Hello, everyone! Today I’m helping out Shannon at Reads & Reels with her blog tour for To Dream the Blackbane by Richard J O’Brien. First of all, big thanks to Shannon for providing the materials and coordinating all of this and many other blogging events!
To Dream the Blackbane
Publication Date: December 29th, 2018
Genre: Fantasy/ Urban Fantasy
A cosmic event in 2015 fused Earth with the faerie realm. Scientists referred to the event as The Anomaly. A byproduct of The Anomaly was the advent of hybrid beings—people who became mixed with whatever animal or object was closest to them the moment the event occurred. Humans, or pedigrees, soon relegated fairy refugees and hybrids into ghetto zones in large cities.
Seventy years later, Wolfgang Rex, a second-generation hybrid—part human, part Rhodesian Ridgeback—is a retired police detective who runs a private investigation business in Chicago’s Southside. It’s a one-hybrid show; though Rex couldn’t survive without his assistant, the faerie Sally Sandweb.
One night, two vampires visit Rex and offer him a substantial reward for the recovery of a stolen scroll. Later that same evening, Charlotte Sweeney-Jarhadill, a pedigree woman from Louisiana, visits Rex and hires him to exorcize the headless ghost of a Confederate soldier from her home.
To complicate matters, the private detective ends up falling for Charlotte. Meanwhile, the vampires demand results in the search for the missing scroll. When Rex’s assistant Sally goes missing, he must stay alive long enough to find her. Charlotte and the vampires, however, have other plans for Rex.
Well, this was quite interesting. A genre mashup of noir-film-inspired private detective fiction and popular paranormal lit, this ebook doesn’t hold back on the tongue-in-cheek sexual humor, criminal-and-crime-action sort of tropes that are often featured in the first genre, as well as a rich mythological background from the second. The cast includes everything — faeries, orcs, ogres, animal-human hybrids, gargoyles, vampires, ghosts, nasty evil spirits from other dimensions. The author packs in a ton of well-laid-out backstory and worldbuilding that draws on a number of real-world legends and lore.
The characters are a little cliche, but mostly likable, and Wolfgang is a protagonist you can cheer on (and hope the vampires, or ghosts, or orcs, or anything else, don’t do him in). The blending of legendary creatures into a near-future urban-environment Earth was well-done.
Parts of the narrative included rather foul language and overt sexual references (just a note for more conservative readers), but it wasn’t consistent throughout. The paranormal/paranormal crime scenes (which was a lot of the story) did get a little graphic; not to a level that I couldn’t stand, however. My only major issue with this text is my usual — it carried on several pages longer than I felt was completely warranted.
To Dream the Blackbane is, overall, a fun and intriguing ride, and I do truly hope that for those whose cup of tea is such a unique tale, they’ll give it a try.
(There’s a giveaway for the ebook happening, too!)
About the Author:
Richard J. O’Brien is a graduate of the Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in Creative Writing Program. Richard’s novels include Under the Bronze Moon, Infestation, and The Garden of Fragile Things. His short stories have appeared in The Del Sol Review, Duende, Pulp Literature, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Weirdbook, and other magazines. Richard lives in New Jersey, where he teaches at Rowan College at Gloucester County and Stockton University.
For your chance to win a copy of To Dream the Blackbane, click on the link below! (Sorry, North America only!)