Trouble is stirring in Lowside and Dax is determined to get to the bottom of it. His family, however, are concerned for his safety and wish him to at least have a guard. Dax knows how laughable that is.
Meanwhile, Alys has problems of her own. Someone has taken out an entire crew and is laying the blame at her doorstep. Alys needs Dax’s help – or rather, his position and authority – to get the meetings she needs to clear her name.
It should be simple. But when Dax recognises someone in Lowside from the palace, simplicity doesn’t come even close.
Author: Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Title: Civil Blood
Publisher: Gelineau and King
The second novella in the Best Left in Shadows series, Civil Blood was an action packed story, complete with violence, love and sacrifice. Mark Gelineau and Joe King know how to fill a novella to the extreme, creating a believable world full of heroes and villains and those who fall somewhere in-between.
Alys has been framed, and she needs Dax’s help to get to the truth. At least, that is what she tells him, when really she just needs him to be present to get what she wants. Dax is conflicted, knowing how dangerous Lowside is but adamant he is going to make a difference. When he recognises the person framing Alys, he knows he has stumbled upon a much bigger plot: an attempt to take down the notorious crime-lord who runs Lowside.
Having been introduced to the characters in the first novel, I was excited to see them again. Dax is naïve, innocent and determined to do the right thing. He has a confidence and determination though – he isn’t as helpless as Alys makes out. Nor is she as rough as she likes others to believe, still holding a soft spot for her former lover. Their conflicting personalities – both with each other and with themselves – makes for interesting reading.
For a short novel, Civil Blood is packed with action and tension. From taking on the fire crews to meeting Pious Black himself, there is no shortage of violence. Thankfully, despite Alys running around with a scythe strapped to her back, nothing is too explicit. Just the right level of blood to be believable in a town such as Lowside.
I have really become gripped by all of the worlds Gelineua and King create in their novellas, but this is my favourite. A rough area with a man of justice trying to make a difference while falling for a local girl. It has everything you could want from a short story. If I was ever going to write novellas, this series would be the perfect guide.
If you want something short but powerful to read, Civil Blood is the perfect combination. I’m looking forward to reading more from them.