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Touched By An Alien
      Alien Tango
      Alien in the Family
Gini Koch
      Gini Koch
      Gini Koch
DAW, 390 pages
      DAW, 440 pages
      DAW, 466 pages

Touched By An Alien
Alien Tango
Alien in the Family
Gini Koch
Gini Koch lives in Phoenix, AZ, works her butt off by day, and writes by night. She writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine "Kitty" Katt series for DAW Books and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series for Musa Publishing. She also writes under a variety of pen names (including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch).

Gini Koch Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Michael M Jones

When marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt instinctively, against all odds, kills a superhuman monster with nothing more than a pen, she's almost immediately dragged into a world of bizarre adventure unlike any she ever imagined. She's spirited away by a group of Armani-clad hotties who work for an agency so secret, it's literally out of this world. It turns out that ever since a group of religious refugees from the Alpha Centauri system claimed political asylum on Earth, they've been battling the regular incursion of so-called "superbeings," people influenced by alien forces and transformed into rampaging creatures. And now the A-Cs want to recruit Kitty for their team, based on her ability to cope with weird situations. It doesn't hurt that the A-Cs are all incredibly handsome, and one of their primary agents, Jeff Martini, is an incorrigible flirt who forges an instant connection with Kitty. And that's how Kitty Katt joins the Centauri Division, based out of their secret headquarters near Roswell, and gains Martini as a love interest.

After that? Things get complicated. There's superbeings to fight, terrorists both human and alien to deal with, traitors to uncover, political conspiracies to defuse, and much, much more. For everyone who approves of the A-C presence on Earth, there's another faction willing to do whatever it takes to make the problem go away. But Kitty's right there in the middle, and she may be the wild card needed to change everything.

In Touched By An Alien, Kitty's recruitment and adjustment happens at a breakneck pace, with one revelation coming after another in an action-packed roller coaster of a ride. She's targeted by Mephistopheles, a superbeing and terrorist with a close connection to Martini and the rest of the A-Cs, and the effort to stop him before he can finalize his fiendish plans almost puts an end to Kitty's new career before it begins.

In Alien Tango, Kitty's been promoted to Commander of the A-C's new Airborne Division, in recognition of her earlier successes and talents. Having solidified her relationship with Jeff Martini, she's thoroughly enjoying life. After all, she gets to fight aliens, fly jets, command elite troops, and have mind-blowing sex on a regular basis. No problem! That is, until a group of astronauts return to Earth, touched by something out there in space, affected in ways no one can explain. Now Kitty and the rest must deal with the existence of a god-like force sent to keep humanity in place. Meanwhile, political forces are manipulating events to seize control of Centauri Division and its assets, thoroughly hampering their performance. And most annoying of all, Kitty's the target of an obsessively jealous woman with a thing for explosives, who believes Kitty stands between her and happiness. It's going to be a long week.

In Alien in the Family, Kitty and Martini are getting married. Eventually. If they can ever settle on the details. Mind you, it may all be moot when a large delegation representing the other sentient races of the Alpha Centauri system shows up, ready to test Kitty's worthiness to marry into the A-C royal family. What's that? Didn't know Martini was in line for a throne? It's okay, he was pretty surprised also, given that whole "religious faction sent into exile thing" that brought his people to Earth in the first place. So now, even as they plan their wedding, they have to deal with interplanetary politics, and a whole lot of people who'd rather they die horribly instead of living happily ever after. Vegas will never be the same, after the Katt-Martini wedding party's finished rocking the town and painting it red.

This series is, without a doubt, bizarre. It's wacky. Over-the-top. Goofy. Zany. Action-packed. Sexy. Fun. Weird. It's an action-romance-science fiction dramedy with a hard rock soundtrack, shamelessly aware of its own absurdity and embracing its unique identity. Gini Koch isn't afraid to throw all sorts of stuff into the mix, and the end result is a chaotic blend of elements that works simply because it doesn't take itself too seriously.

My initial reaction was less than favorable. At the time, I didn't properly understand what I was reading, and I read the interactions between Martini and Kitty as "Alien sexually harasses woman until she gives in to his Armani-clad hotness and awesome sexual prowess." Another read, however, and I saw the playful banter and lack of subtlety for what it was: people unafraid to speak their minds and explore an instant chemistry. Say what you want about Martini (he's unable to lie, superhumanly empathic, and possessed of a jealous streak a mile wide) but he's a genuinely good guy at heart, and Kitty is the perfect foil/accomplice/partner for him.

Once I'd adjusted my way of thinking, I was able to embrace the utter ludicrously joyful nature of this series. And it's honestly good stuff. High octane action sequences are fueled by superhuman powers and punctuated by Michael Bay-esque explosions. The intimate moments between Kitty and Martini maintain genuine chemistry even as they sizzle in bed. The world-building is solid. What more can you ask for?

Oh, okay. There's also a huge cast of supporting characters. My real complaint with Alien in the Family is that it lacks a Cast of Characters page to help us keep track of who's who... and who's what. (Please, Gini, for books 4 and on, I beg of you!) By the time the Space Cats and Space Dogs and Space Iguanas and Space Lesbians show up, two by two, like an interstellar Noah's Ark, the room gets crowded. But despite that, it's a fun cast of thousands. Kitty has a knack for making friends (and enemies) and once she's reeled someone into her orbit, they rarely escape. Points for including James Reader, ex-male model and Kitty's favorite gay pal, and his partner Paul Gower. They actually help keep Kitty grounded (a little) when everything gets out of hand (again).

The bottom line is this: The first three books of the Touched By An Alien series are a real guilty pleasure. Campy, hyperactive, implausibly entertaining, there's a lot of fun here, and more fun to come in future installments. And it doesn't hurt that Daniel Dos Santos has delivered some gorgeous, playful covers. (My favorite: Alien Tango, with its not-so-random crocodile on the front!) This series is worth looking into.

Copyright © 2011 Michael M Jones

Michael M Jones enjoys an addiction to books, for which he's glad there is no cure. He lives with his very patient wife (who doesn't complain about books taking over the house... much), eight cats, and a large plaster penguin that once tasted blood and enjoyed it. A prophecy states that when Michael finishes reading everything on his list, he'll finally die. He aims to be immortal.

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