Vampire Book Review: Bloodshot by Cherie Priest
Author: Cherie Priest
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Bloodshot from celebrated author Cherie Priest is the fist book in a new urban fantasy series called Cheshire Red Reports. The protagonist in the books is Raylene, a vampire turned extraordinary thief who often uses her vampire speed and strength to bypass security systems; that’s what makes her so good at the jobs she does. Raylene is not just any regular vampire though, she has her share of problems. She’s a serious loner, tends to horde her possessions (even things like broken pens), is a tad paranoid and tends to over plan her actions. But she’ll tell you that it’s these “problems” that have kept her alive (or undead) for over 100 years.
Raylene is a high class thief that specializes in “finding” things that most humans couldn’t even fathom. She’s an expert lock picker, has a good knowledge of technology and knows how to cover her tracks. Over the years these skills, along with her superhuman strength, stealth and speed, have allowed her to amass a decent amount of money. She also has several real estate holdings around the country that she uses as safe houses; each house is registered under a different identity. Did I tell you she’s a tad paranoid?
Anyway, in Bloodshot Raylene is feeling a bit bored. Lately, her retrieval jobs have been relegated to finding videotapes of people found in compromising positions, jobs that waste the talents she’s honed over the years. So when a new job comes her way, one that involves helping a fellow vampire, she jumps at the chance to do something different. Even if it does mean dealing with a vampire, whose kind she’s worked hard to avoid.
Her new client, Ian Scott, informs her that he’s been altered by secret government-funded experiments performed some 10 years ago. He wants her to find the files which document the medical procedures they performed on him, in the hopes that he can have them reversed. As Raylene begins digging into this case her investigation does the one thing she’s worked hard to avoid: it puts her existence on the map. And not just any map; she finds herself suddenly in the cross hairs of some very dangerous government and military fanatics that will stop at nothing to keep her from locating those files and exposing their secrets. And if they can apprehend her without killing her that’s even better because she’s a prime specimen for future experiments.
Raylene’s mission eventually puts in her in the path of a former Navy SEAL turned drag queen, a snippy vampire’s assistant, a retired military officer with connections to the rich and powerful, a physician with serious ethics issues and various and sundry “Men in Black” types. Just know that not all of these people make it to the end of the book.
I liked Raylene’s character from the very start. I love the fact that she’s not your typical drop dead gorgeous, thin statuesque female vampire. Instead she’s an average height, average build woman with short hair who’s sometimes mistaken for a man. She’s also a strong badass chick that I enjoyed rooting for as she dodged bullets and attempted to escape from high security facilities. Priest has written a solid fantasy/action-adventure story that has all the ingredients for making it a prime candidate for a movie script. With Raylene’s smart and cynical sense of humor I envision someone like Sandra Bullock or Lucy Liu playing the role – they’d both do a great job bringing Raylene’s quirky point of view to life. And it’s Raylene’s dark humor and unique storytelling style that really shine in Bloodshot. Stay tuned for my review of the next book in the series, Hellbent.