by Marjorie M. Liu
LoveSpell, February, 2006.
Paperback, 354 pages.
In the eagerly-awaited follow up to her amazing debut novel, Tiger Eye, Marjorie Liu proves that she has what it takes to make it to the top of the bestseller lists. Artur Loginov, an ex-Russian assassin, now works for the very unusual Dirk & Steele Detective Agency in the United States. Most of the employees of the agency have special paranormal talents, and Artur is no exception: he can "read" any object simply by touching it. Artur finds fulfillment in helping people in order to redeem himself for the crimes of his youth. But something is wrong with Artur's powers. His headaches are increasing in frequency and intensity, and his health is failing. While investigating a serial killer, Artur is kidnapped and taken to a mysterious medical facility in which a number of people with special abilities are imprisoned and being experimented on. Also in the facility is Elena Baxter, a young woman who has the power to heal others. Elena was kidnapped from a hospital where she worked as a volunteer in the children's ward where she was the reason for the ward's amazing 100% recovery rate. His captors insist that Artur go to work for him, but he refuses, as does Elena. After a powerful shared telepathic experience, Artur and Elena form a bond and escape the facility, taking two imprisoned shapeshifters with them. Now they must anticpate the next step of the shadowy group who is behind the torture project and put a stop to their plans for international domination.
The story of the Dirk & Steele Agency and its mysterious founders is just beginning, and it's clear that Marjorie Liu has an incredible storyline planned for the future. Liu's writing style has the polish and self-assurance of a seasoned professional: her characters are well-rounded and quite compelling. She knows her way around action scenes, too. This gritty, globe-hopping urban fantasy series is one of the hottest new entries on the market today.
Claire E. White
Shadow Touch is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the March, 2006 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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