The first novel in the Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series, Touched By An Alien is Gini Koch’s debut novel. A science-fiction novel set approximately in the present day, it is reminiscent of both Men In Black and The Middleman.
When marketing manager Katherine “Kitty” Katt steps into what seems to be a domestic dispute gone wrong, she has no idea what she’s in for. Because it hasn’t just gone wrong—it’s gone really wrong. When the man turns into a monster from a Grade-Z horror movie, instead of running like she probably should, Kitty springs into action and takes the Big Bad down.
Enter Jeff Martini. Sent by the “agency” to clean up the mess, he’s strong, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and an alien from Alpha Centauri. And totally Kitty’s kind of guy. He introduces her to a world that only conspiracy nuts think exist. A world filled with equally gorgeous, Armani-clad guys (and gals!) with hyperspeed, two hearts, and a variety of extra talents. There, Kitty finds herself dragged into a planetary crisis, as the Big Bad she took down was a creature known as a “superbeing”—and only a lesser one at that. As Kitty learns more about the situation she’s in, the threat of the superbeings grows ever larger, and Kitty might be their target.
Rollicking good fun
Touched By An Alien was one of the most downright fun and entertaining novels I’ve read in while. Kitty is a very likable protagonist and I found myself relating to her in a number of ways, particularly in her sense of humor—and her choice of music. Kitty is very reliant upon her iPod, and breaks out the Aerosmith and Sir Elton John whenever the situation warrants it. Her sense of humor is quite snarky and loaded with pop culture references—very much along the lines of my own. Couple that with the Centaurions’ reactions to her humor, and you’ve got a recipe for very entertaining scenes.
Comic book cliche craziness
Maybe by choice of the author or perhaps due to the nature of the beast (both, I suspect), Touched By An Alien is filled with pop culture references and influences. The more readily apparent references can be found within almost all of the action sequences, where our protagonist finds herself more than capable of dealing with the threats that give the Centaurions with hyper-abilities pause. Another example is the scene when she learns to pilot a jet fighter literally on the fly. Oh, and the godlike sex of which the Centaurions are capable . (Disclaimer: Touched By An Alien isn’t overly explicit in the sex scenes but neither does it do the fade-to-black thing. Just a heads-up.)
Now, such things generally require a reader to suspend their disbelief in order to work. None of these bothered me while I was reading, for a couple of reasons. One, I work in the musical theatre business; suspension of disbelief is almost a requirement for one to get any sort of entertainment or fulfillment there. Two, the story is so well put-together that I just took everything in stride. So, if such things aren’t your cup of tea, this book may not be for you—but I believe that the book wouldn’t be as good as it is without.
If you asked me to place Touched By An Alien within a single genre, I would have to place it as a science-fiction novel. However, it’s important to remember is that this is science-fiction within the modern day. Due to this, Touched By An Alien has a very urban fantasy sort of air to it. A large part of that sense is also due to Koch’s writing style and her humor, which is conveyed largely through Kitty, though also through some secondary characters, too. I greatly enjoyed the product of this pseudo-genre-mashup, and it was a very nice change of scenery from my usual reading material.
Why should you read this book?
If you were a fan of the Men In Black movies or The Middleman television and comic series, you should read this book. A very entertaining read, Kitty is a very likable and relatively relatable protagonist, leading the reader on a whirlwind of an adventure that is engaging, sexy, and highly entertaining. Koch’s debut is a strong one, a stay-up-all-night-til-you-finish-it page burner that I recommend to any urban fantasy enthusiast looking to expand their reading horizons, or to anyone who enjoys a healthy dose of snark with their aliens.