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Touch of Evil    by C. T. Adams & Cathy Clamp order for
Touch of Evil
by C. T. Adams
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2014 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

The relatively new and prolific writing team of C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp introduces a brand new series with Touch of Evil. This time they tackle parasitic vampires, the Thrall, whose objective is to infect and master all humans. The Thrall have a hive mentality and are ruled by a group of Queens who control individual Hosts and their human Herd. Thrall hate most humans and consider them Prey. There are only a few humans in the world who are Not Prey. One of them is Kate Reilly, a young woman who must put her life and everything she holds dear on the line to fight the evil vampire Queens intent on initiating her into their hierarchy.

Kate won't comply and makes it her mission in life to destroy as many of the Queens as she can. Though she managed to kill the Queen of Denver, she was bitten in the process, giving the Thrall access to her mind. But Kate's own psychic abilities have helped her learn how to cope with their constant mental summons to join with them. Since her fiancÚ betrayed her to the Thrall, Kate finds it difficult to trust anyone save her brothers and a few close friends. When a sexy firefighter (who also happens to be a werewolf) moves in next door, Kate's senses are acutely shaken; their attraction is immediate. Within days, Tom wants to take things to the next level, while Kate insists on keeping him at a safe distance. But Tom's honesty and growing love soon knock down her strong defenses. A good thing too, because he and his werewolf pack are just as adamant about defeating the Thrall Queens as Kate Reilly, and they soon learn that they make formidable allies.

As they did in their last series, the authors introduce a complicated and interesting world in Touch of Evil. The story is told from Kate's first person point of view. She's one tough, single-minded, kick-butt woman, but with enough vulnerabilities and insecurities to make her believable. As in their previous series (Hunter's Moon and Moon's Web), the authors spend a little too much time on background or moment-to-moment information or narrative, that at times has little to do with furthering the story, confuses things, or bogs it down. I would have preferred more information about the Thrall and their complicated hierarchy. Even so, the characters, writing style and involved plotting are engaging and make the story very readable. Once past the boggy middle, the action and plot soar to a satisfying conclusion, with plenty of dangling plot threads to run with in upcoming installments.

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