A detective with a hint of the paranormal, filled with suspense, love and betrayal. Touch of Rain by Teyla Branton is a compelling story you can’t stop reading until you’ve devoured it whole.
Autumn Rain reads imprints, also known as psychometry, which are “emotions left behind on objects”. Perhaps because of this skill she loves working with antiques and owns her own antique shop. She shares the building with her best friend Jake Ryan, who sells herbs next door. Their stores are connected and they share the same staff.
The story starts when one day Mrs. Fullmer comes to ask Autumn for aid. By using her talent, Autumn can read the imprint on items belonging to Mrs. Fullmer’s missing daughter and discovers that she went away on her own accord with people who seem to belong to a cult. When Jake then recognizes the description of the man the girl left with and knows that this cult group can be found down at the river, Autumn goes to check it out. Shocked to recognize the man from the imprint as part of the group, she then stumbles into an adventure when a private investigator named Ethan McConnell appears and asks her help to search for his missing sister. Coincidentally, his sister has left with the same group. During their adventure they get aid from Autumn’s pregnant sister, Tawnia, who recently discovered she has a special skill of her own. And of course there’s Detective Shannon Martin, someone Autumn has helped on cases before, who despite his suspicion of her being a fraud mingles himself in the case.
Already at the start of the story Autumn experiences something unpleasant when she reads an imprint. The chilling cold description of what she sees and feels – emotions and history of someone else – are in a stark contrast with the situation she is currently in. Her antique shop emits a warm and pleasant feeling to the reader, mainly because of the wonderful way with which Teyla describes the details of the surroundings and the history of Autumn and those around her. The group standing at the riverside, selling all sorts of self-made or self-grown wares, wearing t-shirts and no make-up, smiling to those who pass by; you can see it in your mind’s eye.
Teyla has a very pleasant writing style. She gives details and emotions and meticulously slips in tiny bits of history about the characters, so smoothly you want to congratulate her on giving so much background details wrapped up in descriptions in such a way that the reader hardly notices how they are presented to us. Like presents that we can unwrap. By the end of the story we know a lot, about each character, and we love many of them to bits – and despise some as well. Despite the hints of paranormal aspects – things that might put some people off- the characters remain credible as realistic human beings. Despite Autumn and Tawnia having uncommon skills, they still have their faults and weaknesses. In fact, Autumn’s faults might be the reason she stumbles into this adventure in the first place. There are also a lot of fun little details that charmed me. An example being the fascinating choice of name for the main character. Autumn Rain. One could have just given that as a fact, but when her father, Winter, is mentioned, one might raise a brow. Add a Summer to that and we have a family complete.
But there’s a very fun explanation why their names match in this way. Keep in mind that Autumn’s sister, Tawnia, has a completely different name and was adopted by different parents. Also, the fun with names continues when people join the cult group and take on new names.
Paranormal as a theme is part of the tale. Autumn has a skill she was born with, for a long time didn’t quite knew she had, then didn’t fully understand, and now is very careful with – not only because it can tire her or is emotionally a very violent experience for her at times, but also because she has used it in the past to help people and wasn’t believed or taken serious. This led to her being seen as a suspect herself in a previous case. As well as people mistrusting her she also suffers from emotional effects, as imprints leave a lasting impression on her. One of these emotional injuries is caused by the fact that she could not save a girl in a previous case. This is one of her motivations to dive deeper into the case at hands now. Autumn is also interested in herbs. Her adoptive parents having been people who had joined a commune once, who easily trusted others, and who are described as hippies at one point in the book, she learnt a lot from them. She’s also mindful about what products she eats, so the terms organic and natural are in use. And did I mention yet that she doesn’t wear any shoes?
A Paranormal Detective
This case will fascinate you and enrapture you till the end. I had a hard time putting this book down in order to cook and do other daily chores – it just was that compelling. Once you get into the tale, and you dive in very smoothly, you will want to know the characters’ motives. Why have they done what they did? Why did those girls leave with the group? What is Harmony Farms? Will Ethan keep his word? Is Detective Shannon an enemy or a friend? Can Spring and Silverstar escape the abuse? And will they come out alive? What’s up with Inclar? Why does Gabe give me the creeps? Is Harmony the real evil genius behind this all? Can Korin help Autumn in the end? So many questions that are on the verge to be answered and before you know it you’re two-hundred pages into the story.
If the descriptions above tingle and tickle your interest, then this book will definitely be the thing for you. Different from a standard detective but all the sweeter because of it, I highly recommend this book, the first of a series, to any fan of detectives, but also to fans of paranormal characters, as well as readers of the darker fantasy tales. I’m looking forward to a new adventure by Teyla’s hand.
Note Also, did you know Teyla Branton has her own mailing list? Visit her website here to find more of her works.