Friday, July 07, 2006

Shadow Touch by Marjorie M. Liu

I really enjoyed this unusual paranormal thriller that was loaded with action, adventure, intrigue and enough romance to satisfy. This book which follows Tiger Eye is the second one in the Dirk & Steele series about a secret private detective agency whose employees all have extraordinary paranormal talents; e.g. Shapeshifters, psychics, empaths, etc.

The setting was unusual and I won't give it away because the reader doesn't figure it out till about halfway through the book (but you can guess from the cover). The characters were fascinating and complex.

Dirk & Steele agent Artur Loginov is an empath who can sense a person's emotions and memories by touching them or an object they have touched. He is a very damaged man with a dark, ugly past as a former member of the Russian mob and is now using his talents to help rather than harm others.

Elena is a psychic healer who can get inside the minds of injured or sick patients to help them use their own mental powers to heal themselves.

Both Elena and Arthur come to the attention of an evil organization called The Consortium that intends to use people with these special skills for their own dastardly purposes. So Elena and Arthur are drugged and kidnapped (separately) and taken to an underground prison to be brainwashed into using their skills for evil.

The story was riveting and I finished it in one sitting. I'm a bit squeamish about blood and torture and I didn't care for some of the torture that was described. I also thought the prison scenes which went on until about the midway point took up too much of the book. During this time the reader doesn't knows were they are being held and I kept wondering 'where the hell are they?' And the identity of their jailers was also kept from the reader. All was revealed very slowly and made for a captivating and sometimes frustrating read. Artur and Elena meet in the hallway of their prison and make a psychic connection. Eventually they escape together with the help of some shapeshifters and that's when the action intensifies. Unfortunately, the suspense and intrigue overwhelm the romance which took a back burner, but it was still enjoyable with some hot sexual tension and steamy love scenes.
My grade: B

The third book in the series is The Red Heart of Jade just released this month. I haven't heard anything about it but Liu has been consistently good so I'm going to find this one.


jmc said...

There's a review of The Red Heart of Jade posted at

ReneeW said...

Thanks, jmc. Good review and she liked too. Must get this one.

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