Dark Touch by Elle Lewis

Dark Touch book cover
Rating 6.0/10
If there was ever a reason not to help those in need, the possibility that they might be some kind of ancient angelic-style Evil entity that will stalk, hurt, perhaps even kill you, is more than enough to make you think twice.

On a night like any other, on nothing more than an off-chance, Sloan sees someone who might be in trouble and decides to do something about it. She was just trying to help, reaching out with a few dollars to someone down on their luck. Except the hand she touched wasn’t human, the man she thought was homeless morphing into an otherworldly being, powerful and malicious. When his usually fatal touch fails to kill her, she receives his immediate and unswerving focus, unable to escape his attentions in daylight or dreams. Yet there is hope in those she finds to protect her, mortal or otherwise. Either way, her old life is gone and Sloan must use everything she has to stay alive.

If there was ever a reason not to help those in need, the possibility that they might be some kind of ancient angelic-style Evil entity that will stalk, hurt, perhaps even kill you, is more than enough to make you think twice. Of course, the first thing Sloan does is convince herself that she made it all up, because that kind of crazy is not easy to accept. It doesn’t take long for it to sink in though, particularly when the pain starts, and the normal day to day she was trying to continue falls apart. Sloan tries to reason with herself about what she’s experiencing, and once she finally comprehends how far this is above her pay grade, desperately searches for help. Her panic and fear, the isolation of her situation, is right there on the page, understandable and real. Her relationship with her best friend, Millie, becomes strained by secrets and they also form the basis for her connection with James, who knows about the supernatural world in which she now finds herself. It has a what-would-you-do vibe to it, that conflict between belief and disbelief, the desperate attempt to hold on to the everyday and the known when danger arrives unannounced and unwanted. 

Yet as the book progresses this side fades away, especially as the supernatural character count goes up. There’s a frustrating mix of cryptic pronouncements and too much time spent discussing the background as the big players tell Sloan all the truths she needs to know in large chunks of exposition. The finale was particularly guilty of this, leaving a rather flat feeling that the fade to black ending didn’t help. These last chapters are used to set up big things for the next instalment while also explaining most of this one, but as it stands I’d need the promise of a whole load more depth and emotional connection to continue. 

Overall, it’s written a light touch, with a chatty main character of the usual UF sort who shows flashes of verve when she’s searching for answers in the first half of the book, but increasingly is left to react to things and moved around like a doll by those around her in the latter part. As a result, it’s hard to be affected by her plight, placing her firmly in the just-another-UF heroine box. There’s the possibility of a comeback, some of the scenes where the bad guy throws down are chilling, but Sloan needs to up her game to stand among the great UF characters on the market today.

ARC via author

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