Civil Blood (Best Left in the Shadows #2) – Mark Gelineau and Joe King

The book blurb:

‘The King of Aedaron reigns in splendor, while far below, in the streets and alleys of the underworld, a different kind of king emerges. 

Alys and Dax have always been caught in the middle. Once they fought for love, and their worlds tore them apart. But now as they are forced back together, they must choose whether to fight once again.

But for what? And against whom?

In the world of Lowside, nothing is as it seems.

Even each other.’

Here we find ourselves back in the company of Alys and Dax; two very different characters who have a complicated history with each other. Dax is a ‘Highside’ born noble and Alys is a ‘Lowside’ born gang member. Here they are, again, thrown together and need to investigate some Lowside killings, the only witnesses identify Alys as being the perpetrator!

This short story follows the investigation of the killings detailed above; Alys and Dax both have their own reasons for undertaking this investigation but both want to know who is killing people, and why.

What I really like about his book is the way that we delve further into the characters’ respective histories. It adds more depth to them and we can really begin to see why they make certain decisions. Also, we get to see what the relationship is between the two main characters and how it has been formed and this is done really well, with only snippets of information and that really whets your appetite.

The Lowside world of Aedaron is absolutely fantastic and there are shady characters around every corner, each one as interesting as the next. Even the feel of the place is detailed brilliantly and, as a reader, you really start to imagine what it would be like to live in this world; scary, unforgiving and not for the faint hearted!

Pious Black is a very interesting character and is revealed with exceptional elegance in this story – I can’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil it!

The action in this short story is just fantastic, it moves with a quick, fluid pace and details every punch, kick and thrust of sword/scythe. Just brilliant.

As with every short story written by Mark Gelineau and Joe King, I just wish it was longer! I could read these for days on end and not be bored.

Rating: 4.5/5

Where to find Mark Gelineau and Joe King;