Bloodshot by Cherie Priest
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn't bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride.
Honestly, this was a book that just didn't click for me. It had all the ingredients to be right up my alley as far as Urban Fantasy goes: strong female protagonist, unapologetic vampires, government agencies and scientists scheming, and I was certainly intrigued by the mention of the drag queen. My first surprise was that it was written in first person, not at all a deal-breaker in and of itself but the voice of Raylene wasn't one that I could connect with. It was a well-written voice even probably very realistic but I found her internal commentary to be grating and annoying. I was less bothered by it as more characters were introduced and the plot started to move along but every once in a while I was thrown out of the book by the voice.
I did appreciate the portrayal of vampires that were content with their unlife and any angst on the part of the vampires in not brought on by their undead state but rather some part of their unlife or current condition. For example; a blind vampire is allowed to be angsty about the fact that he has no sight and will remain sightless for the foreseeable future. I would have liked to see more emphasis on the vampire culture but it could be something that gets developed more in the next book.
I did enjoy the mystery element of the plot. The scientist/government experiments on the supernatural isn't exactly a new concept but Cherie Priest did bring enough of her own flair and insight to the table to make it work. There were enough little twists to keep me actively engaged with the mystery even with my disconnect with the narrative.
The characters were set-up well to be interesting but the development of the characters after the initial introductions fell a bit flat. Some of that may be the result of having a loner vampire for the narrator. Raylene tries to keep her distance from the other characters and her lack of interest in them carries over to the reader. It will be a challenge for Priest going forward to balance keeping the reader interested in the characters and the narrator's aloofness.
Bloodshot was a mixed bag for me. I had been really looking forward to Cherie Priest's foray into Urban Fantasy and I was disappointed by the result. I really wanted to like this book because I've really loved her Clockwork Century books but it just didn't happen. I'll probably buy the next book because I'm interested in what happens but it won't be a book that I rush out and buy when it is released. Bloodshot isn't a book that I would recommend based on my experience but it might be a better fit for others.
Written as Part of the Speculative Fiction Challenge