I’ve been on an undead binge lately. It all started with a double whammy of Cherie Priest, continued to somma Stephen King and the latest victim is Ex-heroes by Peter Clines (review coming up when I finish it and have time to write up one).
Since Cherie Priest is one of my all time favorite authors I thought I’d review both of her books in my undead binge. Again, my copy was an audiobook, this time by Brilliance Audio and read by Natalie Ross. As an aside, before I get to the real content of the book, I have to say that Natalie Ross is a delightful reader, at least for this book. Her voice acting made this book come alive more than usual and there were moments that made me want to listen to it over and over again.
Raylene Pendle lives in Seattle and is very good at finding things for exorbitant fees, mostly using illegal means. She’s hunted by several law enforcement agencies the world over as a young man. Oh, and she’s also a vampire. She’s roughly a century old, having been turned when the flapper look was still in style. She takes on a case for one Ian Stott, another vampire, which leads on a paranoid merry-go-round with the team behind a super secret former government project called Bloodshot which consisted of experiments done on the undead in a remote facility.
The book was highly enjoyable (you knew I was gonna say that, didn’t you?) with Raylene coming through strongly every step of the way. Priest used the first-person point of view which worked a treat on this book. Raylene herself is a character with whom I at least found it very easy to identify and she’s surrounded by an interesting cast of characters. Ian Stott used to be the head of a big vampire house, but had to flee because project bloodshot left him blind. He’s got a big Bram Stoker Dracula vibe about him (exacerbated further by the reading on the audio book). There’s Cal, who’s Ian’s ghoul and mother hen. Sister Rose/Adrian is an ex Navy SEAL and a drag queen with a thick Spanish accent. Then there are Pepper and Domino who took to living in an abandoned factory that Raylene keeps as a warehouse and became Raylene’s early warning system.
Now Cherie Priest seems like she’s a bit of a geek (I’m sure she wouldn’t mind being called one and just in case she does, my apologies) and that came through in this book much more than the others by her I’ve read. I drew some curious looks sitting on the subway staring out the window and suddenly laughing out loud at a Princess Bride reference (if you’ve never seen it, go watch it immediately, I’ll wait).
Raylene has a museum contact, Horace, and much was done about how he wanted her to get some Inca or Mayan relic for a white woman into some sort of voodoo. Nothing came out of it though, and I was kind of disappointed about that. With all the setup I expected it would have become a subplot at least. But no, it was explained away at the very end.
Other than that, I thought the book was gripping, funny and exciting. All in all a highly satisfying read. I pre-ordered the next book in the series pretty much the moment I finished reading this one. I just can’t recommend it enough.