I spent two days zigzagging throughout the Midwest, including spending some time in the stinkiest city in the US–Terra Haute, IN–ended up in Vegas, and never even left the comfort of my own home. I spent those two days buried deeply in the ten short stories/novelettes that comprise Jordan Castillo Price’s Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion series.
The paranormal sub-genre (vampires/werewolves/shapeshifters) has been done to death over the course of the past several years, which is why it took me so long to get around to reading this series. I’ve been a long time fan of JCP’s PsyCop books. In fact, Victor and Jacob are right at the top of my list of all-time favorite fictional couples, so it wasn’t anything other than my own paranormal burnout that kept me from digging into Michael and Wild Bill’s world. After all, how many permutations of the vampire mythos can there be, really? Bram Stoker introduced Dracula to popular culture over a hundred years ago, and authors have, ever since, been re-creating the mythology and giving it new twists to keep things fresh and expanding on all the metaphors for sex. But even still, there’s only so much that can be made new from an old concept.
Or so I thought.
Jordan Castillo Price has put her definitive stamp on some of the old tropes, keeping some concepts in tact while debunking others, to give Wild Bill and the rest of her vamps an original and uber-erotic spin in the centrifuge, definitively separating them from the herd. There’s no need for metaphors for sex in this series, because the sex is entirely literal and incredibly seductive.
Michael and Wild Bill are two halves of the same whole, in an entirely symbiotic relationship that survives, thrives, and has become a physical and emotional imperative that connects them in spite of the fact that they sometimes practice an open relationship. They are distinct yet entwined by something deeper than love. They’re bonded by blood and a metaphysical link that makes it impossible to think of one without the other. They’re yin/yang and it works perfectly within the circles in which they move.
This is one of those series I can see myself reading over and over again. Why? What makes some books immanently re-readable? For me, it’s something that all my favorite authors do better than others: dialogue. It isn’t enough to simply tell a story. What is essential for me is to “listen” to the characters and the way they speak, the way they relate to each other, the way they interact and react to each other. That’s not to say plot is unimportant; it is. But becoming emotionally invested in what’s happening in the lives of the characters is the ultimate payoff.
And I feel like I hit the jackpot with Michael and Wild Bill.