. She’d sworn up and down that I was one of those guys who could pull it off.
My hand sank deep into the bag and brushed against the eyeliner. Or maybe it was a pen. I inched my fingers down the length of it and felt the tip. Damn. It was a pen. Maybe I could use it for touchup anyway if I sweated off all the eyeliner.
Or else I’d have to find the vampire and lure him out of the club before it came to that.
“Got a light?”
I jumped. I wasn’t scared, though. Just startled. It was way too early for vampires, barely an hour past sunset. But I hadn’t realized there was anyone standing practically on top of me while I was digging through my bag. Or whatever you want to call it.
“I don’t….” He was so hot he was incandescent. “I don’t smoke.”
The guy who’d wanted the light was smiling. Still standing practically on top of me, too. Staring me right in the eye.
You’d think that would be all. He asked for a light. I didn’t have one. And then he would move on. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe he’d just been looking for an excuse to talk.
He slid himself onto the barstool beside mine. I did my best to look nonchalant. He was…amazing. Tall and lean, with ripped up jeans and spiked blond hair, earrings and a snake tattoo on his neck and chipped black nail polish. And he wanted to talk to me.
Couldn’t I have run into him any other night? Like, a night that I didn’t already have a date with a vampire?
“Got a name, Mister Lung Association?” he asked me.
“Michael, Michael, Motorcycle.” He tucked his cigarette behind his ear and shook my hand. Well, more like he jammed his hand toward me, and I either had to shake it or be knocked off the barstool. “Wild Bill.”
A hot guy who had the balls to call himself Wild Bill, straightfaced no less, was hitting on me in a mostly-empty bar. My mind reeled. I hadn’t been putting on my approachable vibe. I saved that for the vampires. I’d been going through my bag, minding my own business. And here he was, with a cigarette tucked behind his ear, chatting me up.
“Is your name really Bill?” I asked.
“Is yours really Michael?”
I rolled my eyes. He smiled wider, a weird, tight-lipped grin, and planted his elbow on the sticky bar top. “What’s with the purse?”
“It’s not a…look, I’m meeting somebody, okay? Don’t you have anyone else to bother?”
He shrugged and half-turned in his seat to spare a glance for the rest of the place. It’d be a cool enough club once it started to fill up, but right now there was only a scattering of people in it. A tight clique of girls in thick eyeliner and hair extensions dominated a pair of pushed-together tables beside the dance floor. A couple swayed together on the glowing tiles. They were so androgynous you could only tell the boy from the girl by the flat planes of his ass. Fog that smelled like cotton candy wafted around their platform boots. And the remainder of the early crowd hugged the perimeter of the bar, backs to the wall, drinking warily.
I pretty much looked like everyone else there. Black clothes and silver studs. Alone and staring. Except that I’d been staring into my bag instead of cruising.
“I’ll keep you company, then,” Bill offered. “Until she…or he…shows up.”
“He,” I said.
Wild Bill’s smile curled the corner of his lips.
Damn. If only there were some way, any way at all, I could ditch the vampire and take my chances with Wild Bill. But it’d taken me two whole years to track this vampire down and figure out where he’d been hunting. Two years’ worth of newspaper clippings, of Coroners’ reports photocopied by bribable janitors, of buried articles printed out from the Internet, accessed through the library’s computers, that I’d stared at until their letters slipped out of focus when my body forced me to rest my eyes.
Maybe Wild Bill would take a rain check. But I kind of doubted it. Besides, after I left a smoking corpse in my wake, I’d have to get out of town. Fast.
About the Author:
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal sci-fi thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to rural small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” 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 new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.