Saturday, July 27, 2013

Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford

Publisher: Coffee Squirrel Press
Date published: June 2013
ASIN: B00DK3DPSI (No ISBN number)
Genre: M/M urban fantasy with romantic elements
Book format: E-book
Obtained via: Publisher Gift
Reviewed by Keldon__


Author Rhys Ford has enchanted us with her M/M contemporary novels, and now tackles the challenge of urban fantasy with spectacular results.

After a past war, elfin Underhill merged with the surface human realm, leaving the earthen landscape and its populations changed forever. Humans occupy this brave new world, along with two elfin races: the unsidhe make up the Dark Court, and the sidhe comprise the Dawn Court.

Kai Gracen is an anomaly: elfin by birth, human-raised by chance, and employed as the only elfin Stalker in post-Merge San Diego. Kai goes about the daily business of Stalking, killing off reptilian/canine black dogs and bringing in their hides for bounty. It’s a living, and Kai is content with his career, his friends, and the occasional anonymous hook-up in the Red Lantern District.

Sidhe Lord Ryder has recently relocated to the San Diego area and established the new Southern Rise Dawn Court. He aspires to have a Court that includes sidhe and unsidhe, as well as the occasional human. Toward this end, he must bring his sister’s pregnant friend Shannon down from Anaheim through the Pendle—during dragon mating season. SoCalGov is willing to help the new Lord, and who could be better qualified than an elfin Stalker to get the job done?

Kai is less than enthused, but the threat of losing his Stalker license is enough to get him on board with the job. He and Ryder set out at night in Kai’s forbidden combustion dream machine—a bloodred restored Mustang with a back-up legal electric engine. Dodging dragons and dangerous road conditions, they arrive at dawn in Elfhaine. As Kai and Ryder manage a slew of complications on the return trip, they learn to work together.

The resolution is short-lived, as Kai’s past comes back to haunt him.

The bones of the story are strong. Kai is a sympathetic character, and I bonded to him right away. Retired Stalker Dempsey, the human who raised him, is a fair foil to what Kai has become. Ryder is likewise a well-rounded character, as is the supporting cast. The plot is excellent, with some unexpected twists, and moves right along. No spoilers—it’s a must-read. I’m looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


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