Bloodshot (Cheshire Red Reports Series #1)

Bloodshot (Cheshire Red Reports Series #1)

by Cherie Priest

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Overview

VAMPIRE FOR HIRE
 
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780857686459
Publisher: Titan Publishing Company
Publication date: 07/28/2011
Series: Cheshire Red Reports Series , #1
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Cherie Priest is the author of more than a dozen novels, including the award-winning Clockwork Century series (Boneshaker, Dreadnought, Clementine), the Cheshire Red books (Bloodshot, Hellbent), and The Borden Dispatches (Maplecroft, Chapelwood).

Read an Excerpt

1

You wouldn't believe some of the weird shit people pay me to steal.

Old things, new things. Expensive things, rare things, gross things.

Lately it's been naughty things.

We've all heard stories about people who regret their tattoos. But I'd rather spend eternity with Tweety Bird inked on my ass than knowing there's a hide-the-cucumber short film out there with my name on it, and my bank account tells me I'm not alone. I've done three pilfer-the-porno cases in the last eight months, and I've got another one on deck.

But I think I'm going to tell that fourth case to go to hell. Maybe I'll quit doing them altogether. They make me feel like an ambulance chaser, or one of those private dicks who earns a living by spying on cheating spouses, and that's no fun. Profitable, yes, but there's no dignity in it, and I don't need the money that badly.

In fact, I don't need the money at all. I've been at this gig for nearly a century, and in that time I've stored up quite a healthy little nest egg.

I suppose this begs the question of why I'd even bother with loathsome cases, if all I'm going to do is bitch about them. It can't be mere boredom, can it? Mere boredom cannot explain why I willingly breached the bedroom of a fifty-year-old man with a penchant for stuffed animals in Star Trek uniforms.

Perhaps I need to do some soul searching on this one.

But I say all that to simply say this: I was ready for a different kind of case. I would even go so far as to say I was eager for a different kind of case, but if you haven't heard the old adage about being careful what you wish for, and you'd like a cautionary fable based upon that finger-wagging premise, well then. Keep reading.

Have I got a doozy for you.

It began with a card I received in the mail. A simple card doesn't sound so strange, but the extenuating circumstances were these: (1) The card arrived at my home address; (2) it was addressed to me, personally, by name; and (3) I didn't recognize the handwriting. I can count on one hand the number of people who might send me a note at home, and I've known each of those folks for decades. This was somebody new. And instinct and experience told me that this was Not A Good Thing.

The envelope also lacked a postmark, which was a neat trick considering the locked residential boxes downstairs. So it wasn't marked in any way, and it didn't smell like anything, either. I held it under my nose and closed my eyes, and I caught a whiff of leather--from a glove? the mail carrier's bag?--and printer ink, and the rubbery taste of a moistening sponge.

What kind of prissy bitch won't lick an envelope?

That's easy. Another vampire.

Under the filthiest, most nonbathing of circumstances we don't leave much body odor, and what we do manufacture we prefer to minimize.

That extra bit of precaution told me plenty, even before I read the card. It told me that this came from someone who didn't want to be chased or traced. Somebody was trying to keep all the balls in his court, or all the cards in his hand--however you preferred to look at it.

I wasn't sure how I knew my mystery correspondent was a man, but I was right. The message within was typed in italics, as if I ought to whisper should I read it aloud. It said,

Dear Ms. Pendle,

I wish to speak with you about a business matter of utmost confidentiality and great personal significance. I have very deep pockets and I require complete discretion. Please contact me at the phone number below.

Thank you for your time,

Ian Stott

And he signed it with a drop of blood, just in case I was too dense to gather the nature of my potential client. The blood smelled sweet and a smidgen sour--not like the Asian sauce, but more like the candy. It's subtly different from the blood of a living person--both more appealing and less so. It's tough to describe.

We're dead, sort of. Everything smells and tastes different.

A few things look different, too. My pupils are permanently dilated, so although my eyes once were brown, now they're black. I'm as white as a compact fluorescent bulb, which you might expect from a woman who avoids the sun to the best of her ability, and my teeth . . . well, I try not to show them when I smile.

They're not all incriminatingly pointy, don't get me wrong. When I yawn I'm not flashing a row of shark's choppers, but my canines are decidedly pokey. Thank God they don't hang down as long as they once did. (I know a guy. He filed them for me.) These days they may be short, but they're still sharp enough to puncture an oil can, and that's how I like it.

My hair is more or less the same as it always was, a shade of black that doesn't require any further descriptors. It's short because--and I tell you this at the risk of dating myself--it was cut in a flapper style when I was still alive. It used to bother me that it won't grow any longer now that I'm post-viable, but I've convinced myself that it's just as well. It helps reinforce that whole "sexual ambiguity" thing.

Did I mention that already?

No? Well, it's easy to sum up. I'm on three Most Wanted lists internationally . . . and on every single one I'm listed as a man known only as "Cheshire Red." I'm not sure how this happened, or why.

I'm tallish for a woman, or shortish for a man. I'm slender, with breasts that are small enough to go unremarked. In the dark, at a glance, on a grainy security camera, I could pass for a young man. And far be it from me to argue with the feebs. If they want to keep on the lookout for a dude, so much the better for my career path and continued operation.

But anyway.

Ian Stott.

The number at the bottom of his summons wasn't local, and I didn't recognize the area code. Call me paranoid, but I had some reservations about dialing it up. I considered jaunting down to the nearest gas station and using the pay phone. Then I remembered that the bastard already knew where I lived, and I'd just be closing the barn door after the horse had run off. Hell, I was lucky he hadn't shown up on my doorstep.

Come to think of it, I wondered why he hadn't.

I wondered if he was watching me. I wondered if . . .

Okay. You would be right to call me paranoid, obviously, yes. But you don't survive as long as I have by being sloppy and easily accessible. That's a recipe for disaster. I'm much happier when I feel invisible.

I fondled the card between two fingers and tried to talk myself out of my phobic spiral.

He'd given me a name. Was it his real name? There was no telling. But he'd signed it properly, although I noted after looking again at the envelope, the signature didn't match the chicken-scratch scrawl of the address. The signature was large and smooth, and easy to read. My address would've been more legible if it'd been composed in pickup sticks.

Okay, so he knew where I lived, but he was respecting my space. Apparently. Again I had an irritating flash of nervousness, wondering if he was right outside--or across the street, or downstairs, or hiding in a closet.

Because I couldn't stop myself, I rushed to the hall closet and flung it open to make sure. Packed with shades of brown, black, and gray as usual, it was devoid of any two-legged lurkers. For about five seconds, I was relieved. Then I scanned the rest of the room with renewed frantic suspicion.

I grabbed a big black knife--my personal favorite, a carbon steel jobbie nearly a foot long--and I kicked in my own bathroom door. Empty. And now it also had a cracked tile on the wall where the knob had knocked it. Fantastic.

Too crazy to stop once I got myself started, I ran to the bedroom and checked that closet as well. More brown, black, and gray. No intruders.

Into the kitchen I burst. The walk-in pantry was secure.

The spare bedroom, of course! But it was likewise bereft of uninvited guests, as a mad crashing investigation shortly revealed.

Having exhausted my innate store of neurotic lunacy, I felt like an idiot. I really should've just called the number in the first place. I sat down on the arm of the couch, fished my phone out of my bag, took a deep breath, and dialed.

The phone at the other end only rang once before it was answered.

"Hello, Ms. Pendle," said a smooth, low voice.

"Hello, Mr. Stott." I tried to keep it dry and droll. No sense in letting him know he'd rattled me.

"Please, call me Ian. I thank you for responding to my message. I realize you're a busy woman, and I am certain that your time is valuable, but I wish to state up front that I'm prepared to pay you handsomely for it."

I listened hard and tried to get a good handle on the speaker. Another vampire, definitely. I'd known that much already, but hearing the preternatural, almost musical timbre in his words would've cinched it, regardless. He was well educated and calm, and American.

"That's what you implied in your note, yes," I said. "But as much as I love the money-is-no-object school of business, I still need to know what you're after before I can name a price."

"That's quite reasonable, and I'm happy to accommodate you. However, I am reluctant to discuss such a thing over the phone." Hmm. A dash of technophobia? He might be older than he sounded.

"Okay. You want to meet up? I can make that happen."

"You'll want someplace public, I expect. Bright lights, people milling about." He didn't have much of an accent, and I couldn't place what I detected. Not southern, not urban northern, not midwestern. He could've been a TV anchor if he hadn't been speaking so softly.

"This isn't a blind date, Ian. I don't need a room full of witnesses and a girlfriend who knows the get-me-outta-here safe word. There's a wine bar down on Third Street called Vina. It's dark and quiet, and it's often busy but it's never conspicuously crowded. Two primary entrances, easy to escape if necessary, easy to hide out in the open. Will that work for you?"

I heard a smile in his voice when he echoed, "A blind date. Funny you should put it that way." Then he said, "Yes, that's fine with me. Is tonight too soon?"

"Tonight is never too soon. Can you meet me there in an hour?" I checked my watch and noted that it wasn't quite eight PM. "Wait. Let's make it two hours. The bar doesn't close until two in the morning, so we'll have plenty of time to chat."

"Very well," he said. "I'll see you then, Ms. Pendle." And he hung up.

I hadn't bothered to tell him he could call me Raylene. As a freelance contractor I like to keep things stuffy on my end. I get little enough respect as it is, since I'm not affiliated with any of the major Houses--either here in town, or anywhere else.

Vampires tend to be pack animals out of social convenience. They coagulate around one particularly old, strong, or charismatic figure and entrench themselves in legitimate enterprises in much the same way the Mafia does. More often than not, this works for them. They mostly get left alone, and when they don't, they're tough enough as a group to smack down any external threats.

But external threats are few and far between, and usually they come from other vampires. Did I say that we were social creatures? I might have misspoken. It's a love-hate thing, the way we get along with one another. It's just as well there are so few of us anymore.

I could've made it down to Vina in an hour, but I didn't feel like rushing.

I felt like changing clothes, freshening up, checking my email, maybe playing a game of Internet Scrabble, and then wandering down to Third Street at my leisure.

There was method to my madness.

For one thing, it's important to always project the appearance of control. We would operate on my terms--when I want, where I want. I always try to establish this right out of the gate, because it gets clients accustomed to the idea that I'll be calling the shots. They pay me to achieve an objective. How I achieve that objective is up to my own discretion and no one else's, and I will accept no restrictions. This is not to say that I'm a rabid berserker off the leash or anything. That's bad for business and bad for the low-key, invisible vibe I struggle to maintain.

But I am the queen of situational ethics.

And for another thing, Stott had thrown me more than I would've cared to admit, and I needed to calm myself down. I wanted to meet him after a bath and maybe an adult beverage.

I'm not Dracula and I do drink . . . wine. In fact I rather enjoy it, though more than a glass at a time makes me woozy. Blame it on a semi-dead metabolism or anything else you like, but I don't process alcohol well or quickly. I've never met a vampire who does. Therefore, I kept it light--just a few sips of something out of a box. It was enough to settle my nerves, but not enough to slow me down.

I dressed, but I didn't dress up. It attracts too much attention.

I wore three shades of gray with black accents--boots, bag, et cetera. I ran a hand through my hair and called it "done." I closed my wee, lightweight laptop and stuck it into my bag. I picked up my keys and stuffed them into my pocket. And I left the condo, locking it behind me. The locking part took a full minute. I like locks, and I have some good ones.

Down in the parking garage under the building I keep a blue-gray Thunderbird. It's not the newest model, but it's not old enough to count as a classic--and it's got more miles on it than you'd guess. I could afford a better car, sure, but I like the way this one drives and no one ever looks at it twice. Only this time I left it in its assigned space. Traffic would be a bitch, parking would be worse, and I could make it to my destination in thirty minutes if I kept up a steady pace. It was all downhill, anyway.

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Bloodshot 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Zot79 More than 1 year ago
I had a few misgivings when I learned that the latest book by one of my new favorite writers was going to be an urban fantasy vampire story. Not my thing. I didn't make it even half-way through a crazy popular novel about sparkly vampires that's been made into crazy popular series of films. I finished, barely, a literary classic that had been paranormalized with vampires and zombies. But based on my delightful experiences with Cherie Priest's Boneshaker, Clementine, and Dreadnought, I had to give Bloodshot a try. It worked for me. It kept me awake past my bedtime turning pages (which is more than I can say for the classic science fiction book I set aside). I'll tell you why. You can read the cover blurb for yourself. Action. This book has plenty of action. One thing you must say about being a vampire master thief on the run from every police department including Interpol is that you don't lead a dull life. When Raylene isn't breaking into somebody else's warehouse or office, somebody is breaking into hers. This tends to lead to either a fight or a chase or both. The author does a great job with them all. Adventure. This comes from being on the run and being a vampire. Raylene inhabits the night. She has to keep moving. Her latest job has her tracking down and stealing government documents about a secret project. This forces her to travel the country to follow clues and break into the aforementioned warehouses and offices and the reader gets to follow along. Suspense. There are some good twists and turns here. I did see a couple of them coming, but not all. Secret government projects and mysterious men-in-black are not unfamiliar territory. But the author does a good job of weaving them into a fairly believable story (once you get past the bit about vampires existing). Snark. I wasn't sure I would be able to tolerate Raylene's first-person narrative for the entire 359 pages. It grew on me. I mostly enjoyed it. I didn't find the humor to be laugh-out-loud funny. But the note of bemusement kept the tone of the story light. I have a few complaints. There is at least one killing in the book that does not seem justified, even by Raylene's apparent moral code. Then again, she's a vampire, and a thief, and a killer. On at least one, maybe two, occasions I felt a little cheated by the ease and convenience of Raylene's escape from an impossible situation. This wasn't due to her skill or power, just a break that went her way. But overall I was happy with my reading experience. I give it 4 stars out of 5. I'll be looking forward to the next Cheshire Red book, along with the next Clockwork Century book, and anything else that Cherie Priest writes.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Century old vampire Raylene "Cheshire Red" Pendle is a thief who steals valuable items. The cops assume the brazen crook is a man as she does nothing to change their bias. Instead, the Seattle resident lives sort of alone with a couple of street people in an abandoned warehouse where she hordes much of her values. Blind wealthy vampire Ian Stott hires Raylene to steal top secret government documents detailing inhuman black-op military experiments on vampires and other illegal aliens. Their testing on Ian took away his eyesight. She kills an intruder before going to Atlanta to follow up on a clue to another experiment victim. Raylene meets the brother Adrian, a former SEAL turned drag queen with no obvious place to tuck in his lower head. However, her inquiry takes a nasty spin as she learns Project Bloodshot still exists even if officially it was shut down years ago. This group's private sector backer also has goons ready to turn anyone into a test tube especially those making inquiries. This is an enjoyable urban fantasy made fresh by the interesting support characters who provide insight and action while also lampooning the sub-genre. The experiments are somewhat unique with the military tests on vampires, but will remind readers somewhat of Lora Leigh's Breed series. Raylene is a kick butt loner who finds herself working for a sightless vampiric client with a humongous drag queen as a sidekick while the Men in Black and a scientific lunatic give chase; what more can a reader want from the cast? Although nothing major is wrapped up, Cheshire Priest opens Chesire Red with an exciting tale. Harriet Klausner
Faboolicious More than 1 year ago
I received this as an ARC though the Goodreads giveaway. I was all set to hate this book a few chapters in, but before I knew it, I was eagerly turning pages and on the edge of my seat towards the end. As far as Vampire stories go, it's not exactly unique, but it did have a premise that was new to me. A vampire blinded by military experimentation hiring another vampire to help him out is quite intriguing after all. Raylene, also known as Chesire Red in the crime world, came across as an obnoxious teenager at first. Her attempts at being funny were just plain annoying, and she wasn't likable to me at all. Towards the end of the book, however, I began to like her more and more. She has spunk, she's brave, and well, she can actually be funny some of the time. I will most likely read the sequel, since I am curious by nature, and there is still a mystery to be solved.
titania86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Raylene Pendle is a flapper turned accomplished vampire thief who is tired of being hired to steal pornography. Thankfully, an interesting case falls into her lab involving the government experimenting on vampires and leaving her client, Ian Stott, blind for the rest of eternity. After overcoming her shock at knowing that a vampire could be mutilated like that, she takes the case and agrees to steal files detailing what happened to her client in hopes of finding a cure. Not long after that, she is chased by black suited government agents and her secret cache of expensive stolen valuables stashed away in a seemingly abandoned building is raided. Everywhere she goes, she is followed and chased. It eventually gets to be less about the money and more about not allowing such atrocities to happen to other vampires. Can she follow the paper trail fast enough to find what her client needs or will she suffer the same fate as Ian and become a government guinea pig?This is Cherie Priest's first book in the urban fantasy genre and I enjoyed it very much. I know that the market is overflooded with vampire novels, but this one isn't cliche and tired like so many others. There is no romance to speak of, which is a refreshing change. The only thing that remotely resembles it is Raylene's attraction to two male characters, one human and one vampire, which could have been a super cheesy, typical love triangle. Thankfully, Priest decided to go a different way with the story. Raylene is pretty happy about her existence as a vampire, unlike those Angels and Edwards out there, so angst is in short supply here. The vampires in the novel aren't totally evil baby-eaters, but aren't super annoying goody two shoes either. This one-dimensional view of either side is getting really dull. They are normal people who drink blood and need to stay out of the sun in Cherie Priest's world. These vampires are multifaceted, complex characters.I like that vampires aren't almost godlike with their powers in this novel. Raylene is stronger and faster than humans, but she does have her limitations. For example, she can take a few bullets, but the pain and blood loss will eventually weaken her severely. Her senses are superior to a human's, but within a logical realm. The ridiculous rules such as crosses or wooden stakes or garlic being fatal have thankfully been dispensed with. She has a little bit of psychic ability, but just a smidge really. It's just enough to feel out someone's intentions and general mood and not much more than that. The vampire powers and rules seem much more logical here, making it much easier to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the novel.The biggest strength of the book is its colorful cast of characters. Raylene's narrative drew me in immediately. Her inner monologue is full of paranoia, neurosis, and OCD-ness despite the hard-as-nails persona she exudes. She also cares for people much more than she wants to admit to herself. This is best seen with the two kids that live in her abandoned warehouse full of stolen swag. At first, she was annoyed with them and tried to drive them out, but their relationship evolved over time. They have a mutual trust and Raylene feels an obligation to protect them from danger. She even gave them a phone so they can call her in an emergency like a concerned mother. These aspects made her much more human to me. Plus, she infuses her own brand of humor in much of the novel, making her voice memorable and fun to read.I really liked Bloodshot. It really renewed my interest in vampire novels because it proved to be much different than many of the others out there. This book combined mystery, horror, and action into a compelling, fun story. It's a lot different from Boneshaker, her previous steampunk zombie novel, but Cherie Priest has proven that she can write in different genres really well. I loved the ending and, of course, it's left open for a sequel that will be released in August called Hellbent. I highly recommend
MargK on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I once again find myself having very mixed feelings about a book. Thus, I'm going to break this review down into two parts: Liked and Did Not Like.Liked:The thing that made this book worthwhile reading for me was the protagonist, Raylene. Raylene, a vampire and professional thief, is definitely not the traditional urban fantasy heroine. In fact, Raylene has no true intention to do or be good. This is not to say that she's evil and goes out of her way to hurt people. However, she's not against stirring up a bit of trouble, and she has no qualms with breaking the law to accomplish her goal(s). I appreciate the way Cherie Priest characterizes Raylene. Raylene has an interesting mix of traits that make her quite likable and memorable. She is snarky and a bit cynical but not in an exaggerated way. She's amusingly paranoid, which given her profession of penetrating other peoples' defenses makes total sense. I also like that she constantly tries to convince herself that she's a lot tougher and uncaring than she really is. Repeatedly she tries to reinforce her "lone wolf" status but there are very visible & significant cracks in that facade right from the start (and these cracks only deepen & expand as the story progresses).Moreover, Raylene's character addresses the nature of a vampire in a interesting "middle ground" sort of way. In other words, vampires are presented as dangerous predators with killer instincts. This includes Raylene, who turns a couple of humans into meals quite efficiently. Nonetheless, as Raylene points out, they're still people who are able to feel pain & emotions--they bleed, they die, they love, they grieve, etc.I also really like the character of Adrain aka Sister Rose, an ex-Navy SEAL turned drag queen. Yes, you read that correctly. Once again, the way Cherie Priest writes this character is utterly entertaining. One minute he's the typical flamboyant RuPaul persona and the next he's a sexy, kickass macho man. I love his interactions with Raylene, and I think they have great chemistry together.Did Not Like:The mystery plot line centering on a secret government experiment involving supernaturals was really not riveting at all in my opinion. Despite lots of action, it also seems kind of underdeveloped and rushed. Plus, there is a certain aspect involving recruitment of civilians that is outright silly to me.The other important supporting character, turned love interest, is rather dull as well. Unlike Raylene and Adrian, Ian, a blind vampire, comes off very two-dimensional and underdeveloped. And speaking of the romance, it seems completely tacked on...almost as though it was an afterthought. There is really zero chemistry between Raylene and Ian, and I'm unable to see why these two are coupled together aside from fulfilling the purpose of the mandatory romance angle now seen in most urban fantasy books.
jshillingford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoy paranormal romance, but I also enjoy straight-up urban fantasy without any angst. I chose this because urban fantasy with vampires is getting hard to find. However, it didn't quite work for me. This genre is a departure for Cherie Priest, who is lauded for her well-written steampunk. Subsequently, this read like a new author debut, rather than a new book from an established writer. I think perhaps an urban fantasy with a steampunk setting might have worked better; a new twist but not so far out of the author's comfort zone.Other reviewers have pointed out, and I concur, that many questions are raised and not answered, and that the "vampire world-building" is lacking compared to other vampire fiction. As this is the first in a series, much of that is likely to be revealed in subsequent books, but I needed something to get me invested now. Bloodshot reminded me a lot of Savannah Russe's Darkwing Chronicles (vampire drawn into government affairs), with a subplot from Demon Under Glass, but better written. Unfortunately, I don't like when vampires get roped into working for, or on the run from, the government. That's strictly a personal preference, and other readers may find it appealing. And though I didn't expect or want any romance in the novel, I did expect the primary characters to have some chemistry. They didn't.Overall, the series has potential. The main character is interesting, with a lot of potential for humor and anti-hero goodness since she's a thief; and, the idea of a blind vampire who was experimented on is pretty cool. Priest is a talented writer, but the basis for this series just doesn't appeal to me. Recommended to fans of vampire fiction looking for something new, but fans of Priest's steampunk may be disappointed.
jlparent on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While Priest is mostly known for her steampunk efforts but this is an urban fantasy. Chesire Red is a former flapper turned vampire, who is a professional thief. Vampires in this world are not as cliche as many novels out there, which is refreshing. For example, Raylene (aka Chesire Red) is superior physically to humans, but only a bit. She has just a smidge of a psychic ability, rather than the the traditional "snare a human in my eyes/mind". Anyway, Red is hired by a blind vamp (unusual and frightening in their world) to steal secret government documents detailing the experiments performed on him and other victims. As her trail leads her on, she is introduced to a human male and I thought...oh no, the inevitable love triangle. Luckily, Priest goes a different direction with it. In a vague way, there is an element of noir to this world. Raylene talks tough and hails from the 20s, so something about her whole image (to me) projected a black and white, grainy film, interior dialogue kind of feel. I really enjoy the worlds Cherie Priest creates, and while I am more familiar with her steampunk offerings, Bloodshot is on par with them. Very readable, enjoyable, and will keep me picking up her titles, regardless of the genre.
Ti99er on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Priest's book Boneshaker (Steam Punk), but wasn't quite in the mood for a Victorian drama at the time. So I was very pleased to see this new modern thriller written by this talented author. The story follows story follows the life of a vampire/high end cat burglar. Now before you are turned off by the mere mention of another vampire story, you need to know that Bloodshot isn't your typical boy meets vampire, vampire meets wolf, wolf pees on vampire's cape story. In fact there were many times within the story that I forgot the heroine was even a vampire at all. Her vampirism is key to the plot, but it isn't in any way over-the-top. Bloodshot is a story with good pacing and was a fun read.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program. I will preface this review by saying that so far I have liked every book that I have read by Priest; I have read all of her Clockwork Century novels and enjoyed them. Although I loved the Steampunk theme to those books, I love urban fantasy even more. So I was very excited to see that she had decided to release an urban fantasy novel. This novel was wonderful, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and can't wait to read the next book in the series, Hellbent. Cheshire Red a.k.a. Raylene Pendle is a world renown thief and a vampire. When a mysterious letter appears at her current safe-house with no address, she knows it is from another vampire. The letter is from Ian Stott a vampire who is blind after being kidnapped and forced into biological experiments that the government was doing. Ian wants Raylene to acquire his medical records from the secret government research facility. Easy peesy, right? Well of course not. The convoluted path will lead her through a number cities across the nation as well as throw her a new investigator partner in the form of an ex-Navy Seal drag queen.This book was wonderful from beginning to end. It was fast-paced, had a plot that kept you guessing, lots of wonderful quirky characters, and great action sequences. This book is a lot lighter than Priest's Clockwork Century series and a lot more fun. Raylene is a bit OCD, snarky, witty, and downright human despite the fact that she, well, really isn't human at all. Ian Stott is another wonderful character as a blind, yet sensitive vampire and I wish that he had been in the story a bit more. Adrian is also a top character; I mean how can you not love a funny, kick-butt, ex Navy Seal drag queen? He is just great.The plot is an intricate and interesting one that will keep readers on the edge of their seats from the beginning to the end of the story. I especially liked how Raylene did so much travel; we got to read about her in Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and D.C. It also seemed like Priest did her research on the cities Raylene went too. Although I as a little bit put out at Minneapolis's main descriptor being that it was cold, I really can't deny that since next Monday we will have a daily high of zero oF, so I guess that is pretty accurate.There isn't a lot of romance in this book, a touch here and there but that is it. I love that since I like my books more towards urban fantasy than paranormal romance. The main story is wrapped up nicely but you can tell there will be a sequel to wrap up some plot points that show up in the end of the story.How does this compare to Clockwork Century books? Well it is more fun and uses a more informal writing style. It is not necessarily better or worse than the Clockwork Century books, it is just different. Overall a wonderful new urban fantasy book. I love Priest as a writer and she has once again proven what an excellent writer she is and also how versatile she can be. If you are a fan of the Kate Daniels series, the Jaz Parks series, or the Elemental Assassin series I would definitely pick this book up and give it a read.
ladycato on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed Priest's steampunk books such as Boneshaker and Dreadnought, so I wanted to read her new urban fantasy series. I did have some reservations about it--mainly in that that lead character is a vampire. I've never had much interest in the blood-suckers, but since this was Priest at the helm, I wanted to give it a try.Raylene Pendle was a flapper when she was alive, and still has the haircut to prove it. As a vampire, she's scraped by in the years since by becoming a thief for hire. Her latest case isn't about jewels or fine art: it's about information. A blinded vampire with deep pockets wants her to dig up information about the secret government program that maimed him. As soon as she takes the case, she finds herself the new favorite person of the Men in Black and takes off cross-country to find out what the government is hiding, and how the hell to get them off her back.I enjoyed Raylene's voice. She's snarky and a tad too profane at times, but she's fun. It's great to read about a neurotic, OCD character, but having a vampire with those issues was great. The plot raced along with lots of twists and turns. The problem I had was at the end. There was a huge build up of, "We're getting the information! We got it!" and then the finale fizzles. Too many subplots are left dangling, and not even the main plot was tied together. As a series, sure, there need to be things unresolved. In this case it felt like things were totally forgotten, and then the way the side characters come together at the end... eh. It's frustrating because I loved the book up till that point. I could forgive a few too-convenient ways she managed to escape nasty scrapes, or the no-chemistry romance that felt forced in. But I want to walk away feeling like the story WORKED. It didn't here.
aleahmarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Raylene, known only as Cheshire Red to anyone with a badge, is a thief. She's not just any thief, either. Raylene is a thief straight out of James Bond... she has numerous secret identities, can leap razor wire in a single bound, and navigates maximum security buildings with ease. She's also a vampire. Raylenes' most recent case uncovers a creepy government operation that's treating vamps like lab rats, and Raylene is having none of that. She and her ex-Navy SEAL turned drag queen sidekick are on the case to make the world safer for vampires everywhere. Because vampires are people, too!The fact that I enjoyed this book so much came as a complete surprise. What I mistook for another campy, hot vampire with guns trope turned out to be smart and funny. Not to mention that there's a hot vampire with guns! If you like urban fantasy, you'll love this. If you enjoy Charlaine Harris then for the love of all things literary put that down and read this! It's somewhat-psychic vampire done right, with drag queens. I'm a-flutter for book two.
silentq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was reading her blog while she was writing this and the one sentence summary seemed almost nonsensical, but, yes, there really is an OCD vampire thief, an ex-Navy SEAL drag queen and government/military conspiracies. And somehow it all works. I can fairly clearly hear Priest's personal tone of voice in this one, but her vampire protagonist has a fairly casual way of telling the story. I was a little uncomfortable with how long she spent on figuring out the pronouns for the drag queen, but she did settle on the sensible matching pronoun to represented gender solution. The action is non stop, they move around the country following leads, being ambushed and moving on to the next clue in her case. I had an inkling how she was being tracked, but liked the eventual twist. I was fairly happy with how she portrayed traceurs in the parkour scenes, though the DC club sounded much more into urban exploration than the New England one actually is. :) I'm looking forward to reading the next book when it comes out.
zzshupinga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You want something that's locked up or hard to get to? Files, jewelry...porno videos with you in it? Then Raylene Pendle is the person you want to contact to get it for you. But she isn't your average thief, nope Raylene is the best of the best....and she's a vampire. But this new case sets her on a path that even she couldn't predict. Soon the FBI, the army, and the Men in Black are coming after her all to find out what she knows about this new case. Danger is around every corner, but Raylene meets up with some new folks that just may be able to help her out. And along the way she may solve the biggest mystery she's ever undertaken. Here's the biggest problem that I have with the story--in some places it doesn't flow as well as it should and gets overly wordy. I think part of the problem maybe that this is a new world for Cherie and she's trying to figure out how the characters work and she's cramming a lot of backstory into this first volume to set up this new world. That being said it's still a great adventure story and I love the characters, especially Raylene and the fact that she's not some sparkly vampire. She's a kick butt, no holds barred person with real human flaws. She suffers from OCD, is over prepared, and she isn't some lovey dovey goofy person (although she does fall for a character.) In other words she's just like the rest of us. And the story is being told directly from her perspective and it feels like we're talking with her about what went on and not reading it from some cold personal narrator. The characters are entertaining, interesting and different (I mean seriously how do you compete with a former Navy Seal that's a drag queen?)This first volume is an exciting, kickbutt, no holds barred feature with great characters and an fantastic premise. I look forward to reading future stories in this universe.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After a while, I get tired of vampire novels so it was really nice to find one that wasn't really a normal vampire novel. There have been vampire novels involving PIs, but nothing quite like Bloodshot. I'm a big fan of Priest's writing and so I was excited to find she had a new book. The vampire(s) in this novel are unlike maybe vampires I've encountered before. In some ways they remind me of the characters in my favorite vampire series (Blood and Smoke books by Tanya Huff), which is definitely a good thing. The plot (PI (who is really a thief) is hired by another vampire to find out what exactly happened to him -- so it can be reversed -- only to discover there's something even weirder lurking behind every corner). Priest uses technology extremely well, along with a combination of subverting traditional vampire myth and embracing it. I really hope this is the first in a series, because I really cannot wait to see what kind of adventures are in store.
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Smart-mouthed, fast-talking, and a wee bit prone to panic attaches, Raylene Pendle, a.k.a. Cheshire Red, is no stranger to trouble. She's made more than one international most-wanted list for sticking her nose and her fingers where someone else doesn't want them - in fact, she makes her living doing so. It's a good gig - but retrieving other people's pornographic miss-steps is getting the tiniest bit boring. Her latest client promises to be something more interesting... and there's an old Chinese proverb about interesting times - not to mention being careful what you wish for....No zombies in this one - except for me the next day at work after I stayed up too late finishing. Raylene's commentary is a riot, and the plot doesn't suck. It will definitely be interesting to see what kind of trouble finds the group next.
usagijihen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Guys. GUYS. Two words for you: Vampire. Thief. That's all you need to know going into reading this series. It's so very, very awesome and it blew me away. I think I actually like this series more than Priest's "Clockwork Century" series and I've only read the first book so far. Needless to say, I'm practically foaming at the mouth for the next book now.I loved everything about this book. Priest executed all of the pieces of her plot more or less perfectly. Raylene is a sympathetic, hilarious character that has neurotic pitfalls - making her more human than vampire most of the time (especially with her magical bag of tricks that she carries everywhere with her). I mean, come on. Neurotic vampires? In 99% of urban fantasy (and YA paranormal, though this isn't YA, obviously), vampires are cocky, gorgeous, and utterly sure of themselves with excellent self-esteem. Raylene is pretty and cocky, but not the rest. Her cockiness comes from years and years of experience within the game of thievery and fencing, not out of just being undead. I like that Priest made her that way, because I felt like I could connect to her all the more easily. I'm pretty neurotic myself, so it was nice to see a paranormal creature have some mental issues herself.And then there's the main plot - government experiments. I love plots with government experiments. And this one just made me hunger for more information, as this book kind of left us on a cliffhanger. Yes, there were some of the questions answered at the end, but the larger ones (how did the government find out that there were vampires, or werewolves, at all, for instance?) were left open. As we're getting a second book soon (and I seriously cannot wait to get my hot little hands on it), I'm hoping we'll get more of these larger answers soon. It looks like the entire cast will be back for book two, which makes me all the more excited.This, of course, means more ass-kicking ex-Navy SEAL drag queens, of course. Priest, I love you. Seriously. Have my literary babies, won't you? Thieving vamps, government experiments, and drag queens. What a book.If you're tired of the "chicks in leather pants" stereotype/truth of the urban fantasy genre, try out "Bloodshot" and get some much needed fresh air into you. You definitely will NOT regret it. Definitely one of my picks for the best of 2011 in the urban fantasy genre.(crossposted to librarything, goodreads, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)
cissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this! A nice twisty plot, great characters, and excellent writing.I really appreciated the twist on vamps here- I have gotten really bored with vamps in general, but Priest makes it fun again.
g33kgrrl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having only read Priest's Boneshaker series in the past, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I'm glad I took a chance on it. The premise is basically a supernatural mystery story, and as I enjoy both mysteries and the supernatural, this works for me. The narrator is engaging and interestingly self-aware, and the other characters we meet were also quite intriguing. The mystery itself was compelling and held my attention. The heist scenes were fun, the action was easy to follow, and the people you want to see get shown up, do. The one minor quibble I had with the book is that it didn't quite feel like it knew where the end should be. There's a second book coming out soon, and the place that I thought this book would end and things that would be addressed in the second book felt a bit tacked on to the end of this one after what I thought was a more natural denouement. while just enough was left dangling that I didn't feel that, by resolving those things, there was a complete resolution of the story. Regardless, it's still intriguing, and well-written, and I'm quite excited to read more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A "Rollercoaster"read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
I’m always very cautious when I pick up an urban fantasy book. For two reasons: 1. I’m not a romance reader, so the moment I see a paranormal/urban fantasy with romance and unexplainable feelings stirring from the loins because there’s a character with bestial urges and dangerous animal/pheromone attractiveness, it makes me roll my eyes and go for the next book on the list. 2. Inter species fluid swapping makes me cringe. Enough about this I am going off subject... I am very pleased to say, this book has NONE of the things I was not looking for in this type of book. Actually, in fact, I was pleased with this book overall. I loved the writing style, and what grabbed me after a couple of chapters is Raylene herself. Raylene is a character so well written, and so filled with wit and charm you can’t help but like her. She’s got an attitude, and her insults are beyond hilarious not to mention, her narration of the story is what really keeps the plot going and interesting. I’m not sure who you would compare her to, as my experience reading in this genre is somewhat limited, but I’d have to say her wit and insults got me laughing out loud at times. Her snide side comments also provide for much of the comic humor that goes on throughout this book. That is not to say this book is in anyway a light hearted read. The real plot itself is dark and the overall setting and some of the characters are oily, seedy, and awful. So there is a balance between action and humor here that makes the reading certainly ‘feel’ light even though the subject isn’t close to that. What I thought was fun was Raylene seems to attract a small group of followers and she has no choice to accept them. I thought the two orphans showed the ‘softer’ side of Raylene (does she really have one though? maybe!) and the other two followers show potential romances (maybe? although her choice at the end rather surprised me). The book overall was really good and I had fun reading this. There were moments where the action was so fast paced and almost movie quality reading, and then there’s comedy moments where I found myself laughing out loud. I’m really looking forward to reading Hellbent, the next book that comes after this one. Greatly recommended for urban fantasy fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ElizabethT More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It's the first of two books out so far and I hope the next come out soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
7hir7een More than 1 year ago
I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I’ve liked the other works by Cherie Priest that I have read, but I didn’t really picture her writing a vampire book. I’m glad she did, because I really enjoyed it. It’s a dark urban fantasy comedy thriller vampire conspiracy book. If that sounds like a lot to pack into one book, may I direct you the Priest’s Clockwork Century series? Cherie Priest is very good at crafting a multi-faceted novel, and making it work. The narration is snarky and funny. The plot is different than anything I’ve read lately, and was interesting. The twists and turns helped keep it lively. Notably, unlike most urban fantasy vampire books, the protagonist is not in bed with someone in the first 30 pages of the book. While I must admit that I enjoy well-placed, well-written smut as much as the next person, its absence isn’t missed. Overall, Bloodshot is a fun romp, and I’d recommend it to fans of Cherie Priest, vampires, snarky narrators and urban fantasy.