Author Dave Terruso
This is the spoiler full review of Lost Touch by Dave Terruso. If you would prefer to stay spoiler free but still want to read about how this former psychic investigates a case then please visit here.
Lost Touch is the story of Lina, an actual psychic with actual psychic powers. She’s not a fraud or an entertainer. She legitimately has a gift. The gift allows her to pick up an object and sense something about its possessor. She is also able to touch people and read into their actions or minds.
With this gift she makes a modest living as a personal psychic. She only needs to work half a week in order to pay the bills. She also occasionally works with police departments to find missing people or solve violent crimes.
Her next case is one that hits way too close to home. A serial killer murders her brother in law Bill. She needs to find out who did it so her sister can move on with her son and grieve properly.
The serial killer is known as the Hail Mary Shooter. He’s been killing on the last Friday of every month and leaves a religious calling card. She has 21 days until the next murder will occur.
On her way back home to meet her sister she gets a vision after putting on the friendship bracelet her nephew gave her. She sees that he’s going to be in a terrible accident and she needs to rush to save his life.
She does rush and she does save his life. However, she ends up in a coma in his place. Upon waking she can no longer identify objects by touch. The accident gave her a form of brain damage that scrambles the information from the hands to the brain. Losing this has also caused her to lose her psychic gift.
This destroys her emotionally. As it should. She was given a gift and it’s been taken away. She has also lost her faith in God. However she was defining the concept, she no longer believes.
But this can’t stop the murder investigation. Lina is going to fake still being a psychic so that she can work with the police on the murder investigation.
Let’s take a moment to acknowledge how utterly heartbreaking this would be. Say you have something that makes you truly special and you lose it in a freak accident. It’s like training for the olympics only to get in a car accident on the way there.
Lina is back in her home town where everyone knows she’s a psychic. She bumps into her first love, John. He was the high school sweet heart who couldn’t handle her powers. Well, that’s not an obstacle anymore!
Lina and John are immediately taken with each other. The conversation is intense and seamless and the lovemaking is full of passion and tenderness. Lina feels great! Until John ducks out before sunrise and Lina starts to think maybe he’s not actually getting a divorce like he claimed.
In perfect home-town fashion Lina’s sister rats her out to John’s wife, John’s pregnant wife. Lina is understandably upset at everyone involved.
She tells John off in an awesome and over the top way, at a resuraunt in public. On her way out she gets knocked out, presumably by the Hail Mary Shooter. He plays a recording warning her to stop meddling in the investigation or her nephew will die.
The recording is an odd touch. Why would the killer need to disguise his voice? This leads Lina and the main detective, Uncle, to believe that she knows the killer personally. She compiles a list of suspects, including John.
During her investigation she goes to Bill’s work to snoop around. She learns that he had an obsession with true crime. Mostly about a case of an old murder suicide in his office building. A coworker of Bills also hands her his belongings, among which is a mysterious locked box.
Lina promises to not go through his belongings as a favor to her sister. Obviously, this promise will be broken, just not yet. Before she violates her sister’s trust she needs to go to the doctor to deal with the migranes she’s been getting.
Upon leaving the doctor’s office she spies somone taking pictures of her. She persues them and they drop something. A lighter engraved to none other than John.
Uncle uses this new development to get a warrant but they can find no other evidence against John. The next murder date is coming up so John agrees to spend that night in the station to see if someone is killed while he’s not able to do it.
It’s at about this point in the book that Lina’s sister has a bad day. Nothing too spectacular, the grief just hits her really hard. She lost her husband, the father to her only son. Even with everything that’s happening she can’t forget that she misses him. This is the most real part of the book.
I see it way too often where novels forget that people grieve and grief comes in unexpected waves. Lost Touch doesn’t forget to add this emotional touch. Anyone who has ever lost someone they truly loved will appreciate how important acknowledging this side of grief is.
And then, the killer does strike again. It’s clearly not John. But something else is off. The killer doesn’t actually kill their victim, he gets away.
Lina picks up on a clue and starts to listen to all of the anonymous tip recordings that have coincided with the murders. She immediately recognizes her brother Al’s voice.
It is at this point that she breaks the promise to her sister and gets into the lockbox. Bill kept notes and basically a scrapbook documenting him as the Hail Mary Shooter. Bill was the serial killer. He confessed everything to Al. Al, wanting to keep his sister and nephew safe and blissfully ignorant, killed Bill and staged it to look like he was another victim.
He wanted everyone to think the killer was still out there so he took another victim to keep up the facade, but obviously let him go so as to not murder an innocent man.
Lina confronts Al and agrees to keep his secret as long as he flees the state. She also agrees to move back home to help protect her sister and nephew from any further tragedy.
Lina understands that if she had had her powers she would have unwittingly led the police right to her brother. Now she has the ability to protect her family from the pain of this truth. She does not regain her powers and probably never will but she at least regained a sister.
There is so much else to this book that isn’t covered in a basic summary. There are many details about everyone’s relationships that really bring the story to life. There are also clues about the murders to let you feel like you can really play detective.
Pacing a mystery can be extremely difficult but author Terruso is a master. Lost Touch has no rushed checklist of clues, no sagging second act, and no ridiculous and unbelievable twists. It’s a mystery that you could solve if you pay close enough attention but it’s not so obvious that it wouldn’t feel rewarding.
It’s the kind of rare mystery novel that would likely hold up to multiple readings. The entertainment isn’t reliant on gimmicks, it’s simply a strong story about a family working together through the hardest of challenges. They bond and grow together and they get the happiest ending they could given the options.
I highly recommend Lost Touch and all of Terruso’s works to date.
5/5 snowy days 🌨🌨🌨🌨🌨
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