Touch of Evil
C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
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Buy *Touch of Evil* by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp

Touch of Evil
C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
336 pages
March 2006
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Kate Reilly is a formidable woman both physically and psychically - she has to be. In her world, which looks and feels a lot like modern-day Denver, Vampires are at the top of the food chain, and humans are either prey or potential vampires. Unlike traditional vampires, these are a sentient parasitic species that take over a human, use it to death, then move onto another body. The only requirement is that the human host have strong psychic powers, as the vampires use mind control to feed and grow. All of this goes on quite tacitly alongside normal day-to-day life.

Thanks to a previous triumphant encounter with a vampire queen in which Kate not only survived, despite being bitten, but also managed to kill that queen, Kate has reached the somewhat elevated status of “Not Prey.” Yet for some unknown reason, the minions of the current vampire queen, Monica, continue to attack Kate time and again. This is a complication that a beleaguered Kate could do without, especially since she has more than her share of personal trouble: a zombie younger brother, mounting financial bills, her persistent ex-fiancé, Dylan, who is now mixed up with vampires, and the latest – her sexy werewolf tenant, Tom.

The writing duo of C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp is fast becoming a formidable presence in the world of paranormal literature. They first mesmerized readers with their ongoing “Sazi” series. Now they launch their audience into a totally new world, where humans and a new breed of vampires uneasily co-exist. This is a completely new scenario, at once similar and alien, one that will leave readers bewildered unless they read the explanatory “Dear Reader” letter at the beginning of the book that provides vital information regarding the story about to unfold.

Armed like Buffy, with the agility of Catwoman, the attitude of a Terminator, and strong psychic powers, Kate Reilly is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Together with lycanthrope Tom Bishop, she is determined to fight for the underdog - in this case, the hapless human beings - against the growing hive of vampires. The characters are all tortured, flawed and intriguing, just begging to star in their own books. Needless to say, the turbo-charged plot has healthy doses of sex, action, drama and pathos – all with that near-palpable touch of realism.

Why Kate is being constantly attacked, the identity of the young girl the vampires are seeking, whether or not Tom is indeed her ally, and if Kate can even survive the ominous battle with the vampires that the whole story builds to – these and others questions keep the bone-chilling, nerve-wracking suspense going up to the spectacular finish. Even then it doesn’t end, for this is but the first highly recommended book in a much-anticipated brand new series.

[Note - Thanks to a confidential tip this reviewer has received from one of the authors, readers can rest assured that any unanswered questions regarding the complex relationships between Kate, Dylan and others in the past will be explored and answered in the upcoming books of the “Thrall” series.]

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Rashmi Srinivas, 2006

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