Friday, March 30, 2018

Review and Giveaway: The Night Dahlia by R.S. Belcher

The Night Dahlia
Author:  R.S. Belcher
Series:  Nightwise 2
Publisher:  Tor Books, April 3, 2018
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
List Price:  US$18.99 (print); US$9.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780765390127 (print); 9780765390141 (eBook)

Laytham Ballard once protected humanity as part of the Nightwise, a secret order of modern-day mages dedicated to holding hellish supernatural forces at bay, but that was before a string of sadistic ritual murders shook everything he believed in—and sent him down a much darker path. One that has already cost him most of his soul, as well as everything he once held dear.

Now a powerful faerie mob boss has hired Ballard to find his lost-lost daughter, who went missing several years ago. The long-cold trail leads him across the globe, from the luxurious playgrounds of the rich and famous to the seedy occult underbelly of Los Angeles, where creatures of myth and legend mingle with street gangs and sex clubs, and where Ballard finds his own guilty past waiting for him around every shadowy corner. To find Caern Ankou, he will have to confront old enemies, former friends and allies, and a grisly cold case that has haunted him for years.

But is Caern still alive? And, perhaps more importantly, does she even want to be found?

Qwill's Thoughts

What can I say about Laytham Ballard, the anti-hero of the Nightwise novels by R.S. Belcher? He has a great capacity to do bad things. He's a powerful wizard, god-like in his strength. He's brilliant, selfish, egotistical, often violent. He's made terrible mistakes. He keeps everyone at arm's length preferring not to let anyone know that he is capable of any tender emotions. He's someone that will do whatever it takes to survive. He knows all of this about himself. And yet, he often does the right thing; often for the wrong reasons. In The Night Dahlia, Belcher dives deeply into Laytham's psyche and past while telling a fantastic story of Laytham's hunt for Lord Ankou's daughter, Caern, who disappeared years ago. He takes the job for selfish reasons - so can he reverse a mistake he made in the past.

The novel is primarily set in Los Angeles, California. Laytham is not welcome in LA. He was expelled from the Nightwise (supernatural police) in L.A. years ago though he claims he quit. He is haunted by a case he could not solve and the love he could not except and had abruptly left. There is a huge trail of hurt and pain Laytham has left behind. He is accompanied on this job by a retainer of Lord Ankou - Vigil Burris. Burris is there to make sure that Laytham does the job.

Belcher introduces a fascinating and wonderfully developed cast of characters from Laytham's past in L.A - Dragon, Anna, Dwayne and his dog Gretchen , and members of the Nightwise. Grinner, who we've met before, returns. Laytham gives us a tour of L.A.'s supernatural community while working to solve the mystery of Caern's disappearance and ditch Vigil Burris whenever he can. There is much dark, seedy and violent in this novel. That's Laytham's world and where he is most comfortable.

The novel moves at an almost breathtaking pace as Laytham tries to find the missing woman. He has a deep and eclectic understanding of magic which makes for some exotic rituals and incredible magical fights.  

The Night Dahlia is wonderfully written. It's a sheer pleasure to read - even the parts that are bloody and rough. This is a deeply layered novel on many levels. The mystery of Caern's disappearance is as tangled and intricate as Laytham himself. He still does things he shouldn't. He still makes bad decisions. However, he has a capacity to do good that I think may rival his capacity for evil - if only he'd believe it.

Laytham Ballard may not be the hero we want, but he is certainly the badass anti-hero we need. The Night Dahlia is a fabulous, entertaining and intricately wrought novel. Outstanding!

Read R.S. Belcher's post: The Night at the Edge of the Road: Where the Nightwise and Brotherhood of the Wheel Series Intersect here.


Nightwise 1
Tor Books, January 16, 2018 (New Cover & Additional Content)
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
Trade Paperback, September 20, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, August 18, 2015

R.S. Belcher, the acclaimed author of The Six-Gun Tarot and The Shotgun Arcana launches a gritty new urban fantasy series set in today's seedy occult underworld in Nightwise.

In the more shadowy corners of the world, frequented by angels and demons and everything in-between, Laytham Ballard is a legend. It's said he raised the dead at the age of ten, stole the Philosopher's Stone in Vegas back in 1999, and survived the bloodsucking kiss of the Mosquito Queen. Wise in the hidden ways of the night, he's also a cynical bastard who stopped thinking of himself as the good guy a long time ago.

Now a promise to a dying friend has Ballard on the trail of an escaped Serbian war criminal with friends in both high and low places-and a sinister history of blood sacrifices. Ballard is hell-bent on making Dusan Slorzack pay for his numerous atrocities, but Slorzack seems to have literally dropped off the face of the Earth, beyond the reach of his enemies, the Illuminati, and maybe even the Devil himself. To find Slorzack, Ballard must follow a winding, treacherous path that stretches from Wall Street and Washington, D.C. to backwoods hollows and truckstops, while risking what's left of his very soul . . . .

See Qwill's review here.

The Giveaway

What:  1 Trade Paperback copy of The Night Dahlia by R.S. Belcher. US / CANADA ONLY

  • Send an email to theqwillery . contests @ [remove the spaces]
  • In the subject line, enter “Ballard“ with or without the quotation marks.
  • In the body of the email, please provide your name and full mailing address. The winning address is used only to mail the novel(s) and is provided The Qwillery only for that purpose. All other address information will be deleted by The Qwillery once the giveaway ends.
Who:  The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a United States or Canadian mailing address.

When:  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on April 13, 2018. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*


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