Spooky concept, nice execution

Written by
Claire North in 2015

Body snatching is hardly a new concept in fiction, and certainly the general point of the stories is to hunt down the body snatcher because it’s evil. Claire North’s body snatching book, Touch, quickly follows her first novel, is told from the point of view of the body snatcher, and the story proves to be morally grey.

Touch is told from the perspective of a nameless “ghost”, something or someone who can flit between bodies just by touching them. An accidental brush here and there, and they could be at the other side of a football stadium in moments. The “host” of the entity, as it were, is left with a slight case of dizziness if it’s a short stay, and complete loss of time if it’s an extended period.

The story begins as the ghost watches an assassin brutally murders his current host in an Istanbul metro station. He manages to escape and then possess the assassin. The ghost’s quest for vengeance and understanding of why it is being targeted takes the story across Europe and culminates in America.

This is, ironically, a very personal story. Even though the story takes place through time and across the geography of the whole planet, the story is focused on whoever the ghost chooses to be at that moment in time. Even though they wear the body of another, they are still themselves, to a degree.

I liked Touch, a story that talks about beings with the ability to transcend mortality, in the same vein as The First FIfteen Lives of Harry August. It does take some time for Harry August to actually stop talking about himself and his lives, though it seems his experiences are more varied and interesting than the ghost in Touch. Harry August’s story was more enthralling, since it dealt with the end of the world, while Touch only talks about the end of the main character. Less at stake, more personal, less enthralling, but still entertaining.

Still, that doesn’t mean Touch isn’t a compelling read. It’s a fine story, fun at times, sad at others, but very action packed. It’s the story of a target becoming the hunter, and because it doesn’t take place over a long period like Harry August, and its pace is definitely stepped up several magnitudes. Add this to your reading list.

Rating

A fine follow-up to the very fine First Fifteen Lives of Harry August that stands up well on its own

Read this if you…

Liked Claire North’s first effort about transcendental beings and are up for more

Don’t read this if you…

Have multiple personality disorder. Or blackouts. You just never know…

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