Touch of Evil
C.T Adams & Cathy Clamp
Published 2006 299 pages
Kate Reilly, international bonded courier and ex-professional volleyball player, is a survivor. She has been looking over her shoulder for several years, ever since her ex-fiance betrayed her and exposed her to the vampire parasites who call themselves the Thrall.
The Thrall live in a hive structure with one Queen, a number of Host (people with a vampire parasite inside them controlling their will) and numerous Herd (the name for the people that the vampires feed off) all connected by a hive mind. Kate managed not only to survive an attack by the Queen but, even though she was bitten, she killed Queen in the fight and made the Thrall recognise her as Not Prey. Even vampire parasites have rules and as Not Prey, Kate gained some protection because the vampires recognise her as an equal and they must treat her fairly.
Ever since Kate was bitten, her natural psychic ability combined with the bite, opened up her mind and made her constantly aware of the hive. For years they have been content to leave her alone and recognise her Not Prey Status but suddenly everything changes and the Thrall are no longer playing by their own rules leaving Kate’s friends, family and her own life in danger.
When Tom, a firefighter with lycanthropy, moves into her building she is instantly attracted to him even though she is still paying the price for another man’s betrayal. Can Kate trust Tom, or does he have his own agenda?
The idea of vampires being blood drinking parasites, who live by completely taking over a human body and work together with a hive mind is an original departure from the more traditional supernatural undead type of vampires that are currently so popular in fiction today. This kind of alien mind control is more usually the realm of science fiction – think of the Goa’uld from Stargate or The Borg from Star Trek but with a hunger for blood - and you’re not far away from the Thrall.
It has to be noted there are no sexy, handsome or attractive vampires in Touch of Evil, just nasty parasites that suck the good health and vitality our of their hosts in a few short years before the host dies and the parasite lays eggs in a new host. The Thrall do have some typical vampire characteristics, they avoid sunlight, are more active at night and they have increased physical strength plus massive psychic abilities that allow them to turn humans into puppets. So whilst this is not a traditional type of vampire I don’t think vampire novel lovers will be disappointed because there are enough similarities to traditional vampires to give the Thrall a vampire feel rather than a sci-fi feel.
The book is written in first person, from Kate’s perspective. She is a strong yet vulnerable character who bravely faces up to having to fight the Thrall even after coming to the conclusion that her previous victory against the old Queen might have been achieved by luck rather than strength or skill!
Tom is Kate’s romantic interest, although the romance element of this story is somewhat understated. I think that is because there is so much action in Touch of Evil (kidnappings, fights, attempted kidnappings and Kate trying to evade the bad guys) that Tom and Kate don’t have much time to explore their relationship. It will be interesting to see if that plot line is developed further in future novels in this series (a second book in the “Thrall” series is planned for release summer 2007.) Certainly there is plenty of potential here for an exciting series of Thrall books and whilst this story is concluded in this book the authors have plenty more plot lines and characters to develop in future works.
I recommend Touch of Evil to readers who like their vampire novels to have evil vampires, a strong female lead character and lots of action.
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You can read a sample chapter of Touch of Evil as well as find out information on C.T Adams and Cathy Clamp’s other novels at their website. Visit their site.