4.5 stars - This book grabbed my interest pretty much right away. I really enjoy finding a book that doesn't fit neatly in any one category, and this is one of those stories.
In Juxtapose City, there are two elite police/DEA teams run by the Juxtapose City Police Department (JCPD), JCP1 and JCP2. Black is the mysterious young commander of JCP2. Sundhill is the leader of JC1. Both were appointed and are run by Captain Dickerson.
As the story begins, JCP2 are coming to grips with the loss of two team members. Dickerson assigns two individuals to replace the men; one is Sola, an exemplary soldier with an impeccable record, and Calyx Starr, an empath. There are also telepaths in this world.
Calyx is a sorry soul. I liked him from the start. He has had a crap life for the most part, being forced to use his body for currency for one reason or another, whether by force or by his own offering. He uses the drug Bliss to keep him sane from the overwhelming empathy senses. Others are able to dampen theirs by taking small doses of Bliss, but the empaths and telepaths are the main users of the drug. Unfortunately, Calyx is somewhat addicted. He comes across as flamboyant and nonchalant about everything, including sex, but he uses that as a cover up. He is placed into JCP2 by Dickerson, who pulls his every string and forces him to do horrible things. He makes it no secret that he wants Black. Dickerson orders this, but Calyx ends up having feelings of his own for Black.
Black is a darkhorse. He doesn't have much of a past on record, seems to harbor many secrets and looks up to Dickerson for saving him and appointing him to lead JCP2. He also looks up to Sundhill, who also shows an interest in Black, though his intentions are not clear. Black had a sexual relationship with JCP2 member Jake Cole but breaks things off not long into the story. Jake has deeper feelings for Black and has not given up hope of getting him back.
There is a lot going on in this story, between the characters and the issues themselves, such as the drug busts and the mysterious Genesis who seems to be out to take over the City and eliminate JCP2 completely. There are many questions left unanswered about Black and his past; Sundhill's motives; Dickerson's intentions; Calyx's future, etc.
I loved that this was another book that didn't fall neatly into any one category. There is a lot going on, but it is easy to follow. There is little sex, although a rape does occur. I didn't want to put this down and couldn't get enough of Calyx and Black. I went right out and bought the next two books and was thrilled I didn't have to wait to find out, as this ended with a slight cliffy. I'm looking forward to seeing these guys again and hope they can overcome their difficulties.