Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: DSP Publications
Rating: 5 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Kai Gracen has no intention of being anyone’s pawn. A pity Fate and SoCalGov have a different opinion on the matter.
Licensed Stalkers make their living hunting down monsters and dangerous criminals… and their lives are usually brief, brutal, and thankless. Despite being elfin and cursed with a nearly immortal lifespan, Kai didn’t expect to be any different. Then Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court, arrived in San Diego, and Kai’s not-so-mundane life went from mild mayhem to full-throttle chaos.
Now an official liaison between the growing Sidhe Court and the human populace, Kai is at Ryder’s beck and call for anything a High Lord might need a Stalker to do. Unfortunately for Kai, this means chasing down a flimsy rumor about an ancient lost Court somewhere in the Nevada desert—a court with powerful magics that might save Ryder’s—and Kai’s—people from becoming a bloody memory in their Merged world’s violent history.
The race for the elfin people’s salvation opens unwelcome windows into Kai’s murky past, and it could also slam the door on any future he might have with his own kind and Ryder.
Review: I’ve been waiting for this follow up to Black Dog Blues since the minute I finished it. That’s a pretty big build up and my expectations are always pretty high for a Rhys Ford story anyway. I’m thrilled to say I loved it! It’s everything I wanted and more. It’s full of action. Tons of witty banter. A slow burn torturous type of love story. Broken complicated characters. Scary creatures. Good vs evil. It’s so good! The title is pure brilliance and will make a little more sense once you finish reading the book.
In Mad Lizard Mambo Kai is still working as a stalker. His latest job brings Ryder back into his life. Something he’s been trying to avoid because he has no wish to be under the High Lord’s thumb. After the events of the last book being a loner has become a little trickier for Kai. Ryder has a very dangerous job he insists on hiring Kai for. One that Kai has no interest in but has to take because he needs the money and of course Ryder offers him a sum he can’t refuse. The job leads them both into danger and stirs up too much of Kai’s past to be a coincidence.
I love love love this book! The story arcs about Kai’s past are carried over into this book. We learn some VERY interesting things but there’s so much more I need to know. I think Kai also does a lot of searching within himself in this book. He thinks he’s been alone for so long but he has people who care about him. This is good and bad for Kai. He wants it but the fear of his past hurting those he cares about scares him. I love how damaged but good Kai is. He’s such a fascinating character.
Ryder is trying to give Kai space as far as wanting them to be together as a couple. He does however frequently remind Kai that he wants him and that he’s willing to wait as long as it takes. This series isn’t really a romance but for me their love story is the type that teases and frustrates you but in the best way possible. It makes every moment Kai acknowledges his feelings or desire for Ryder so damn good. I thought Kai might give in a few times in this book but he’s determined to torture me and Ryder a little longer I guess. I do have to say Ryder had some very poignant and swoon worthy lines in this book. He knows the darkest and ugliest parts of Kai and still wants him. This is something Kai doesn’t understand really. Kai is just a mess in the emotional department and needs more time. I have faith it’s all going to be worth the sweet sweet torture in the end.
I love all the secondary characters. There are so many good ones in this series. I’m all about the Ryder and Kai page time but I like Kai interacting with the others too. Ryder sets off the prickly side of Kai whereas Kai lets his guard down a little more with other characters. There’s a created family Kai has that will do anything for him. In this book he starts to understand that. Hopefully this will help him with healing a little. His past is horrific so there’s a lot to work through. The next book promises Kai will have to finally face his past. Hiding or keeping his distance isn’t really an option any longer. Kai has people he cares about that can and probably will be used as leverage. The entire series has lead up to this though so we all knew it was coming. I’m both excited and terrified of meeting daddy! So much to look forward to. This book and series is amazing! An absolute must read series for fantasy lovers.