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Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen, #1) - Rhys Ford 4.5/5.0
I admit that I am a big fan of Rhys Ford. I love both her Cole McGinnis and Sinner’s Gin series. When I read that she was taking a step into Urban fantasy I was excited.

I like the futuristic setting. It is dark and gritty and there is a definite unbalance between the haves and the have nots. There are scenes that remind me of Blade Runner with its mish-mash of cultures and languages. This is definitely not an easy world to live in.

Kai is an elfin Stalker. This is unusual because of the conflict between humans and elfin kind. Most humans either shun them or want to be them. Kai does not see himself as elfin and from what we find out about how he has been treated – he has good reason to stay away from all sidhe – light or dark. Kai was basically raised by Dempsey, a salty old Stalker that won Kai in a card game. Dempsey taught Kai to be a Stalker and gave him a chance at a normal life, well as normal as one can have in Kai’s situation.

Kai is good at what he does and has friends among the Stalkers. He contracts with the SoCalGov for jobs and sometimes you are assigned jobs that you just can’t say no to. This is where Ryder enters the picture, a sidhe lord that is starting a new court in San Diego. He specifically asks that Kai be assigned the job. It is supposed to be an easy job but we know these things never work that way and thus begins the adventure.

The description of the landscape, creatures, people and events are vivid, graphically so at times. I do have questions about how the world evolved to where it is now and what the war between the humans and elfin kind was like. Kai is a very likable character. He is a survivor but damaged. Ryder as a sidhe lord is harder to get a feel for. I understand the reasons he wants to establish his own court and I understand the attraction between him and Kai.

Some may have certain expectations for the romantic interest in Ms Ford’s story. I thought the nature of Kai’s bi-sexuality was presented in a manner that gave us some insight without it being the focus of the story or who Kai is. Being urban fantasy rather than romance, we do not have the same type of romance we find in Ms Fords other books. There is a lot of sexual innuendo and tension and potential for something to develop further in the series. I am ok with this. I really liked Kai’s neighbor and friend Dalia and the stalker Cari.

I enjoyed this book very much and I am looking forward to seeing where we go in the future.
4.5 stars