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September 23rd, 2011


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02:42 pm - Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

Bloodshot, by Cherie PriestTruth be told, I'm not much for vampire stories as a rule -- modern vampires novels tend to over-romantacize them, for my taste, and the stories often become drenched in sentiment.

Buuuuut .... I do like a nice, noirish mystery thriller.

I think I saw a preview for this on Scribd, and, on the promise that this wasn't another soppy vampire romance, I decided to download an excerpt, and give it a shot.

It says something that after reading the first two or three chapters in the excerpt, I immediately had to get a copy of it.

So, with no further ado, lets go through the usual breakdown:


Premise:  Raylene Pendle, a professional thief, also happens to be a nearly century-old vampire.  Independently wealthy from her long history of thefts, she stays in the business mostly for the challenge and gamesmanship.  She is a loner who, unlike most vampires does not belong to a "house", like most vampires.


Story:  She is surprised when she is contacted by another lone vampire, Ian, requesting her services.  it develops that Ian had been captured by a secret government project and subjected to experiments which have left him blinded.  He has been in contact with a doctor who might be able to restore some of his sight, if only he can provide the original documentation, which is held in keeping in a secure government warehouse.  Who better to obtain it, than a professional theif like Raylene?

Shortly after meeting with Ian, Raylene finds out that a warehouse she owns has been invaded.  She captures, questions, and then dispatches the invader.  She decides to investigate the organization that apparently lies behind this invasion.


Positives:

  • The writing is smooth, the story-telling, taut
  • Raylene becomes alive as a compelling, flawed, appealing character.
  • Subsidiary characters also become quit convincing -- especially an ex-military drag queen who calls himself "Sister Rose", who has been investigating the disappearance of his sister, who was also a vampire, and proceeds to lend invaluable assistance to Raylene in her subsequent adventures
  • This book is *really* hard to put down.  I found myself picking it up whenever I could in the course of the week to discover how Raylene got herself out of a given fix -- which, inevitably, led to her getting into a worse fix
  • There is a good deal of humor in the story, with Raylenes wiseass commentary about herself, other people, and events, given in first-person narration.
  • Finally, the author pulls a clever trick here, which is really very difficult to pull off:  "transparency".  This is when the subjective voice of the narrator belies something that is obvious to the reader that the character does not, themselves, realize.  In this case, Raylene likes to self-dramatize herself as being tough and jaded, but, from her own description, it becomes evident that she has a soft spot for those  who are outsiders or otherwise marginalized.
  • The transparency would be striking on its own, but the author also manages to make Raylene a dynamic character -- she is significantly changed and affected by the events of the story.



Negatives

The one thing that kind of bothered me about the main character was the cavalier way she dispatched human life -- even in circumstances where it was not really necessitated by concerns for self defense or the safety of others


Evaluation

All in all, an engaging story, well told, with a surprising level of literary skill for a genre novel.  It says something that I am looking forward to reading the next entry in the series -- and am only holding off until my schedule is a little freer, so I don't end up shirking responsibilities to find out "what's gonna happen next!?"

Assessment

Recommended!  I highly enjoyed this.  If you like action/adventure/investigation stories, you will find this an entertaining page turner.

(Buuuuuut -- if what you are in the market for is a soppy, romantic vampire story -- better to look elsewhere!)

Other Reviews of this Book

http://www.mybookishways.com/2011/08/review-bloodshot-cheshire-red-1-by-cherie-priest.html
http://myguiltyobsession.blogspot.com/2011/08/bloodshot-cheshire-red-reports-1-by.html



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