Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen #1) by Rhys Ford


BlackDogBluesFrom Dreamspinner:

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.


Kimi’s thoughts:

This is a reissue of a book previously self published by the author, and it comes with a shiny new cover which is very, very nice!

It’s setting is rather dystopian so if you don’t like that sort of thing, feel free to move on, but I’ve gotta tell you, you’d be missing out. Kai’s had it rough. The guy who won him in a poker game seemed like the biggest asshole ever. leastways he did until I ran across his biological father and brother int he latter half of the book. They made what come before look practically leave It to Beaver by comparison. Definitely a case of a mysterious past that you wish hadn’t come back to haunt anyone. Of course, if it hadn’t, we’d not have had such a cracking yarn, even with the weird changes to the landscape from our reality being invaded by Underhill, the dragons out looking for a snack during mating season, and a luscious Sidhe lord named Ryder who seems to rather have a thing for Kai.

It’s a full on urban fantasy tale filled with danger and intrigue galore, plenty of action (there’s even a high speed car chase of a sort), more than enough danger, and just enough romance to keep it palatable. The world building is rich and its population diverse and as incredible as they are amazingly believable. Th story drew me in so deep that it was over far too quickly despite being a very respectable 246 pages long. I’m very much looking forward to the next instalment.

Rating: 4.5

Lastly Kimi wants to bring to your attention that the 15th of feb, 2015 is the last day you can participate in Rhys Ford’s Black Dog Blues contest. More info on that here.