Black Dog: Hellhound Chronicles
Harper Voyager, Oct 28 2014, $14.99
Ava the hellhound collects a debt owed by Bob Dobkins to her employer Gary the reaper who sent the miscreant’s soul to Hell. Ava is lonely as she has been for the past century in which Gary has owned her; as no one human or otherwise with an ounce of sanity, wants coffee with a hellhound; except her vicious boss when he makes demands of her that she knows she better fulfill.
Gary’s boss Lilith orders the Reaper to send his Hellhound to look into the increase in deadhead activity in the Mohave near the locale of Alex Ivanoff and kill the human for dabbling in necromancy though his debt is not due. In Vegas, a deadhead juiced by a necromancer attacks her; only he is not an Alex convert; he is Alex. Instead of killing Ava, Leonid Karpov the necromancer kidnaps her. Leo explains she is his third captured hellhound, but the first two died snarling at him; that he still owns his soul; and that with her help he will kill Gary starting with Ava stealing her reaper’s scythe.
The first Hellhound Chronicles is an exciting urban fantasy starring a sympathetic repo hellhound who muses on how far she has fallen since she fled as a teen Bear Hollow, Tennessee for New Orleans during Prohibition. However, the Cecile B. DeMille sized support cast and especially an inordinate number of supernatural species are difficult to follow and keep track of without a paranormal classification similar to the Linnaeus seven-category hierarchical biological system. Still subgenre fans will want to tour the USA with Ava as our snarling badass guide.