Review: Black Dog by Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles #1)


Black Dog by Caitlin Kittredge // VBC ReviewBlack Dog (Hellhound Chronicles #1)
Caitlin Kittredge
Published: Oct 28, 2014 (Harper Voyager)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

I’m a fan of Caitlin Kittredge’s dark and edgy Black London series (VBC review of Street Magic), so I was really excited about Black Dog. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it.

I don’t see books about hellhounds very often (despite the fact that I’m reviewing two of them this month) and Ava is the first female hellhound I’ve seen. She’s not the most feminine of heroines, with her motorcycle riding, smoking and general badass attitude, though she becomes a little softer and more vulnerable over the course of the book. She’s not even a particularly heroic heroine, but one who does whatever it takes to survive, though that changes by the end as well. Her world is dark and gritty, full of seedy motels and unsavory characters. Oh, and she can turn into a big black dog.

Ava died about a hundred years ago and a reaper offered her a second chance at life if she would become a hound, retrieving souls for him. Gary is not just a reaper, but also a sort of supernatural gangster. His actual job is to collect the souls that are sold to demons, but he also has a territory in which he controls the blood dealers who supply vampires. This was the only thing in the book that I didn’t think was explained very well. I’m not sure exactly why the reaper controls this territory or exactly what that entails.

Gary sends Ava to Las Vegas to investigate whether a necromancer is encroaching on his turf. He wants her to contact the blood dealer and find out if he’s involved. But instead of the dealer, Ava finds Leo, a Russian mobster and necromancer who kidnaps her and convinces her to help him steal Gary’s scythe to kill his father, the mob boss, who is also a necromancer. Of course nothing goes as planned and Ava and Leo wind up fleeing his father’s hit squad, and under pressure from Lilith, Gary’s boss and the demon he was collecting souls for.

Demons created the reapers and hellhounds to be their servants. The demons, in turn, were created to serve fallen angels. But they rebelled and drove the Fallen out of hell. The ones who survived are hiding among the humans. Ava and Leo run into a few of the Fallen and even some actual angels while on the run from Lilith and the Russian mob, and get drawn in to their centuries old conflict.

I liked Ava and Leo as partners. They, somewhat inexplicably, stick together against shifter bikers, gun-toting gangsters, angels and demons. They travel from Nevada to Wyoming to Louisiana with a stop in a brothel along the way. They eventually learn why they were brought together, but it doesn’t explain their chemistry. They’re an unlikely team, and an even more unlikely couple, but it seems to work for them. I’m really curious about how their relationship will develop.

Black Dog is the first book in the series and it’s really an origin story. It looks like Ava’s mission changes a little bit in future books, but I’m hooked. I like Kittredge’s take on the reaper and I like these characters. I look forward to seeing where they go next.

Sexual content: sex

One Response to “Review: Black Dog by Caitlin Kittredge (Hellhound Chronicles #1)”

  1. Amy says:

    This sounds interesting, I’ll have to check it out.

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