Book Review: Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

Cheshire Red aka Raylene Pendleton the antagonist of the piece, is a vampire, which is unfortunate for Raylene because I’m a little bit bored of vampires. They just seem a little bit overdone of late. However the first I heard of the author Cherie Priest was when I read and loved her Hugo nominated novel Boneshaker, so I was more than willing to put my vampire weary cynicism to one side.

Anyway back to Raylene. Not only is she a vampire but an international art thief. However when she is approached by Ian Stott, another vampire (and Raylene doesn’t like other vampires), her curiosity and his charm lead her to accept a case to retrieve some missing government files – details of biological experiments on vampires.

Raylene didn’t expect ex-army villains, psychotic scientists, parkour enthusiasts, the men in black and a kick-ass drag queen on her tail.

As I said earlier, I’m a little bored of vampires so initially I found this book a little hard to get into. However as the plot kicked in and the supporting cast developed I found myself doing the look of surprise that one does when one realises how far into a book you are, the inference being that you must be quite enjoying it.

I got into it because the plot, although basic, is sound and the little twists it comes with are definitely enjoyable and add to the flavour and world that Priest has created here. Not only that but it moves at a great pace, allowing the characters moments to ‘breathe’ but never letting up on the suspense. The supporting cast is brilliant: from the kids that Raylene ‘uses as security’ to the drag queen that becomes her ally.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the book is Raylene herself. She is paranoid, obsessive, cocky and always a step away from a panic attack. Her morals are dubious and she has no problem with taking life. In short, I don’t like her: she’s not very likeable. I’ve always said however, that characters don’t have to be likeable to be interesting and she is witty, determined, surprisingly loyal and most importantly evolving, and it is that evolution which is her saving grace.

The other saving grace for this book was that the ‘vampire mythos’ did not become all consuming.  While there are hints about the deeper vampire social structure, this book is definitely a crime book that happens to be about vampires rather than the other way round.

Priest seems to be doing a supernatural creature tour, what with her last book about zombies, this one about vampires and a sequel ‘Hellbent’ which involves a witch.

Despite myself, I’m not only keen for more of Priests work; I’m also ready for more of Raylenes world. A kickass world that drags you around by something uncomfortable and only let’s go so it can do it again.

GS Reporter: Monts

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