Hot on the heels of her first major demon slaying, Hamptons girl Eve Evergold finds her exclusive small town rocked to the core again in The Hunt, book two in Amy Meredith's Dark Touch series. Having come to terms with the fact that she's inherited the title - and powers - of Deepdene Witch from her great-great-great-great-grandmother, the Eve we catch up with this time around is taking a more pro-active approach to her calling in the supernatural world. She's still popular, rich and confident, but now she's also committed to learning how to control her ability to shoot lightening bolts from the palms of her hands. The kind of character who'd usually be cast as a bitch or an airhead, Eve Evergold is really starting to cut it as a symbol of girl power. She's no stereotype, and that - along with her tongue-in-cheek sense of humour - is what's so cool about her.
In the previous book, Shadows, Eve found herself torn between the two hot new guys in town -minister's son and player Luke, and the seemingly more sensitive Mal. In The Hunt, Mal's out of the picture and Luke has become a (somewhat flirtatious) good friend, hanging out with Eve and her cheerleader BFF Jess like a third musketeer. Because while Luke seems to attract an endless stream of female admirers, he's not a player in the negative sense of the word. He isn't on an ego trip and he doesn't treat anyone badly - as Eve points out, he just genuinely likes a LOT of girls. Our focus is firmly on the supernatural mystery that the trio are busy uncovering, but it's plain to see that the electricity between Eve and Luke is definitely still there. The result is a light-hearted, will-they-won't-they vibe that'll keep readers interested without bogging the action down with any emotional melodramas.
The story in this instalment is pretty standard fare, as a spate of attacks on residents of Eve's exclusive town in the Hamptons soon has her suspecting supernatural origins. It's exactly the kind of plot you'd find in an classic episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed, but as with those shows what stands out is the spin that the Dark Touch characters put on it. They're full of snappy, sassy dialogue and self-referential humour to ensure that the reader keeps smiling while they're turning those pages. While there's not a huge amount of character development, we do begin to get a stronger idea of the different qualities that Eve, Jess and Luke each bring to proceedings - and it's becoming clear that although Eve's the one with the magic powers, the real strength of these three lies in their friendship. The plot is twisty enough to keep us guessing... although the smarter cookies out there will probably still solve the mystery a split second before Eve does.
The Hunt is another feisty and super fun instalment in what's shaping up to be an excellent supernatural series. It's witty, energetic and upbeat - and definitely one for Buffy fans. In my opinion, Dark Touch deserves way more buzz than it's getting. Demontastic.
Out: August 5th 2010, UK
Thanks to Random House UK for the review copy.