Cover image for Black dog
Black dog
Kittredge, Caitlin, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper Voyager, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2014]
Physical Description:
344 pages ; 21 cm.
"Ava has spent the last hundred years as a hellhound, the indentured servant of a reaper who tracks down errant souls and sends them to Hell. When a human necromancer convinces her to steal her reaper's Scythe, Ava lands in hot water with the demon Lilith, her reaper's boss. Lilith orders Ava to track down the last soul in her reaper's ledger, or die trying. But when Ava discovers that Lilith actually sent her after the fallen angel Azrael, she realizes she's being used as a pawn in Lilith's scheme to usurp the throne of Hell. Ava's had enough--after a hundred years of being used and enslaved, it's time for some payback. And Hell's never seen a fury like hers..."--
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On Order



The first installment in a fabulous dark urban fantasy series--think Kill Bill with demons and gangsters instead of martial arts--from the award-winning author of the Iron Codex trilogy and Vertigo comic Coffin Hill.

Ava has spent the last hundred years as a hellhound, the indentured servant of a reaper who hunts errant souls and sends them to Hell. When a human necromancer convinces her to steal her reaper's scythe, Ava incurs the wrath of the demon Lilith, her reaper's boss.

As punishment for her transgression, Lilith orders Ava to track down the last soul in her reaper's ledger . . . or die trying.

But after a hundred years of servitude, it's time for payback. And Hell hath no fury like an avenging Ava. . . .

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

There's no gentle way to put it: Ava is a hellhound. Literally. She's a long-serving servant of a reaper (as in the grim . . .) who tracks down people marked for death and helps them on their way. Sometimes, she's obliged to take canine form to help speed up the process. When Ava foolishly gets involved in a scheme masterminded by someone who has it in for her boss, she winds up with a seemingly impossible task: find the last remaining soul on the reaper's list, or face the end of her own life. She could run scared, but that's not Ava; instead, she goes on the offensive. This is the first book in a new urban-fantasy series, and it's definitely a keeper. The pacing is speedy without being too rapid, the character design is intriguing (Ava's boss, the reaper, is a particularly rich creation), and the story is a clever riff on the tried-and-true revenge motif: woman faces seemingly insurmountable odds to save her own life. Lots of promise here; make this one a series to watch.--Pitt, David Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This confusing hodgepodge of the damned--comprising hellhounds, shapeshifters, warlocks, vampires, demons, fallen angels, and two varieties of deadheads, among others--is an inauspicious start to the Hellhound Chronicles. The unnecessary clutter of characters gets in the way of the story and deflects the reader's attention from the heroine, Ava, a hellhound. In both human and canine form, she collects souls of the damned for her employer, a particularly nasty reaper called Gary. Ava is a potentially sympathetic character, struggling to make sense of her previous life, chafing against the hellish abuse of her reaper, and dealing with the existential loneliness of the hell-bound. Had she not been forced to share the spotlight with a necromancing Russian mobster, an enfeebled fallen angel, and a 1,000-year-old demon, Ava's strong presence might have been just enough to bring this book back from the dead. Even fans of Kittredge's Iron Codex Trilogy will struggle with this one. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

After a hundred years as a hellhound collecting souls for a reaper named Gary, Ava fails to collect Leo Ivanof, a human necromancer who talks her into trying to kill Gary and win her freedom. It doesn't quite work out, and Ava and Leo end up on the run from Gary's demon boss, Lilith, who wants Ava to collect one last soul. But the man she sends her after doesn't have a soul, and now the three of them are running from a pretty angry demon. VERDICT Ava's backstory is told in flashbacks, but she never seems to come alive on the page, waffling between angry ass-kicker and crying victim. Though Kittredge ("Nocturne City" series) employs an enjoyable variation on the standard urban fantasy worldbuilding, with angels, demons, warlocks, and hellhounds, the elements don't gel into a compelling story. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.