Title: Fluid (Channeling Morpheus #8)
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Length: 19,700 words
Publisher: JCP Books
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Blurb: It’s been a couple of decades since Wild Bill has been able to savor the bite of an ice-cold, freshly tapped keg. Twenty-odd years since the shivery pucker of a cheap, boxed wine has assaulted his palate. But that doesn’t mean Bill’s forgotten how to party.
Wild Bill and Michael have holed up in a week-to-week hotel in an iffy Milwaukee neighborhood, and even though it’s been a year or two, the fringe art happenings are just as edgy as Bill remembers.
There’s a girl covered in frosting in the middle of the hors d’ouvres table, and she’s begging them to dip. And the host of the party wants to lure them into the range of his mechanical eye. It’s all fun and games, until a tryst turns deadly.
Review: We’re in Wild Bill’s point of view once again in Fluid. Coming off of their hunt with the creepy doctor in Snare, the two have been keeping a dingy room in Milwaukee for a month, Michael working at an all night vet clinic. The story starts at a pretentious hipster art party where Bill and Michael once again prove to be entertainment in different ways for the people at the party, whether purposeful or the natural ability to draw the eyes of those around them. Bill once again has a snarky inner commentary about the kiddies around him, though now that they’re further on in their relationship some of that is tempered as Bill is more apt to think and label his own guilt as Michael’s moods spiral in different directions, often into depression — something that Bill has never been shy about turning him on.
The two continue to try to spread their message — well, Michael’s — about safe vamp sex, when they come across some vamp bait, a boy named Trey that just oozes enough tragic despair to attract every vampire within a mile going home with a vamp chick named Lolita. The problems start when Trey takes them home, hoping for some group fun, to his houseboat…
Fluid follows the format laid down by the previous stories in the series by continuing with the intricacies of Bill and Michael’s relationship, while also introducing new elements into their relationship. The title seems to directly reflect the introduction of the myth of vampires crossing water into the story. We get to see what exactly happens in that situation when Trey practically drags them all back to his houseboat. Further than that, the water is important to Bill. From the perspective of someone who fears it, it allows him to contemplate death. To Bill, someone who feels tainted and dirty, a watery grave seems like a blessing, a washing away of sins and a cleansing of the world in his absence.
Of course, it is easier for Bill to bring himself out of dreary introspection, especially if it is for Michael. The longer their relationship progresses, the more their codependence becomes more complicated. Michael still lapses into depression anytime something reminds him of Scary Mary, or anytime he and Bill seems to have a disagreement about that killing problem of his. Of course, Bill actually loves Michael, so now that he’s known that for a while now, we see him allowing himself to bring MIchael out of his depression instead of savoring Michael in his mood for himself. Of course, Bill sees Michael rather plainly, and his POV is much less muddled than Michael’s — at least where Michael is concerned. And Michael makes quite a bit of progress in this story, when what turns into a sort of backwards, strange hunt make him question the morality of his mission in a way he hadn’t before. The compromise that comes from that is much more natural than it has been in the past, because in a way they’re now better at communicating, which gives the series a feeling that the relationship is finally progressing into the home stretch.
The great thing about this series, besides Bill and Michael, is that every story really has something unique to offer. That’s what makes this series so great as a first time read, and work so well as a series of short stories. You could put them all together as a whole and while the relationship would make sense stretch out end to end, their misadventures wouldn’t, simply because they work best as episodes.
Once again,this is an amazing story among a great series, easily earning an A rating