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Book Review

Book Cover



Cherie Priest
Titan Books
RRP: £7.99, US $15.00
ISBN: 978 0 85768 645 9
Available 05 July 2011

Raylene Pendle is not your average vampire, for a start she makes a living as a very successful thief of the rare and the precious. When Ian Stott hires her to find his medical notes she is intrigued. For a start Ian is also a vampire, a blind vampire, courtesy of being forcibly initiated into a government, experimental, program. This meant that the army knew of the existence of vampires and worse, they had possibly found a way to harm them. Regardless of her feeling for her client, this case was also a matter of personal survival for Raylene...

Bloodshot is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy by Cherie Priest. With so many vampire novels out there, at the moment, Priest’s twist on the genre would need to be different to be noticeable, thankfully it is.

Priest has taken some elements of the vampire myth and turned them down so that when her hero finds herself in trouble, there is a real risk that she could be hurt or killed. Stripped of most of the usual vampire powers Raylene is faster than humans and harder to kill, but there is no flying and thankfully no angst ridden core yearning to be human again.

The book is written in a first person, conversational style, which makes for an easy read, it also allows the audience a front row seat on Raylene's fears and neurosis. She is imbued with faults and frailties which make the character come to life. You might even say they put character flesh on the bones.

Her initial contact brings her face to face with an army experiment, not only on vampires but also, as the book hints, on werewolves, which brings the opportunity in the later books to bring in other mythical creatures. Her investigation has her on the run from some persistent and deadly agents, who seem to be barely a step behind through most of the narrative. Her travels take her to Atlanta and across the country in search of the truth, before the truth has a chance to kill her.

I’m not a great fan of vampire novels, probably because of the glut of them in the market; most of whom are unremarkable as novels. Priest has sensibly not relied on the vampire angle too much to solve the mystery, even if clues do seem to conveniently fall into Raylene’s lap at opportune moments.

What singles out this book from the others is the wit and warmth with which it is written, her characters are sympathetic, especially Raylene and the pace of the story means that there is little time for the audience to get bored, though those looking for a blood, fangs and teenage angst experience may be a little disappointed.


Charles Packer

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