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Who killed Matt Bendel? The police suspect his partner, Elliott Conklin, the assistant chair of the psychology department at Santa Monica College. Elliott was found with the body, covered in blood – and he doesn’t have an alibi. Elliott wants Pete Ferguson to help clear his name. But Pete doesn’t have time – he’s had to take over one of Elliott’s classes – and he thinks Elliott might be guilty.
Jamie Brodie isn’t so sure. Matt had a secret that may have gotten him killed. The investigation of that secret leads to someone from Jamie’s past – and another death that will change Jamie forever.
Psyched to Death is the sixth installment in Perry’s Jamie Brodie Mysteries, a series that stars intrepid UCLA librarian Jamie, his dedicated boyfriend Pete, their myriad friends and family members, and a rising body count. (At least one per book.) The series is definitely in the “cozy” variety—not too dark and rarely very tense (and all sexy times are fade to black), but the series is also comfortable, fun, and very readable.
At this point in the series, I feel pretty entrenched. Although I still find Perry’s style overly simplistic and straight-forward, I appreciate her character consistency and the dollops of development she spreads out over each book, so even as Jamie and Pete find themselves participating in another amateur investigation, the books don’t return to a perfect status quo at the end. They’re a little further in their relationship, or new information has been revealed, or new life developments have occurred, and the Jamie of book 6 is not the same Jamie as book 1 Cited to Death (although he still has to watch out for his asthma. That’s another point of consistency that I appreciate—Perry keeps track of all the little bits and bobs of the characters, so they feel very realistic.)
Can you jump into book 6 cold? Probably? But I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s been quite a bit of development over the series, and you’ll appreciate it more if you start from the beginning. There is also not a lot of character introduction, so you’ll follow along better if you have the build-up over the different books.
#6 is slightly more bolder than #5; this time Pete’s teaching colleague has found his young lover stabbed, but he swears he’s innocent. Jamie and Pete find themselves roped in to help find who might have killed poor young Matt, all the while navigating their continuing relationship counseling and some unwelcome news from Pete’s family.
I wouldn’t mind if Perry ramped up the tension and peril a little more, add a few dashes of danger to put me on the edge of my seat, but overall, I still really enjoy each mystery, and feel still that this series and its steady development (and recurring crimes) would make a really fun TV show.
Will I read the next one? Yes, definitely. I think Perry would have to do something really out there to get me off this train. As of now, Jamie and his bunch are so likeable and easy to read, that even if I want more excitement in the stories, I’ll still happily plunk down the cash to read about their adventures. (It helps that each book is less than $3.)
If you like m/m mysteries, especially the cozy variety, I recommend you check out the series with book 1 Cited to Death. Perry’s style feels little raw at first, but I got used to it. If the first volume work for you, it’s easy for me to recommend the follow-ups like this one.
(You can also tell Perry is a Josh Lanyon fan—there are multiple jokes throughout the series that point to Adrien English’s bookshop, and another reference is in this volume. I always dig those small references to the genre.)
Title: Psyched to Death (Jamie Brodie Mysteries #6)
Author: Meg Perry
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Purchase Links: Amazon