A.J. Aalto is an unrepentant liar and a writer of blathering nonsense offset by factual gore. When not working on her horror novels, you can find her singing Monty Python songs in the shower, eavesdropping on perfect strangers, stalking her eye doctor, or failing at one of her many fruitless hobbies.
Hey, my kinda' girl!
And if that doesn't have you rolling your eyes - check your pulse. It's the proverbial car wreck you wince at - but can't turn away. Except that A.J. Aalto provides an assault on your senses that... in the end, is quite satisfying and totally fun!
So it's with tongue-in-cheek pleasure that I share a little of her art with you. It's all about being...
Touched, is a genre blend of comedy and horror, with a bumbling psychic detective--Marnie Baranuik, who is more Mr. Magoo than MacGyver.
Her first big FBI case ended with a bullet in one shoulder and a chip on the other. Left with a queasy heart and a serial killer in the wind, she's a public flop and a private wreck. So, when the FBI’s preternatural crimes unit tracks Marnie down at her remote mountain lodge in Ten Springs, Colorado and request her insight on a local case, she isn’t eager to stick her neck out again.
But a quiet retirement is cut short by a stab-happy starlet, a rampaging ghoul and a vampire hunting jackass in tight Wranglers. Marnie figures the only real mystery is which one will kill her first.
TOUCHED is available in print and ebook - and you can find details and a boatload of 5 Star Reviews on Amazon.
Want to learn more about A.J. Aalto? Here's a BLOG LINK!
And now... a little taste of TOUCHED.
Snippit from Chapter One of Touched, Book One of the Marnie Baranuik Files:
I didn’t have enough eyes for this job, counting the two in my skull and the thirteen eyes of newt in a jar of alcohol on the corner of my housemate’s antique ebony desk; when you track killers the way I had, vision and clarity take on layers like you wouldn’t believe. I say “had” because I had retired from my position as consulting forensic psychic for the FBI six weeks ago, after my first and only case.
My name’s Marnie Baranuik, and most of the time I’m OK with being a one-fail wonder. The case had gone wrong in every possible way, and blame the psychic had been the general consensus. While I’m the first to admit my failings, proudly in some cases, I like to think it wasn’t entirely my fault.
My reasons for retiring at the tender age of 27 haven’t gone anywhere: they’re the choking miasma of other people’s sins, and they’re out there, waiting to show me their worst. Sadly, the reasons for my breakdown haven’t gone anywhere either. This morning, two of them sat across from me in my home office, a forty-five minute drive outside the city of Ten Springs, Colorado. One of them was politely ignoring the goggling newt eyeballs and drinking my espresso. The other was glaring at me expectantly while the relentless tick of hail pelting the window filled an increasingly awkward silence.
To borrow a cliché, Supervisory Special Agent Gary Chapel—the Polite One—was the silver lining on the black cloud that was his subordinate, Special Agent Mark Batten. Long-jawed with a receding hairline of short sandy curls, Chapel wore beige in varying shades that complimented both his hazel eyes and the tortoise shell frames of his glasses. He’d always been patient with me, unobtrusive and gentle, his all-forgiving gaze and agreeable nature veiling a past in behavioural science studying the most abhorrent criminal minds in the nation’s prison system. How anyone could be so pleasant, knowing what Chapel knew, was beyond me. They didn’t make chairs to fit his lanky frame; he sat tall in my office chair as comfortably as possible, reminding me of a Great Dane secure in his alpha-status, quietly confident. There was no fight in his eyes: there was no need.
From the way Agent Batten gripped his espresso cup, dwarfing it in the palm of his left hand to keep his dominant hand free, I could easily imagine his former life as a vampire hunter. He was all hard lines, an immovable wall, 90 percent inanimate object but carrying the underlying threat of action along the tension of his forearms, and shady from black military buzz cut, to cinnamon tan, to delphinium-blue eyes framed strikingly by dark, thick lashes. Those eyes were by far his best feature; it sure as hell wasn’t his personality. His black-on-black wardrobe made a lousy attempt to disguise the brain-melting body that lurked beneath waiting to fry the self-control of innocent women. He peered at me over the rims of Oakley sunglasses with a gaze I’d classify as both cunning and wary. Unlike his boss, there was plenty of fight in “Kill-Notch” Batten, a lifeguard with a hangover presiding over an airless pool of disapproval and suspicion. Without any outward effort, Batten managed to dial my mood from uncomfortable to downright hostile.
Which man I’d less like to meet in a dark alley, I couldn’t say, nor was I sure that day wouldn’t come, considering what my housemate was; for a moment, despite our acquaintance, I felt intimidated. I took a bracing sip of espresso and pictured Batten prancing out in the snow wearing nothing but a sport sock, trilling Tiptoe Through the Tulips in Tiny Tim falsetto. Better. In fact, I had to work not to smirk. Judging by the further narrowing of Batten’s glare, my twitching lips nudged him off balance. Much better.
Chapel leaned forward, elbows on knees, palms out. The familiarity of the gesture struck a warning bell: Chapel and his body language tricks, trying to put me at ease. If memory served, he’d use only our first names, consistently. I was about to be handled with all the determination of a Hollywood dermatologist on a starlet’s rash..."
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