22nd Aug2011

Book Review: ‘Bloodshot’ – by Cherie Priest

by Paul Metcalf

Vampires; since when did they become so passé in the horror world? It’s a shame really and it’s easy to blame Twilight for the watering down of one of the darker creatures of the imaginary worlds of fiction. Sometimes though we can escape the almost incessant deluge of emo vampires and we find one that although not scary, actually may be something of a badass instead.

Raylene Pendle is one of these vampires. She’s not written for horror, she’s written to just be a badass vampire who works as a thief and sometimes private detective. When taking a job from another vampire she has no idea she’s being pulled into a world of military coverup and secret experiments on creatures such as she; the vampire. Ian, the vampire that pays for her services has been rendered blind, the only way he can reverse this is to find out what the government has done to him and obtain his medical records which they hold. Raylene takes the job and finds herself on the run from men identifying themselves as the CIA plus other shady characters who are delving too close into her life that thus far has been a much protected place.

The search for the truth of what happened to Ian also leads us to meet more interesting characters such as an ex-Navy SEAL who now works as a transvestite dancer, he agrees to help Raylene in her quest as long as she helps him find information about what happened to his sister, another vampire who was held in the same compound as Ian. Through the help of these characters and a few others that are equally as shady and secretive Raylene discovers exactly what the government have been doing to vampires and also has to work out why suddenly a seemingly closed down operation behind the testing is back in what seems to be full force, and gunning for her.

As always with this type of story the strength has to come from the characters that are placed within the fictional world. Raylene being the central role is of course the most interesting. She’s outwardly a badass killer who would rather bite an enemy than let them walk free but inside she is a lot more complicated. She’s no Edward or even Louis from the Vampire Chronicles but she has her emotions, she just knows how to control them better than these vampires. She’s neurotic and has issues almost at an OCD level but these are what help her do the job she must do, and she does it well. The characters around her such as Ian and Adrian (the transvestite dancer) all are equally fleshed out characters that bring the world alive around her.

Of course no story is perfect and this novel does have its flaws. I found that Bloodshot lacked a certain quality in the way it described situations, at times it felt quite basic. This did not ruin the story though as there is a lot of action which does not rely on description, but still it would have been nice to have just a bit more to set the scene. Also by the end of the novel it does feel rushed and it seems to be relying on the soon to be released sequel to complete the main arc which so far is unfinished. It would have been nice to have storylines completed but this again is not too detrimental as it does end on a fitting note where things can move on, but we know what is coming in the future for the characters. For that we’ll just have to buy the next book. This novel is a worthwhile read when we live in a world where emo vampires are all the rage right now. It’s a novel that does not rely on horror to push the narrative along but takes the vampire as an action hero which is a role the creature tends to do well in.

Trackbacks & Pings