Audio Review: Rhys Ford – Black Dog Blues

black dogAuthor: Rhys Ford
Publisher: DSP Publications
Genre: m/m futuristic

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

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.
This is such a complex story that I found it difficult, but not impossible, to follow it on audiobook. However, between Rhys Ford’s amazing literary style and Greg Tremblay’s outstanding narration, I found myself going back to listen to it time and again as I got to the point where I couldn’t put it down.

Kai Gracen is a Stalker, hunter of killer black dogs and gun for hire, so to speak, for humans who need help fighting off otherworldly beings from the “other side.”

Years ago, Earth and Underhill, the home of the elfin races, merged violently, and now monsters from that world walk among the humans causing death and destruction wherever they go. Kai understands that world better than most as he is half elfin. He was “won” in a poker game when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won him and took him under his wing. He’s been trained as a Stalker ever since, and now as an adult, he shows a unique talent for getting the job done.

Kai values his solitary existence and keeps the horrors of his past at bay until the day a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives on his doorstep and asks his help to run an errand. Ryder is establishing the Dawn Court in San Diego and needs Kai to help him retrieve a pregnant female who is his sister’s friend and is in danger while living among the elves in her current condition. Since it’s dragon-mating season, and Kai is a specialist in avoiding or fending off monsters, he’s the best choice to go with Ryder to get her. He reluctantly agrees although being near Ryder is such a turn-on he can hardly breathe the air in the space of the car. He very vehemently denies himself, though. Ryder is elfin and therefore is to be despised.

The trip, of course, is not simple, and Kai learns truths about himself and Ryder that he’d prefer not to know. And when the attacks by otherworldly and elfin monsters begins, both Kai and Ryder have to fight for their lives and the lives of the babies who were born during the trip home. And that’s only the beginning of this action-packed alternate universe adventure by Rhys Ford, who has one of the most vivid imaginations in M/M literature today.

Kai comes close to death on multiple occasions in the story, and there’s blood and guts galore so those readers who enjoy a gruesome, pain-filled, action adventure will love this one. It’s not so much a romance as it is an alternate universe fantasy with male characters who are attracted to each other, however, it is very well done, and I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend it to all my friends who enjoy M/M stories. There’s a hint of a female love interest as well, and the series will be continued, so there’s no way to say for sure whether Kai will end up with Ryder or with Alexa, the female, or both in the next story.

Greg Tremblay showed a very wide range of vocalizations and accents in this narration, and it was easy to pick out which character was speaking. He made it even more interesting and exciting that it would have been had I read the book, so I recommend getting this in audiobook format.


DSP Publications

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