BOOK REVIEW: Hounds of the Underworld by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray

Title: Hounds of the Underworld

Author: Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray

Audiobook Length: 8 hours and 18 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Crime, Mystery

Read Start Date: April 21, 2023

Read Finish Date: April 24, 2023

No. of Book in Series: 1

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads:  On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.

My Review: I received this audiobook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hounds of the Underworld is about siblings Matiu and Penny, who team up to solve a man’s disappearance. Penny, on the brink of losing her laboratory, is hired by the police for her services, and Matiu, her adopted Maori brother, tags along to the crime scene. Accidentally touching a bloodied bowl on the floor, Matiu hears a cacophony of screams in his head and wakes up his childhood imaginary friend, Makere. The siblings are thrust into a dark world of dog fighting, murder, and supernatural forces.

With respect to the audiobook recording, I really loved listening to the New Zealand accents of the narrators. The book includes a list of Maori terms that were used throughout the book, but I didn’t find it helpful in the audiobook version. With a paperback, you could flip to the back to see the definition, but by the end of the audiobook, it was already too late.

The dog fighting ring depicted in the story may be a trigger for dog lovers — it was for me. I was ready to cry at some points in the book and I was not happy that the authors didn’t do more to at least have a happy ending for a certain dog I have in mind.

The book starts off slow, focusing on the siblings’ relationship, but picks up pace in the last half and ends on a cliffhanger. Since this book was first published in 2017 (I think the audiobook format was just released), the 2nd and 3rd books in the trilogy are already published and available. I already have a long list of books on my “TBR” list this year, but I will definitely be adding the next books for reading in the future.

Reviews Published
Professional Reader
10 Book Reviews

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


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