Marion Deeds: Bloodshot (Cheshire Red Reports#1) by Cherie Priest Review

Pages: 359
Published: January 25th 2011
Publisher: Spectra
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Raylene Pendle is a vampire cat burglar working out of Seattle, Washington.  Ian, also a vampire, asks her to steal a government file about one subject in a secret military project, Operation Bloodshot.  Ian himself was the subject.  He lost his sight, even though, as a vampire, that should not be possible.  He wants to know exactly what was done to him.

Raylene is intrigued but wary.  Before she can give Ian her decision, one of her secret warehouses is broken into.  The intruder is working for someone known only as “The Major.”  Now it’s personal.  Raylene’s quest for the file takes her to Minnesota and Atlanta, Georgia, just ahead of the Men in Black and even more shadowy villains.

This is Priest’s first urban fantasy and it is a rollicking fun-ride.  She excels at action sequences, descriptions, particularly of cities, and snappy dialogue.  Priest introduces parkour, an urban sport that combines base-jumping, climbing buildings and “urban exploration” (invading abandoned buildings) into the plot as an element of interest.  The book reads like a well-made summer action movie.  The only thing that is lacking, for urban fantasy purists, is a romantic relationship or sexual fliration, and frankly, it’s hard to see how Raylene would find the time.

The characters are not very deep or nuanced.  Raylene has panic attacks and a mild form of OCD—and she appears to be something of a hoarder.  These tics aren’t a substitute for character development and they don’t hamper her during her adventure, or help her solve the case.  Still, it’s hard not to like a character who thinks, “Score:  Raylene, 1/Trevors of the World, 0.” The most intriguing character in the book is the ex-Navy SEAL turned drag queen she meets in Atlanta.  Priest also hasn’t completely worked out her personal theory of vampires, so much so that at a few points in the book I forgot Raylene was one.

This isn’t Priest’s best book, but the snarky dialogue, vivid action sequences and realistic depiction of urban landscapes make it a fun read. For people who haven’t read Priest before, this book is a good starter, and it may be a “gateway book” that leads readers to her southern gothic novels, starring Eden Moore, a college student who talks to the dead.

rate: 3.5/5 

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