Raylene Pendle (also known as Cheshire Red) is a renowned thief who steals everything from priceless art and rare jewels to people's dirty secrets. She also happens to be a vampire but apart from an aversion to the sun and not ageing, that doesn't stop her in the slightest.
A bit of a loner, not playing well with others of her kind, she finds herself nonetheless asissting the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott when he asks for help 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 frozen outskirts 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.
Bloodshot just proves the point that you should never judge a book by it's cover, not having read any previous Cherie Priest novels I didn't know what to expect but the cover and setting suggested "paranormal romance" a sub-genre I like to stay well clear of. Appearances in this case were very deceiving, Bloodshot is a delectable urban fantasy novel with a great story and strong, likeable characters.
Narrated from the first person, there is a real confident, relaxed feeling to the prose which lends itself perfectly when the narrator happens to be well over a hundred years old. This powerful yet calm voice along with some excellent characterisation makes the reading experience a very comfortable and highly enjoyable one.
The story itself is well thought out and moves along at just the right pace to keep the reader glued to the pages while the character of Raylene really does steal the show, confident, sassy and wonderfully complex you just can't help but like hearing about her (un)life and the first person works very well, perfectly complimenting the noir, street detective feel.
It is nice to see a Vampire Urban Fantasy that doesn't go over the top in the romance stakes (pun intended), the market is pretty saturated at the moment with Vampires and Werewolves so much that you can't turn a corner without bumping into them but that doesn't mean there aren't good examples of the genre and Bloodshot is one such novel. It is clear that the big story arc is meant to be told over at least a few novels, but it still works well as a stand alone too.
Bloodshot is a confident, stylish novel that stands out in the crowd, recommended.
Written on 03 August 2011 by Antony Jones.
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