BLOODSHOT by Cherie Priest
“Bloodshot” is a kind of mixed genre novel combining urban fantasy, mystery and just a little bit of romance. All these elements are flawlessly blended into a literary concoction you’d love to just stay at the bar and knock back with.
And Ms. Priest’s main character, Raylene, is definitely the kind of character you’d like to have a drink with, if she’d accept it.
It’s almost a staple of the urban fantasy genre that the kick ass heroine must in fact kick some ass, and that’s something Raylene does with aplomb, ranking right up there with Anita Blake on body count (a compliment to both authors, by the way).
Raylene is hired by the mysterious and blind fellow vampire Ian to hunt down and steal his medical records from the government that experimented on him. A blind vampire…that’s pretty cool, we so seldom, if at all, think of vampires as having any kind of real “disabilities”, being immortal and having special powers and everything.
Raylene, as some other reviewers have noted, is not your typical vampire, and might I venture to say, that is SO refreshing. She might be rich, filthy rich in fact, but that’s where the similarities end as far as vampire stereotypes are concerned. She doesn’t really like hanging around other vampires, she likes her solitude, revels in it even, and doesn’t sit around bemoaning her vampire fate or waxing philosophical about life and death.
Raylene is a professional thief, which is why Ian hires her in the first place. Known as “Cheshire Red” in international thieving circles, she knows how to get what she wants, or what her clients want, without being caught. She’s the perfect candidate to figure out why the government experimented on Ian and other vampires, and nothing gets in her way of finding out, despite being chased by Men in Black and the mad scientists who funded the who experiment.
Not to mention Raylene has a somewhat (at first) reluctant sidekick, an ex-Navy SEAL dude who can also rock a glittery silver thong and high heels.
Raylene’s sarcastic sense of humor had me both cheering for her and laughing out loud. It takes talent to write a character that can be both caustic AND sympathetic, and Ms. Priest can do both.
When the vampire genre is so full of weak females needing to be saved by some dreamy hunk, I can tell you not only does Raylene not need saving by some dude, she’d break off the offending males most favorite body part and burn it. She doesn’t NEED love, NEED tenderness and understanding, or a guy to complete her or make her happy, she needs a good mystery, adventure and the adrenaline rush of thieving and spying.
I began reading the story with interest and I followed along, appreciating Raylene’s “fuck you” attitude, but the moment I truly jumped on her bandwagon was when she escaped from the military compound in the middle of a Minnesota winter, defeating and defying the government tools trying to capture her. As she sprints across the snow, papers tucked securely away, she exclaims “Fuck those guys and all they stand for!” and I have to tell you, I was right along with her, along for the ride, with the full confidence of knowing that whatever she faced, she was going to get hers, no matter what.
Raylene has a number of great quotable lines in this book, but I have to say that “Listen, punk, when you get to the end of the street, I want you to go into that coffee place and buy some hot chocolate,” had to be one of my favorites.
This is the first book I read by Cherie Priest, and I can tell you it won’t be the last, since after finishing “Bloodshot” I had to go and put “Boneshaker” on my Kindle. Not wanted to. HAD to. “Bloodshot” is the first in a series called the “Cheshire Red Reports”, and I’ll be marking down the calendar until I can read more about Raylene.