by Kelly Hashway
Published by Spencer Hill Press
on January 15th 2013
Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know. After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins. Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.
*Mythology behind Touch of Death*
It’s no secret Touch of Death is based on mythology. I’ve been a mythology fan all my life. It was always my favorite unit to study in school, and growing up I was obsessed with finding all the constellations in the sky that represented figures in mythology. And actually, that’s how Touch of Death began, too.
I was researching for another manuscript at the time and it had to do with constellations, one of which was Ophiuchus, the 13th sign of the zodiac. He was a healer that Zeus placed in the heavens after Hades complained that Ophiuchus was bringing too many people back to life and stealing his souls from the underworld. I loved this myth, so I dug deeper.
I’m partial to lesser-known myths and I found one about Ophiuchus, Medusa, and Athena. According to this myth, Athena gave Ophiuchus two vials of the Gorgon Medusa’s blood: one from the right side of her body with the power to heal the dead and one from the poisonous left side of her body with the power to kill. Ophiuchus only ever used the vial from the right side of her body, but I wondered what would happen if there was a group of people with both abilities. Touch of Death was born. My necromancers are descendents of Medusa and born under the sign of Ophiuchus, which is why they call themselves Ophi.
Naturally Hades had to be part of the story because if he disapproved of Ophiuchus bringing the dead back to life, he’d have a real problem with an entire group of necromancers doing the same thing. I won’t give any spoilers for the rest of the series, but more mythology is on the way for Jodi and her Ophi friends.