Congratulations to my dear friend Rhys Ford for being a Library Journal Best Books 2013: Ebook Romances pick for her book Black Dog Blues. Extra kudos to Rhys because she self-published the book as it didn’t fit nicely into a traditional genre. Rhys has currently published 7 books, one short story and counting.
I’ve known Rhys Ford since before she submitted her first book for publication. Her first book, Dirty Kiss, was published by Dreamspinner Press in 2011. ?I admit I put off reading it for a little while. I always have this irrational fear that when someone I know writes something professionally that I will hate it and I don’t want to dislike what my friends write. When I finally stopped procrastinating and read it I was blown away. Here was a story about what it was to be a first generation immigrant, to be born of two cultures, with a solid mystery and world building to back it up. ?You don’t read many stories that do a good job of showcasing and explaining what it is like to be an Asian American, how perspectives and issues shift from first generation to second. After Dirty Kiss I was hooked so you can imagine my pleasure when I found out about Rhys’s fifth book release Black Dog Blues.
If you insist on giving Black Dog Blues a genre LGBTQA Sci-Fi with an Urban Fantasy feel is the closest I can come. While the action and drama are both well done what really struck me was how she addressed what it means to be human. Instead of hitting you over the head like C.J. Cherryh’s Cyteen, this theme is more subtle but equally compelling.
If you like a good mystery with a good sense of humor, a hefty helping of multi-culturalism and LGBTQA you will also enjoy Rhys Ford’s other series: Cole McGinnis, Sinners Gin?(the cover art reminds me of Malice Mizer), and Hellsingers?(warning this series is deliberately written to be especially humorous, if you prefer more serious works stick with the first two series). You can also checkout her short Steampunk work Clockwork Tangerine.
Publisher’s Abstract for Black Dog Blues:
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.
Yes I realize I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve preset a few posts to roll out every week for the next four week, after that we’ll see what moves me.