Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen, #1) - Rhys Ford 4 1/2 Hearts

Review written for MM Good Book Reviews

Elfin Kai was won in a poker game by a human Stalker, Dempsey, and was trained to be a Stalker, he is the only Elfin Stalker in southern California. Now with Dempsey retiring due to injury Kai has set up shop in San Diego, contracting out to the local SoCalGov depot to kill the monsters that were released when Underhill merged with Earth. Kai is so merged in the human culture that he sometimes forget he was Elfin but when he is contracted to work for sidhe lord Ryder he is reminded of his past. Kai’s new contract was supposed to be an easy run, but heading up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman is anything but simple when he is dragged into a bloodline feud and his own past comes back to haunt him.

This is an absolutely brilliant Urban Fantasy story that has danger, horrible monsters, tempting sidhe and intriguing heroes. Kai has a mysterious past that is filled with horror, he wants nothing to do with any other Elfin and is perfectly happy with his life in the human world, it is dangerous but nothing that he hasn’t faced before and he lives by his own rules. Being forced to take a job for the sidhe lord Ryder is far from his idea of fun but if he doesn’t do it his Stalker licence could be pulled, gritting his teeth he sets out on an action packed journey that brings his bloody terrifying past back to him.

Kai is a brilliant character, he faces so much in this story and his reactions are just perfect. Kai is scarred by his past in more ways than one and his fears reach out and grab you, he has good reason to never want to see the Dusk Court again. Kai’s sexuality is fluid, male/female doesn’t matter to him he enjoys both, but some people he will steer clear of. Ryder and the other characters are there but more in the background, this is Kai’s story and although it is a great with the action, danger and Kai’s history being revealed, nobody really jumps out like Kai does so we are left wondering as to who could really catch Kai’s eye because it isn’t only Ryder who wants a taste of Kai. It left me wondering just what direction this series would head in with Kai’s love interest because Kai seemed much more receptive to the females, because even with his detailed reaction to Ryder he still seemed to welcome the females touch more than Ryder’s.

This story is very much focused on the Urban Fantasy with any romantic/sexual interest taking a back burner, the imaginative settings and terrible creatures pull you into an exciting adventure and discovering Kai’s life is interesting. There’s plenty of danger from the black dogs, dragons, Dusk sidhe and Dawn sidhe and Kai gets dragged into the Elfin world even as he tries to stay out of it. We get a dark gritty story that makes you wonder as you turn the page just what Kai will face next, and you wonder just how much more his poor body can take before it gives up.

I recommend this is you want a dark, gritty, danger filled Urban Fantasy, incredible world building, fascinating characters and just a slight hint of sexual attraction.