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Review: Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

Bloodshot by Cherie Priest
Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Trade Paperback $15.00 (384 pages, SPECTRA)
Ebook $15.00
Audiobook $24.99-$29.99
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.

Author Site: www.cheriepriest.com

Urban Fantasy Worth Bleeding For (5 stars)

Various international crime fighting organizations know him as Cheshire Red. A damned good thief with a reputation for getting his hands on the loot and getting away clean. The only problem with their information? He's really a female vampire named Raylene Pendle. While other vampires join Houses and enjoy the safety of numbers, she prefers not having to answer to anyone. In the business of coming into possession of goods of all sorts by less than legal means she accepts a rather unusual client looking to get some paperwork from the government. Ian Stott is a vampire left blind after the military used him as an unwilling guinea pig.

She might not like dealing with her own kind but she's sure as heck not about to let them be lab rats to a pack of government goons. When Raylene digs into Ian's case with fervor the rabbit hole just keeps twisting and turning the deeper it goes. Men in black, drag queens and urban explorers pop out of the woodwork making this vampire's afterlife a real pain in the neck. Where Ian's papertrail leads may prove to be an adventure worthy of immortality.

When I read Cherie Priest—whose Boneshaker blew me away—was coming out with a vampire tale I was chomping at the bit for its release. Fortunately, she's delivered in spades.

In a genre cluttered with lackluster babe-a-licious tough chicks poured into leather bustiers and toting big guns it's hard to find a truly likable, balanced heroine. Sure this is a genre built on fables of blood sucking monsters and pissed-off poltergeists but after a while the cookie-cutter girls-who-love-leather this genre is famous for get old. Having a little fresh air blown into the UF lungs once in a while is good for a readers soul. Raylene is far from being the bombshell in skintight clothes blasting away at every enemy and never missing a target. She's got plenty of weaknesses and as she narrates with an obsessive-compulsiveness that is both annoying and endearing. Yeah, she kicks a lot of butt in this story but most of the time she's saved by her bag of tricks and her ability to blend in.

Vampires in this book aren't as crazily superhuman as many others make them which for me really brought it down to Earth. It had that edge of believability that made it easy to fall into the story without starting to mentally tear apart the world building. One of the things I love about Priest's writing is that like Devon Monk writes Portland, Oregon with the detail and passion of a native, Priest makes Seattle a character unto itself. Sure, there are other locations where Raylene's adventure carries her but anyone who loves Seattle will feel the loving brushstrokes as she details each scene.

But enough about that stuff, what about the plot you ask? I thought it was slightly generic at its core. It's been done in movies this is just a new spin on the evil government experiment victims trying to get justice trope. Yet somehow in Priest's hands it felt almost new. She took it places and did things with it that never bored me. The pacing is so fast and well driven that I had a terrible time putting the book down. The two nights I read it I fell asleep with it in my hands. There is so much action and tension and running and hiding and cat-and-mouse going on I felt almost as if I was reading a movie tie-in. All of the action was well executed too. There wasn't a bit of it that felt contrived or clumsy. The only bit of the book I wasn't satisfied with was the ending. I felt a little like it ended too soon. I wanted more. The plot tied up too smoothly to expect another book featuring Raylene and co. but I would be first in line if there was.

To sum up my thoughts, if you love Urban Fantasy, read this book. It has something to offer without all the smut and moping (which I like too... just not in every single UF book I read) that seem to be the norm for the genre lately. Much bad guy butt gets kicked, drag queens will sparkle and Priest fans will love this one.

Other Reviews:
B. Walker on Amazon.com
Melindeeloo on Goodreads

Notes: Received ARC via Amazon Vine program.

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