Saturday, November 26, 2011
Bloodshot by Cherie Priest
I normally avoid Urban Fantasy's featuring vampires like the plague, so why did I pick up Cherie Priest's Bloodshot? There were a few reasons behind the purchase. Despite the main character being a female vampire, an ass kicking one at that, the idea sounded intriguing, Cherie Priest is a quality author (her 2009 opening novel to her steampunk Clockwork Century series; Boneshaker, was nominated for the Hugo in 2010) and Bloodshot was cheap at a Borders going out of business sale.
Bloodshot is a little different from a lot of the vampire infested Urban Fantasy at the moment in that the heroine; Raylene Pendle, is a vampire herself, and she's not a PI or a member of the law enforcement community, she's an art thief. Against her better judgement she takes on a mysterious case from Ian Stott, another vampire. What makes Raylene's 'spider sense' tingle about Stott's case is that he wants her to retrieve classified government documents about a program called Bloodshot.
The case forces Raylene across states, well out of her comfort zone, nearly destroys her carefully built up life, ruins her support network and gives her a sidekick in the form of ex Navy SEAL and current drag queen Sister Rose.
It's a fast paced story and it rattles along with things blowing up and people getting killed on a pretty regular basis. It's interesting enough, although a fair bit of it is paint by the numbers Urban Fantasy. I have to admit to liking Sister Rose, and being taken by Raylene's 'pet children' runaway siblings Domino and Pepper, especially the part fey Pepper. There's a definite mystery behind that abused little girl.
Despite it's relatively throwaway nature Bloodshot has hooked me enough to want to read the sequel Hellbent, if for no other reason than to get the actual conclusion to the story started here. Bloodshot doesn't actually end on a cliffhanger, but it's definitely not standalone.
Raylene has an interesting history that I do want to find out more about, and she's given the vampires in this world (which refreshingly appears to be our world, not some alternate version where vampires, etc... are accepted members of society) an interesting history, with rules that govern their society and lifestyle. Like any good story teller Cherie Priest gave readers just enough to keep them interested, but not so little that all they got was frustrated.
Raylene is annoyingly well prepared (one of the things I like about Laura Resnick's Esther Diamond series is the fact that Esther is completely clueless and totally unprepared for the dangerous magical situations she invariably finds herself in), and she has a tendency to keep talking about her vampire advantages, she continually referred to how she appears as a blur when she moves really fast. I got that the first three times she said it.
Those criticisms aside Bloodshot is a strong entry into the field and I will probably pick up Hellbent when I can.