From the Blurb
Halloween is fun…at least, it’s supposed to be. Costumes, candy, trick-or-treat, even jaded Victor Bayne can get behind those sorts of antics. Too bad this year’s Halloween is a grownup event. Not only must Vic don a suit and endure a disco-obsessed DJ, he has to mingle with friends of Jacob’s he would much rather ignore.
Vic thinks he has the party’s host all figured out–but as he so often realizes, once he looks beneath the surface, things are seldom what they seem.
It’s impossible to read a story from the fabulous m/m Psycop series without wanting to roll around in protagonist Victor Bayne’s charmingly snarky, awkwardly droll first-person voice. The way he sizes up (and summarily dismisses in his head) the colourful people and situations that are always glomphing onto him is one of the strengths of his character and this alternative-universe Chicago. In The Dark, a companion story to the freebie Stroke of Midnight, is set at a party with Vic predictably avoiding all social interaction and single-handedly demolishing the sushi (“It wasn’t the raw fish I was worried about. It was the fear of biting into a surprise hunk of horseradish and having my sinuses drain all over the nearest well- dressed stranger”).
There’s enough exposition about the ghost and psychic-filled Psycop ‘verse for new readers to get a taste of what the longer stories are like (though I wonder how they’d go with decoding Vic’s exorcism terminology), while longstanding fans will be pleased with all the familiar in-world references as well. My only quibble is that In The Dark is a bit light on plot — though Ms Price rightly points out in the afterword that one of the constraints of writing this in-between kind of story is that it can’t affect the main storyline. I wasn’t sure why this short story was broken up into chapters though, especially as there’s no real break in events.
In any case, fans of the series will enjoy this seasonal Psycop outing, filled as it is with laugh-out-loud lines, creepy but never-too-gruesome horror elements, and the Victor/Jacob dynamic that keeps the romantic inside me ever-satisfied.