In Dark Touch, no good deed goes unpunished. Sloan, the female protagonist of Elle Lewis’s urban fantasy, offers a few dollars to someone she thinks is down on his luck. When their hands touch, she discovers that the man she’d misrecognized as an unfortunate was, instead, an ancient, unworldly creature. His evil touch does not kill her—the expected outcome—so she gains the creature’s full, unwanted, malevolent attention. She becomes a target.
The novel follows the dark opening scenes with a familiar trope (is she imagining things?) Skin bruised and on fire, her first thought is to go to an ER, followed by a visit to Jack-in-the-Box. But the juxtaposition between the real and the fantastical serves a purpose. The author’s fine descriptive passages keep the reader rooted in the real world before flashing into the bizarre. Like Sloan, the reader latches onto the routine, dreading the arrival of the unreal.
And Sloan is totally unprepared for what’s coming.
Dark Touch is the first book of a trilogy. The author captures the sassy, sexy voice of her genre. There are a satisfying number of supernatural creatures, drawn with consistency and imagination. As the story progresses, the action ramps up, leaving poor Sloan caught in a corridor of narrowed options—ratcheting up the suspense.
The ending sets up subsequent books, but that’s expected in a series. If you like urban fantasy with thriller and romance elements, you will love this novel. (Five stars out of five)