Bloodshot by Cherie Priest
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had a few misgivings when I learned that the latest book by one of my new favorite writers was going to be an urban fantasy vampire story. Not my thing. I didn't make it even half-way through a crazy popular novel about sparkly vampires that's been made into crazy popular series of films. I finished, barely, a literary classic that had been paranormalized with vampires and zombies. But based on my delightful experiences with Cherie Priest's Boneshaker, Clementine, and Dreadnought, I had to give Bloodshot a try.
It worked for me. It kept me awake past my bedtime turning pages (which is more than I can say for the classic science fiction book I set aside). I'll tell you why. You can read the cover blurb for yourself.
Action. This book has plenty of action. One thing you must say about being a vampire master thief on the run from every police department including Interpol is that you don't lead a dull life. When Raylene isn't breaking into somebody else's warehouse or office, somebody is breaking into hers. This tends to lead to either a fight or a chase or both. The author does a great job with them all.
Adventure. This comes from being on the run and being a vampire. Raylene inhabits the night. She has to keep moving. Her latest job has her tracking down and stealing government documents about a secret project. This forces her to travel the country to follow clues and break into the aforementioned warehouses and offices and the reader gets to follow along.
Suspense. There are some good twists and turns here. I did see a couple of them coming, but not all. Secret government projects and mysterious men-in-black are not unfamiliar territory. But the author does a good job of weaving them into a fairly believable story (once you get past the bit about vampires existing).
Snark. I wasn't sure I would be able to tolerate Raylene's first-person narrative for the entire 359 pages. It grew on me. I mostly enjoyed it. I didn't find the humor to be laugh-out-loud funny. But the note of bemusement kept the tone of the story light.
I have a few complaints. There is at least one killing in the book that does not seem justified, even by Raylene's apparent moral code. Then again, she's a vampire, and a thief, and a killer. On at least one, maybe two, occasions I felt a little cheated by the ease and convenience of Raylene's escape from an impossible situation. This wasn't due to her skill or power, just a break that went her way.
But overall I was happy with my reading experience. I give it 4 stars out of 5. I'll be looking forward to the next Cheshire Red book, along with the next Clockwork Century book, and anything else that Cherie Priest writes.
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