Killing Rocks (The Bloodhound Files #3) by D.D. Barant

Killing Rocks - D.D. Barant

With a lead on Asher and Stoker, Jace is headed to Vegas to hopefully catch the one mage who can take her home and fill out her employment contract by taking Stoker out. Naturally, any plan that Jace is involved in cannot run smoothly.  Before she knows it, Jace is seperated from her team, Charlie has been enchanted and her only two allies are Tair - her former doctor/friend turned evil and a spy from another world she doesn't know.  All of Jace's choices are bad but she knows that she must move forward if she has any hope of saving her friends and while she's at it, the world.

Of all of the books in The Bloodhound Files that I have read to date, Killing Rocks seems easily the most confused.  First, we have the switch to several different planes of existence and the creatures which inhabit them.  It made it hard to understand what was what and where exactly the story was taking place at any given moment.  There were too many unfamiliar myths wrapped into the story and some quite frankly never become relevant.  At times, Killing Rocks is overly descriptive making it a struggle not to skim - a struggle I lost in passages of the novel.  

In Killing Rocks, we saw a lot of Jace's former life as part of a dream spell which haunted her.  In these scenes we saw her work interactions with serial killers, trying to assure that they paid for their misdeeds and the toll it took on her.  This is one of the few times we have seen Jace vulnerable and it really worked.  The kick ass protagonist able to whip her gun out and order people around is a bit of a cardboard trope and Jace's backstory and personality needed to progress beyond the constant and mostly juvenile sarcasm.

In Killing Rocks, Barant started to deal with what makes one a slave, with uprising of the golems.  Charlie believes strongly that golems should be in charge of their own reproduction and no longer wants to be viewed as a commodity.  He tells Jace that lems are people even they don't care about food or sex.  It takes a little while for Jace to start to see Charlie's point of view and when she does, she realises that parents don't charge their children for being born, yet that is not the case with Lems. She further realises that the right to procreate should be a basic right, yet it's withheld from Lems.  This line of thought by Jace is unfortunately very brief.  I think that Barant could have delved deeper into this.  I did however like who the world learned how central lems are for running it efficiently.

Once gain The Bloodhound Files continues it horrible ableism.

 “I am different. I’m a criminal profiler for the FBI, specializing in hunting down homicidal psychos—a job that doesn’t seem to exist here. Pires and thropes and lems don’t go crazy—well, they never used to, anyway—so they need me to hunt down Stoker, who’s definitely out of his gourd—” 

The woman in the flowery dress shakes her head. “I don’t know what that means.”

“Mentally unstable. Deranged. Squirrelly. Nuts. Wacko. Out to lunch—”  

Nasally Mustache frowns. “You’re no different from anyone else, Jace. You have to accept that before we can help you.”   

 “—insane in the brain. Off his meds. Unable to locate his marbles. Needs to be fitted for a long-sleeved love-me jacket so he can hug himself all day long. Bats in the control center, long-term resident of a rubber room, lights are on but so is the  VACANCY   sign—”  (pg 4-5)

Could Barant have included any more slurs for mentally ill people?  If that were not enough, Barant has Stoker apologise and admit to being unbalanced.  The thing is, I cannot get behind the idea that Stoker is a terroist when there are only one million humans left and just in world war II alone, pires slaughtered 6 million of them so they could reproduce.  Rebellion isn't supposed to look pretty and it seems as though humanity has undergone a genocide. 



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