Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hellbent by Cherie Priest

Hellbent is Cherie Priest's sequel to her Urban Fantasy debut; Bloodshot.

Vampire art thief Raylene Pendle is settling into what passes for domestic bliss in her life, having set up house with blind vampire Ian Stott and her two adopted children; the runaways Pepper and Domino. Former Navy SEAL and drag queen Adrian/Rose is also nearby, having decided to settle in Seattle after the events of Bloodshot.

Raylene receives contact from her most regular source for burglary jobs; the shady art dealer Horace. Horace has a particularly bizarre request for his supernatural thief. He wants her to steal a box of baculum. Baculum are the penis bones of magical creatures. A slew of 'dick jokes' ensues. Maybe I'm juvenile, but I found many of these highly amusing.

In the process of obtaining the box, Raylene also acquires a kitten. While trying to track down who now has the magical artifacts, Ian's vampire father dies and Raylene and Adrian find themselves interceding in vampire politics between two vampire houses; those of San Francisco and Atlanta. The Atlanta house is of particular interest to Adrian, as they are believed to know about his sister; Isabella.

The Raylene Pendle series is more about the relationships between the principals than anything else, although the stories are exciting and involving, plus the government conspiracy started in Bloodshot hangs over the whole thing. I particularly enjoy the developing relationship between Raylene and Adrian. There's never the issue of it being anything other than platonic, but even without them realising it they may become ghoul and vampire mistress. Cherie Priest's dialogue sparkles and her characters are amusing and worth reading about. As I've said I'm not really a fan of the vampire hero in Urban Fantasy, but Raylene has hooked me and I'll be keeping an eye out for the followup to Hellbent.

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