Book Review – Dark Blood by Caleb James

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.

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Caleb James is a new author to me, but Dark Blood definitely won’t be the last book of his I read. I loved this story, and it kept me reading far too late at night because I had to find out what happened, and I wasn’t sure what kind of ending it would be. While I was reading I kept thinking ‘wow’ this is such a good book. It’s one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Dark Blood is a very tense, edge of seat, read, and I was hooked from the first page. I’m not sure I’d call it horror but that probably depends on what the reader’s definition of the genre is. There is, however, a lot of horrific stuff going on which highlights man’s ability to torture and harm others. Gerald Stangl is a nasty piece of work, and the author showed that very well. His casual comments about someone dying were chilling, as was his lack of morality. I thought the author showed fanaticism very well—the most dangerous adversaries are the ones who believe totally in what they are doing. Gerald’s son, Calvin, I actually felt a little sorry for. He’s a product of his father’s upbringing and very misguided. His attraction to Miles is just… I’m just going to say that the author did a great job with Calvin as a character and avoid spoilers.

On the flip side, Miles and Luke reflect what is good in human nature. I loved their friendship, and the way Luke didn’t hesitate to put himself in danger in an attempt to save Miles. Now that is true love. I also loved Tomas, and his conversations with Miles. Miles’s grandmother, Anna, has her own inner demons, which is understandable considering everything she has been through, and her personality came through very strongly. I enjoyed reading about her and Miles’s relationship.

The world building in Dark Blood is very well thought out, and I loved the idea of the ‘grail’ gene being handed down within a family, and the way the author brought in a rather nasty period of history into the mix. The other way in which the gene can be passed on was very clever, and I loved a certain scene concerning that, and the aftermath—Sorry, trying to avoid spoilers. Dark Blood is tied up nicely at the end, but there’s also an opening left for a sequel. I’m really hoping we haven’t seen the last of this world and its characters. More please.

I’d recommend Dark Blood to readers who love stories with a fast paced plot, characters with powers, fanatical bad guys, and don’t mind reading about just how evil some men can be and how nothing is going too far to achieve their goals. 5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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