Title: Black Dog Blues
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 246 pages
Characters: Kai Gracen & sidhe Lord Ryder
POV: First Person
Sub-Genre: Speculative Fiction / Post Apocalyptic
Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears.
It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past. And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.
But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.
No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.
Black Dog Blues follows Kai Gracen, a man who looks elfin but feels human, in a time only a few decades after the Earth and the Elfin planes have become one. Many humans still hate the sidhe for the war that followed the merge, and the strange creatures that came with it, but Kai makes a reasonable living hunting the more vicious beasts. He might not be happy but he is content with his lot, especially since he knows from personal experience his life could be a lot worse.
I really loved this book, and couldn’t put it down. It is one of those that, twelve hours later, I still feel. The world is complex, full of undercurrents, and the characters fascinating. I actually did a little chair dance when I checked the publisher page for the blurb this morning and discovered the author intends the book to be the first in a series.
If you enjoy reading fantasy or urban fantasy, or stories about characters with shadowy pasts, survivors, post-apocalyptics, or action, then this is one is definitely for you. I will give you warning, if you are looking for on-page sex you won’t find any as this book is primarily a speculative fiction tale, but to be honest, on-page sex would probably have dulled the impact of the story.
I haven’t read any stories by this author before, and I am now going to rectify that. Please, if it even remotely looks like something you might be interested in, get it. You won’t be sorry.
Reviewed By: Alison
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