Delightful though dangerous Raylene (code name Cheshire Red) locates and “gathers” difficult-to-come-by items for her clients, activities aided by her stealthy skills as a vampire. When the fantastic Bloodshot opens, Raylene receives a letter from someone seeking her services, whom she determines (due to the lack of a personal scent attached to the envelope and the drop of blood enclosed) to be another vampire. When Raylene calls the number, the very cryptic Ian Stott requests a meeting in person, stating his reluctance to discuss his situation over the phone. When she arrives at the meeting place, Raylene learns that ten years ago Ian had been captured and experimented on by some type of governmental organization, resulting in blindness that had never completely healed. Both intrigued and horrified by Ian’s story, Raylene agrees to take the case.
On her way back from the meeting, Raylene receives a phone call from Pepper, an eight-year-old squatter, who, along with her fourteen-year-old brother, lives in Raylene’s warehouse of acquired merchandise. Pepper reports an intruder, and Raylene races to the location to investigate. When she arrives, Raylene discovers a man, and when she catches him, he claims he was just “climbing” and “looking around.” Not believing him, Raylene decides he will make a good meal—something she has not had in a month. After stashing his body, Raylene checks on the kids and, after determining they are okay, she goes over both Ian’s paperwork and the phone belonging to the intruder. Both items and the problems associated with them lead Raylene from Seattle to Atlanta and eventually to Washington, D.C., in an exciting chase where she and her cohorts are both the hunters and the hunted.
Priest outdoes herself with the stupendous Bloodshot. A fascinating character with a fresh and unique voice, Raylene suffers no moral qualms over being a vampire, and unapologetically accepts that sometimes it is necessary to kill people, even though she does not make a habit of it—primarily because doing so conflicts with her desire to remain beneath the radar. Her obsessive-compulsive behavior provides amusement but also connects her to humanity. Raylene possesses a breezy sense of humor which others do not always appreciate or understand but aids her in navigating both the human world and the one she has created for herself by her chosen profession.
Each of her series and works has a distinct voice and tone, demonstrating Priest’s prodigious facility with language and narrative technique, and Bloodshot is no exception. At one point when Raylene considers setting a building on fire but decides against doing so, she makes this observation: “The thought of cooking anyone’s dogs, cats, birds or aquariums bothered me more than the thought of torching those animals’ owners. Call me strange if you want, but I’ve been known to feed animals, and I’ve likewise been known to kill and eat people. So I guess the math isn’t that tough after all” (102). The story’s pace never lags, and the underlying mysteries keep the reader guessing until the end.
The terrific Bloodshot belongs in the collections and the hands of all urban fantasy fans, and this reviewer has no idea how she will be able to wait until the next installment in the series, Hellbent, hits the shelves.
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Spectra; Original edition (January 25, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345520602
- ISBN-13: 978-0345520609