by Marjorie M. Liu
Review by Mel Jacob
Leisure Mass Market ISBN/ITEM#: 9780843957662
Date: 03 July 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Musician Kitala Bell, the heroine, of Marjorie Liu's newest Dirk & Steele novel, delivers non-stop adventure as she strives to survive. Liu takes the reader inside a strange world of magic, shape shifters, and demons. Haunted her whole life by visions of murder, Kit has fled them in the past. However, something about Alice Hardon draws Kit and makes her determined to save Alice. Corrupt cops, a merman, and assorted henchmen complicate Kit's effort.
Meanwhile, a witch who holds the merman M'Cal in thrall sends him to steal Kit's soul. His song draws souls and leaves only a husk that cannot survive long without its soul. The witch derives knowledge and power from these stolen souls. However, Kit's music and Kit herself draw M'Cal as no other has. He determines to fight the witch and save Kit even if he dies to do so.
Neither Kit nor M'Cal realizes their power, which makes them targets for others. Pursued and captured by corrupt cops and gangsters, they fight and escape to fight again until they confront the ultimate evil. Enemies threaten M'Cal's almost immortal life. Can the witch's power continue to ensure his survival?
Will M'Cal's ability to communicate with the creatures of the sea help or hinder his survival? Do Kit's visions of her grandmother tell the truth or give her false hope? Together, they must untangle the mystery of Alice Hardon, why their enemies pursue them, and confront their deepest fears.
Liu continues the rich heritage begun by Octavia Bulter. Using a gritty urban setting in Vancouver and the sea around it, Liu gives the reader violence, torture, and murder along with steamy sex. She also explores the power of all types of love to motivate and guide the action.
The series, Dirk & Steele, offers a rich world with paranormal elements. Magic and shape shifters propel the action forward. More books are sure to follow. Publisher's Weekly named Shadow Touch, Liu's second Dirk & Steele novel, one of the best books of 2006.