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Synopsis: Supernatural abilities haunt her. Brainiac students taunt her. The FBI “Freak Squad” wants her. Will she abandon her extra sensory talents in favor of freedom, or will she hone them to help catch crooks?
Former army brat, Ainsley Benton, may have finally found her place in this world, and it’s among the freaks. This small town art teacher has the ability to see, hear, and feel what other people are experiencing, and now the FBI’s freak squad wants to use her “human bug” abilities to catch bad guys. Despite her fear of commitment, failure, and responsibility, Ainsley temporarily agrees to join this team of misfits, and ends up risking her life to investigate a conspiracy that may only be one of her schizophrenic coworker’s paranoid delusions.
About the Author: Audra’s love of writing began in the third grade, when she was chosen to go to a young author’s conference based on her story, “The Dragon Cookie,” which is about a giant cookie that comes to life. She continued writing, and was sometimes asked to write stories for friends as birthday gifts.
Audra went to college thinking she would go into journalism, but opted to go into publishing instead, and even took an internship at Yale University Press. She married right after college and was unable to find a publishing job where they were living in Seattle. Audra took an office job. After helping put her husband through law school, she went back to school and got her teaching degree. Audra enjoyed teaching, but once her oldest was born, she chose to stay home. At the encouragement of friends she started writing again, the result being her first novel, Watcher, which was released in January of 2013.
Audra and her husband now live in a small town in Eastern Washington with their three boys. They also have a black Lab named Benji who eats shoes, gophers and packages left on her front porch (thanks Fed-Ex). She recently went back to work as a Kindergarten teacher, but she still writes, dabbles in on-line shopping and plays Texas Hold ‘Em with her friends as often she can.
Personal Experience: I received a free copy of Hitchhiker for the purpose of this review.
The concept presented in Hitchhiker intrigued me from the get-go… a person possessing the ability to “hitchhike” another person whenever bodily fluids are exchanged. It was something I hadn’t encountered in any fiction I have read before. It was an interesting new twist on psychic abilities and allowed for many opportunities to explore what this ability would entail.
I really liked the main character, Ainsley. We learned about her ability as she did and lived with her through the struggles of dealing with it. It constantly had me questioning how I would react in the same situation. She keeps such a great sense of humor through it all that you will find yourself laughing out loud at times. Her ragtag coworkers include a ex-con artist, a schizophrenic, and a medium… life at that office couldn’t possibly be boring!
The story centers around an FBI investigation, but it often felt like that story was secondary to the characters themselves. I do wish there had been more focus on that case… it felt a bit rushed over at times and I would have liked to delve deeper into the how and why. I don’t want to give anything away, but this investigation revealed a very real and very disturbing possibility.
I do think there is great opportunity for expanding on these characters and seeing them tackle more cases in more novels. Though Ainsley takes center stage in Hitchhiker, she is surrounded by a group of great partners that could stand on their own.
Overall a great read. I have already recommended it to others looking for something fun and different to read. Something for everyone… humor, paranormal activity, and thriller all wrapped in one!
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