Touch of Death by Kelly Hashway
Published January 15 by Spencer Hill Press
Source: ARC from the publisher
Amazon | Goodreads
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary: Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.
After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendants of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins. Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.
Here's one that I've been dying to read ever since I laid eyes on the cover and read the synopsis. Mythology and zombies? Need! Want!
It doesn't take long for this book to capture and gross you out-whatever comes first, and I mean it in the most positive way.
The story starts with a bang and it sucked me in quickly. One incident at a time, Jodi comes to realize that everyone she touched either dies... or wishes they died. With a character who has the gift to both kill and resurrect and is completely unaware of it, the creeps factor is guaranteed. I shuddered at some of the scenes and I'm not usually freaked out by decomposing walking corpses (on paper at least. TV is another matter.)
Enter Alex AKA the Stalker who is trying to explain to Jodi why these horrible things are happening. I found Jodi's reactions realistic. From reporting a "stalker" to being reluctant to accept the ugly truth about her heritage, and eventually making a very hard decision to keep her loved ones safe, I could feel it. A great plus for Kelly Hashway is the fact that she doesn't use cop-outs. We're not just told that her gift is dangerous, Jodi experiences first-hand how lethal she is to the people she loves most, and my heart broke for Jodi in those moments.
There was also a fantastic scene of Jodi with her mother (even though it also involved a zombie rat...) In the age were most parents are mysteriously absent in YA novels, that was a welcome change. She is very much involved in Jodi's life, and being a single mom myself, I could easily connect with her.
As for the ending, it was a bit predictable. I smelled the rat (no pun intended) immediately, but then the story takes a turn and sets the stage for a great sequel. Coming to terms with what you are is one matter...agreeing with it is something entirely different, and I can't wait to see what Kelly has in store for Jodi and Alex in Stalked by Death.
Many thanks to the wonderful people at Spencer Hill Press for putting me on the mailing list and sending me a review copy.