Read Time: 2 Minutes

Another book that has been languishing on my wish list for far too long is “Touch” by Claire North. I had previously both read and listened to “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” on multiple occasions and had been meaning to check out more of North’s work.

Like “Harry August”, there’s something special about the characters in this book. Instead of being reborn to live the same life over and over, this book follows the life of a nameless “Ghost” – someone who exited their own body at the point of death and can take control of a new host.

It’s sort of like possession, but where the host body is cut off completely so is completely unaware of time passing. Depending on how long a “ghost” stays in the skin, it could be seconds, hours, or even decades.

Often these possessions go unnoticed, but the longer ones are more obvious. However, someone is trying to kill off the ghosts forever.

Skipping from host to host is as simple as a touch. The briefest of contact is all that’s needed. Ghosts can only survive in a body, so they’re always “wearing” someone, as they put it.

“Touch” is part revenge story, part supernatural thriller, part love story, and part existential musing. Nobody in this story is truly innocent, even the main character (often referred to as Kepler by those trying to kill them) who you initially sympathise with for trying to dodge death is, let’s say, morally ambiguous.

Actually, it’s more than that. Kepler works as an “estate agent” for ghosts, finding the perfect hosts for when they want to move in full-time, or just for the weekend (like if you wanted to “be” Marilyn Monroe and attend a few parties).

It makes all those jokes about estate agents all being bastards seem even more relevant.

It’s hard to sympathise with such a person even when there are obviously worse characters out there than Kepler. Another ghost with the code name “Galileo” is the worst of them, routinely going on butchering sprees every few decades.

I’m not sure it’s as replayable for me as “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.” While the narrative jumps through time and from body to body, it’s coherent and easy to follow, but I’m not sure if there’s enough depth in the story to revist. Maybe in a few years once I’ve forgotten some of it. Overall, it’s a good story and I’m glad I finally gave it a listen.


Murder, Supernatural Thriller, Male Narrator, Body Swapping, Historical Fiction, Revenge, Death
Scroll to Top