Touching Evil, Rob Knight
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary Setting, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal
Length: 248 Pages
My apologies for the length of this review.
Greg Pearsall was once an up and coming professor. PhD at twenty, tenure at twenty-four, a hot boyfriend. He had everything in the world going for him. That is, until one misstep. One misstep that changed his life forever.
Ten years. Ten years since the accident–one misstep, one head meeting concrete stairs, and three days in a coma and nothing ever went back to normal. Not a thing.
Waking up from his coma, Greg discovered that not only had he been seriously injured but that life as he had known it would never be the same. Suddenly everything Greg touches now tells a story. A mere brush against someone or some thing tells him much more than he ever wanted to know about that person or object. His curse ability forced him to give up the job he loved, a boyfriend he thought he loved and every other sense of normalcy in his life. He is forced to completely shy away from intimacy as one touch and his head is filled with that person’s thoughts and history. Touching an object tells him of all those who held it before him, both good and bad. For ten years he has lived with this. For ten years he has tried to avoid people and things. He purchased a large building in order to open a New Age store, Candle’s End, with his close friend Alice and her husband Mitch. Alice is very protective of her business partner and the claws come out if anyone dares to threaten him. He keeps his home (the third floor of the building) untouched by the outside world. He rarely leaves the building as crowds and just touching or being touched causes him to have a severe reaction that puts him in a weakened and sickly state. Only one person is allowed in with Greg, Detective Arthur (Artie) McAdams.
Artie was a skeptic four years prior and thought Greg was a quack when he called the police station with information on a case. It didn’t take long before not only was Artie a believer but he also became Greg’s biggest protector and closest friend. When Greg begins receiving packages that tell stories of horrific crimes that are being committed somewhere in the area he discovers that he is part of a very sick game being played by a serial killer dubbed later as The Collector. A sick game in which Greg may be the killer’s next victim. The story begins after one such package is delivered and Greg has a meltdown, having just witnessed violence through the eyes of the killer and/or victim.
The book started out brilliantly with Greg opening that first package. The reader is unaware if what is being described is Greg in the here and now or Greg being taken back to where the item came from. The images in his mind are horrific and involve the kidnapping and brutal murders of women. With each package the danger for the women and for Greg increases. Somehow the killer sees everything Greg does in his home and in his business. The only way Greg ever feels safe is when Artie is around and Artie is around a lot. He has his own chair in Greg’s apartment, untouched by anyone except the two of them. A close friendship has developed between the two men over time. A friendship that never, ever involves touching. Artie knows Greg’s abilities too well and one touch would tell the other man how he feels about him and what he is feeling is not just friendship. Throw in the thoughts of Artie in regards to cases he works on and it’s safer for both men to stay distant physically.
The killer has upped the ante and more and more women are being kidnapped and killed in a horrific way. A lot of this is described rather graphically so if you are squeamish at all I would suggest staying away from this one. With each new victim, Greg is brought more into the killer’s sick plan. Oh, how my heart broke for Greg so many times. Thankfully, Artie is there and as the case plays out Artie allows him to touch him, to feel him… to show Greg what is inside his mind and how he wishes desperately for them to move on to more than friends. An accidental bump in the kitchen does just that. Until this point, there was a lot of tiptoeing around each other ……. wanting but not acting. It got to be humorous and I found myself smiling quite a bit as they went back and forth.
Sometimes he wondered what Greg would pick up from his head if they had sex. Not that he thought about it. Late at night with his hand on his dick and Duke locked in the bathroom. The best way to deflate a stiffie was a Siamese cat letting you know he’d seen better.
It did him no good to let his thoughts linger on Greg’s mouth, though. Especially if they were going to be touching the same things. That was a thought for late at night, sprawled in his bed, when even Duke couldn’t see.
It had been so long since he’d been able to just touch and not be scared. So long.
Like the three thousand five hundred and seventy three days long.
Artie’s eyes popped open, searching him. “You’re touching me.”
I fell in love with these two guys. Artie was the alpha who would not hesitate to kill someone if they threatened his man. Greg just wanted his ability to disappear so that he could live a normal life. He wanted the killer caught, the women found and to make a life with the man who he has been falling in love with for years. With a lot of help from Artie’s amazing partner Leah, the case does eventually get solved and they are able to finally head toward that hard won happily-ever-after.
The absolute star of the show, however, is not Greg or Artie or the killer or any of the other characters. It is Duke. Duke is Artie’s Siamese cat. Duke is nuts. Seriously. He hates everyone and everything with the exception of Greg who he loves dearly.
The fucking beast adored Greg with a passion. It was … obscene. Duke hadn’t sat on anyone else’s lap but Leah’s husband’s in five years. Maybe Duke was gay.
Duke was Not Pleased.
Why was it that the damned cat spoke in capital letters when he was pissed, Artie had no idea. But he did.
“Whassa matter, Duke? I didn’t leave you enough credit on pay-per-view?”
Duke ruffled and hissed, Greg hushing him and stroking Duke’s ears. Man, that would get him torn to ribbons. “What kind of movies does Duke order? Porn?”
“He likes swashbucklers. The ones with the pretty boys. And girls.” Artie tilted his head. “I think he’s bi.”
“The last time I tried to brush him for any longer than it took to get him smooth? He tried to eat my left nut.”
“Oh, no eating those, now, sweet boy. Those are too pretty to ruin.”
“He’s not really a cat. He’s a demon in kitty clothes. I bet he has stomach acid like brimstone.”
As much as I enjoyed this book and I really did enjoy it, I did have some issues with it. The dialogue and sentence structure to start. I kept going back in my mind to another author’s work who was very similar. The other book was a DNF for me because of these two things. While it was pretty bad in Touching Evil, I was able to overlook it for the most part because it wasn’t almost every single line like the previous book. Only after finishing this book did I find out that both books are possibly (though not confirmed) written by the same author under different pen names. Had I known this going in, I never would have read this book. Thankfully I didn’t know because Touching Evil ended up being a very entertaining read even if I was continuously taken back to one of my most hated books ever. While I understand an author’s need to use different pen names for different genres or styles of books, my rating was almost dropped as a result in this case. I am leaving it 4 stars but had the sentence structure and dialogue been written differently it would have probably gotten an easy 5. I am aware of the need for authors to use different pen names and some are able to switch back and forth seamlessly (I could give examples but I won’t) but some can’t as the entire time I was reading this I was taken back to the similarities in the other book, similarities that bugged me greatly. Will I read another Rob Knight book? I will say probably because I did, in fact, enjoy this regardless of the problems I just mentioned. Also note that I may be incorrect in my “pen name” assumption in regards to this author, though I am willing to bet anything that I am not as the writing styles are just too similar. If I am wrong in my assumptions, my sincere apologies to the author.
Damn. Hey. Hi. Sorry.
God. Greg. That. Damn.
I know. I just. Damn.
That was just–Yeah.
Uh-huh. Greg. Babe.
Oh, yeah. Just. That was. God.
Want. Hot. Good. Love. He could hear it. Love
…. to list a few.
There are also minor editing issues with this book, something I’ve noticed in others published by this publisher. I could understand one or two misspelled words being missed in the editing process but not as many as are listed in Touching Evil.
Overall, and those issues aside, Touching Evil is a good story. I enjoyed the back and forth between Greg and Artie and the mystery was written well. I am sure that most folks would not have the same problems that I did, so I recommend this to those who enjoy a good mystery with engaging characters and a nice love story thrown in.