Reviewed by Heather C.
TITLE: Black Dog Blues (Book #1)
SERIES: Kai Gracen series
AUTHOR: Rhys Ford
PUBLISHER: Coffee Squirrel Press
BLURB: Ever since he’d been part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figured he’d used up any good karma he had 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 were left with a messy, monster-ridden world and Stalkers were often the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy and dark moved into the neighbourhood.
There certainly were no shortage of monsters or people stupidly willing to become lunch for one.
It was a hard life but one Kai liked. And he was good at it. Killing monsters was easy. Especially since he was one himself.
After an accident retired Dempsey out, Kai set up permanent shop in San Diego, contracting out to the local SoCalGov depot. It was a decent life, filled with bounty, a few friends and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him he wasn’t really human.
That was until a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego and Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It was supposed to a simple run; head up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary with the new Court then back to San Diego. Easy, quick and best of all, profitable. But Ryder’s “simple” run leads to massive trouble and Kai ends up being caught in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.
No one ever got rich by being a Stalker. But then hardly any of them got old either. The way things were looking, it didn’t look like Kai was going to be the exception.
Rhys Ford has finally joined the worlds of Urban Fantasy! About damn time if you ask me!
In Black Dog Blues we are introduced to Kai Gracen, an elfin Stalker living amongst the humans in San Diego years following the Merge, where the human and elfin worlds had come together resulting in violent wars between the races (human, sidhe and unsidhe) and freaky, mutated creatures. Kai hates all things elfin and attempts to live his life more human than…a human, hunting black dogs for bounty and basically anything else the SoCalGov demands that he do. After suffering from years of abuse when he was younger, Kai tries to keep all personal relationships at a distance and is quick to say that he limits all his sexual to encounters to nameless humans; male or female. And then, in walks Ryder who fucks it all up.
Ryder is a sidhe lord who has recently moved to San Diego to set up his own Dawn Court right in the middle of the humans. Clearly he has an agenda. Anyway, he has contracted Kai through the Post requiring him to make a dangerous run to Los Angeles to transport a pregnant human safely back to San Diego. Ah, and then everything gets crazy!
Here are a few things you have to look forward to when you read this book:
Outstanding world building: I absolutely love this world that Rhys as created. It’s unique and imaginative and vivid. I must advise you to give this 100% of your focus, or it may be a bit too easy to get lost in some of the complexity. It isn’t a simple, light read.
Great, complex characters that are easy to love: Kai is such a fascinating character with so many more secrets to tell. I don’t see how anyone could not adore him. Yeah, he’s fussy and prickly but that just makes me want to hug him and squeeze him. He has so many barriers that need to be torn down, and I believe Ryder will be the elfin to do it. And Ryder, he just gives off an aura that makes me want to trust him even though I know he still hasn’t been fully honest about everything. Luckily, Kai sees right through Ryder’s hidden agenda but still knows that deep down his motives are mostly good. Although, those motives are all bad news for Kai! Then, lets not forget some of the great secondary characters:
- Newt – Kai’s devil of a cat who is loyal to no one, although I believe he secretly loves Kai
- Alexa – Ryder’s cousin who wants to have “purple-eyed babies” with Kai
- Oketsu the Mustang – hey, he had personality…poor guy
- Dalia – Kai’s purple haired BFF who risks her job everyday being there for Kai
Some good sexual tension: This isn’t exactly your typical romance…because obviously it is urban fantasy. It is plot and character driven, but the slow-burn undertones promise to give us an epic romance further into the series. Ryder accepts Kai for who and what he is…and I don’t believe for even a second that he would ever share.
“I don’t want to tame you, Kai. I just want you.”
Plus, there is some good, sexy banter shared between the two of them. It is very clear that these guys have some combustible chemistry that hasn’t even been experienced yet.
Lots of danger and action: Anyone who has read anything written by Rhys, knows that she likes to jump right into the story with a crazy, exciting scene. Well, this is no different, and it just keeps going from there. I know there were several times where I said to myself, “What.The.Fuck?!” Plus, there many more sitting-on-the edge-of-a-cliff moments.
In the end, I just wanted more! I want to know more about what Kai is. I want to know more about what Kai can do. And most of I all, I want to know how Kai is going to handle Ryder…because we all know Kai is not going to easily go along with anything.
Highly recommended to all those Urban Fantasy lovers out there who are in the mood for a crazy adventure filled with black dog blood and a side of baby goo.
I end this with a challenge. A challenge to all of you to plead and beg Rhys Ford until she gives us a sequel!
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Heather C. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
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