Touched by AJ Aalto
Series: Marnie Baranuik Files #1
Published by Booktrope
Published on: September 10, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Amazon | Book Depo | GoodReads
The media has a nickname for Marnie Baranuik, though she’d rather they didn’t; they call her the Great White Shark, a rare dual-talented forensic psychic. Twice-Touched by the Blue Sense--which gives her the ability to feel the emotions of others, and read impressions left behind on objects--Marnie also has a doctorate in preternatural biology and a working knowledge of the dark arts. She is considered without peer in the psychic community.
Then her first big FBI case ended with a bullet in one shoulder and a chip on the other, a queasy heart and a serial killer in the wind, leaving her a public flop and a private wreck. When the FBI’s preternatural crimes unit tracks her down at a remote mountain lodge for her insight on a local case, her quiet retirement is promptly besieged by a stab-happy starlet, a rampaging ghoul, and a vampire-hunting jackass in tight Wranglers. Marnie figures the only real mystery is which one will kill her first.
Too mean to die young, backed up by friends in cold places, and running with a mouth as demure as a cannon’s blast, Marnie Baranuik is about to discover that there’s no such thing as quitting time when you’re Touched.
Touched is written by a talented Canadian urban fantasy author, AJ Aalto. I have to admit, the review request intrigued me because she’s a fellow Canuck. I’m so happy to have discovered Aalto. She a fresh, new voice in the paranormal/romance/fantasy/thriller and mystery. Yup, you read that correctly, this book falls into all of those categories and then some.
Touched is set in a fictional world where Vampires prefer to be called Revenants, and have Day-sitters to protect them from being attacked, staked etc., which quite frankly makes sense! It’s a basic concept, but it works much better than I would have thought. I like when the author takes time to build a believable solid setting. This kept the story moving along at a good pace.
Marnie Baranuik is the main character who is a Psychic and Daysitter to Henry the Vampire. She’s a retired paranormal consultant, who gets pulled back into help solve a perplexing case, by FBI agent Mark Batten. This basically sets up the love triangle, but do not beware, it works. Marnie is a fun and foul mouthed lead character. She does fall into the snarky prototype of character that urban fantasy author’s seem to think is mandatory, and while that can annoy and distract me in UF, it works here. Marnie is a memorable character. Her choices and reasoning are questionable, but she is definitely a fully develped character, who is hilarious. Mark and Henry are complete opposites, but both have qualities that catch Marnie. Aalto, manages to write really different and distinct characters making her story diverse and suspenseful. Plenty of unexpected twists.
I have to mention that I was surprised at how gory some scenes were. I guess that’s good if Dark Fantasy is your thing. Yes, this is a funny book, but it’s scary and dark too; a good balance. Only a couple of parts lagged a bit, which is natural for the first book in a series.