Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Handsome, brilliant, and surrounded by good friends, twenty-three-year-old medical student Miles Fox has a secret—and it’s not that he’s gay. Though he harbors a crush on his straight best friend, Luke. Miles, like his grandmother, Anna, possesses the healing gift, an ability she’s made him swear never to use or divulge, lest horrible things befall those he loves. It happened to her when Nazis butchered her family.
But it all goes to hell when Miles heals a terminally ill man on a New Orleans cancer ward and wakes locked in the psych unit. Worse, news of the healing miracle spreads. For millennia, its carriers have been hunted by those who would steal it. Dr. Gerald Stangl and his teenage son, Calvin, know what Miles possesses. They, like their predecessors, will stop at nothing to take it, including kidnapping, torture, and murder. As the Stangls’ noose tightens, Miles and Luke are trapped in a death match with stakes higher than they could ever imagine.
The first sentence of the blurb pretty much made up my mind that I had to read this book. While there’s nothing wrong with a closeted MC, I tend to find stories that solely revolve around coming rather boring a lot of the time. And Miles really doesn’t make a secret of being gay. His love interest, however, is so very deep in the closet he won’t even really admit to himself that he might just be attracted to his very male best friend. While the romance definitely isn’t the driving factor to this story, I still couldn’t help but be a little disappointed by that.
“Dark Blood” does get rather gory. There was talk of vivisection, heads in jars and other atrocities like infecting somebody with a deadly virus on purpose and watching them die. It was a little too gory for me, to be honest. I really didn’t need quite such vivid descriptions.
I quite enjoyed the general idea of the story. Miles has a secret healing power that runs in his family. But his (damn scary) grandmother made him swear that he’d never use it and never, ever reveal it to anybody. Her reasons go back to WW2 and what she witnessed in a concentration camp. That’s where the gore really started.
There’s tons of action and I was most definitely never bored. Everything about Miles’ gift is a big mystery and the unravelling is intriguing.
“Dark Blood” features a set of truly unique characters.
Miles’ grandmother was an awesome secondary character. She’s a kickass woman, who doesn’t hesitate to drive halfway across the country to rescue her grandson. She’s fiercely protective of Miles, even if her methods are a bit questionable at times. I really liked her.
Then there’s the psychopathic Doctor Stangl and his very creepy son. Dr. Stangl was definitely the villain of the story. But his son was a different matter. Yes, he did commit some pretty bad crimes, but he did also show regret and only committed those crimes because he was terrified of his father. He was intriguing.
That brings me to the one thing I genuinely didn’t like about this book: the “villains”. They were Nazis. I hate it when a book set in modern times has Nazi villains. I don’t like reading about WW2 and I definitely don’t want to have Nazis and concentration camps and all the horrors dumped in my lap in the middle of a supernatural story set in the year 2015. And those horrors were described in vivid detail.
It always makes me doubt the author’s creativity. Nazis are such obvious villains. Nobody will question their evilness. Maybe Dr. Stangl wasn’t strictly a Nazi, but he definitely sympathized with them. And to me, he read like one anyway.
I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any stories with Nazis in them or about WW2, I’m only saying that I, personally, don’t like to read them and that I’d like a warning, if it’s not obvious from the period the book is set in.
Overall, though, I did enjoy the book. It was intriguing and full of action, with quite a few surprises. If it weren’t for the gory parts and the Nazi villains, this book could have been truly brilliant.
If you can stomach the gore, I’d recommend this book to any fan of supernatural m/m. Just don’t expect an epic romance. This is a DSP title, so the romance is not the most important part of the story.
I’m not entirely sure if I will read the sequel when it comes out. The ending did make me curious, but I’m worried there’ll be even more gore and Nazi conspiracies. I guess it all depends on the blurb.
Cover: The cover by Alan M. Clark shows Miles surrounded by heads in jars. It’s kind of gross, but really fits the story.
ebook, 294 pages
Expected publication: June 28th 2016 by DSP Publications