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.
When I picked up this book to review, I was an urban fantasy novice. The only vampires I had ever met were those in Terry Pratchett Discworld novels. I’m just not ‘into’ them.
Having finished reading Bloodshot, I don’t think I’m a vampire – or urban fantasy, for that matter – novice, and if not a fan of urban fantasy in general – or vampires in particular – I am a fan of Cherie Priest’s writing and her characters.
As a fellow writer, I admire Cherie’s demonstration of the craft. Bloodshot is a phenomenal work, not least because it is written in the first person. Cherie grasps this writing technique with both hands and turns it into a treasure trove of images and concepts. Through Raylene, the narrator, we see the world through a vampire’s eyes. Her running commentary is lively, witty, at times biting, and altogether entertaining. We are also not spared the vampish tendencies – such as thinking of their last killing as supper.
The story begins with Raylene, an accomplished thief, receiving a note from a fellow vampire, Ian. From Raylene we learn that this is not good news. For one, she is pretty untraceable, and she makes it clear to the listener that she does not like other vampires. Intrigued, however, Raylene meets up with Ian to find out his story, and discovers a job that will test her research and thieving abilities. Captured by Project Bloodshot, a military project intent on trying to capture vampire abilities for military uses, Ian was blinded before he could escape. Now, with the assistance of a kind doctor in Canada, he is trying to regain his sight – for which he needs paperwork from Project Bloodshot, decommissioned years earlier. This is where Raylene comes in, as he hopes she can locate the paperwork.
The task sends Raylene across America, and into more hives of angry wasps than she usually cares to attract – if one is to believe her. These do, however, bring out the best of her vampire abilities, which are really cool to experience. While dealing with the intricacies of her project for Ian, however, she must battle against some personal invasions as one of her warehouses is located and invaded by the Feds.
This book will take any reader on a roller-coaster ride through Raylene’s life, and I recommend it very highly.