Author Marjorie M. Liu has created an intriguing operative agency, Dirk & Steele. This members of this group are unusually gifted. Among the ranks you can find shapeshifters, mind readers, telekinetics and many other kinds of paranormal beings. In her first book, Tiger Eye, we meet a few of the interesting people who work for this agency. Her second book in the series, Shadow Touch, reintroduces us to Artur Longinov, a man who can feel the history of anything he touches, even the floor beneath his feet.
In the years prior to joining Dirk & Steele, Artur was not always on the good-guy side. In fact, he was a hitman for members of the Russian Mafia until he decided that he needed a new direction in his life. He carries the weight of his past like an anvil - wanting to remove the burden but unable to break free. The agency not only offers him a sense of purpose but also a sense of community.
When Artur finds himself kidnapped and taken to a psuedo-medical facility, he knows that his past has finally caught up to him. As his abilities and limits for pain are tested, he meets a fellow kidnap victim - Elena Baxter. She is a healer, able to psychically delve into another person and instigate healing from within. Her interferance exacts a heavy toll on the lovely young woman, and the lab technicians seem to enjoy her suffering.
Artur and Elena are exceptional characters. Each of them has adapted to their gift (or curse) as best they could, building lives of purpose. Their escape from the lab, flight to freedom, and subsequent mission will keep readers riveted to the pages. I canít wait for the next installment!