Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blind Eyes and Six Inch Heels: My Review of Cherie Priests's "Bloodshot"

We’ve all heard people who regret their tattoos. But I would rather spend an eternity with tweety bird inked on my ass than knowing there’s a hide-the-cucumber short film out there with my name on it, and my bank account tells me I’m not alone. I’ve done three pilfer-the-porno cases in the last eight months, and I’ve got another one on deck.
Bloodshot Cherie Priest pg. 1

Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride.
                I reviewed Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker here about this time last year. As I recall it was a straight forward type of steampunk, and lots was put forward in an attempt to world build and such. And it was a pretty kid-friendly piece about a boy, his search for acceptance, a Mother and her choices in life and a rag tag assortment of others all under the shadow of a wall and the threat of Rotters.

                Not so for Bloodshot.

                In Bloodshot – there is no being PC, there is no watering down and there is no problem with being a potty mouth. We have a ick ass vampire heroine who turned in the 20s and has no problem cussing up a storm, killing humans to eat or calling a fourteen year old “a little shit”. She is Raylene and she is a procurer of lost things, and she is her own person, (un)living it up in Seattle and keeping away from anyone her kind who will get her into trouble. She is also the Cheshire Red – a thief wanted on more international criminal lists then not, and suspected by all to be a man. And she is on the precipice of some giant changes.

                So awesome.

                The story follows this kick ass heroine as she takes on a new case – from a Vamp, the very species she avoids (though she is one) and all the chaos that ensues – especially when it turns out that the case she’s on involves shady government projects that are very off the books, a neurotic human slave and an ass-kicking (yes that term will be used a lot in this review) six foot drag queen ex Navy Seal out for revenge on his sister’s disappearance ten years ago. Not to mention two homeless kids who managed to worm their way through Raylene’s gruff exterior, and a mystery the size of Washington State.

                The pace is great through the story – it is part detective novel and part thriller, and it has the pacing for both, charging straight ahead (including decapitations) when the moment calls for it, and pulling back for those long quiet scenes where our heroine reads files when she needs more information. Priest balances out these two different genres  and the supernatural element with apparent ease, swapping her characters like pawns on a chess board and drawing them to their natural conclusion.

                As different as it is from Boneshaker, I must say, I really liked the plot and the feel of this novel – with its contemporary characters set in such a realistic world – it felt gritty and real and very palatable. Raylene is a very complex, sarcastic character, and her voice was wonderful – her dead pan deliver of some great lines would have made this a great comedy had she chosen to go that way, but Priest reigns in her character so that the sarcasm becomes biting (no pun intended) and the demeanor cool and assessing. And again, kick ass.

                Though it was a shorter read then I might have liked, the last few chapters were dynamite – setting up the story for the next book – which I am eagerly anticipating – and concluding this chapter of the saga well.

                All together, it is a good start to a series and a great read with funny and gritty memorable characters and a novel concept in addition to a heroine that goes above and beyond to hook you in.

Up Next to Review : Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine

Read if you liked:
  • Birdsof Prey
  • Veronica Mars
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer


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