Book review - Hellbent by Cherie Priest
review by Michael Cummings
Vampire thief Raylene Pendle doesn't need more complications in her life. Her Seattle home is already overrun by a band of misfits, including Ian Stott, a blind vampire, and Adrian deJesus, an ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen. But Raylene still can't resist an old pal's request: seek out and steal a bizarre set of artifacts. Also on the hunt is a brilliant but certifiably crazy sorceress determined to stomp anyone who gets in her way. But Raylene's biggest problem is that the death of Ian's vaunted patriarch appears to have made him the next target of some blood-sucking sociopaths. Now Raylene must snatch up the potent relics, solve a murder, and keep Ian safe-all while fending off a psychotic sorceress. But at least she won't be alone. A girl could do a lot worse for a partner than an ass-kicking drag queen-right?
Available on Amazon.com: Hellbent (Cheshire Red Reports, Book 2)
Hellbent was my first foray into the world's of Cherie Priest. I've heard wonderful things about her steampunk series, the Clockwork Century, but of her vampire series, beginning with Bloodshot, I'd heard very little.
Let me put that to rest.
If you're just looking for all that glitters, this isn't the spot. Nor is Priest's take on vampires entirely horrific, though. What she is is blunt and snarky and very engaging.
You can almost forget that Ray (Raylene) is a vampire, except maybe when she's rescuing a kitten that's tracked through a crime scene because its paws smell so good, what with all that fresh blood. Ray is a thief. A very, very good thief, who's hired to track down some magical artifacts and relive their current owner of them. The maniac witch that's threatening to bring down heaven and hell with them is just a complication in the plan, right?
The other major plot threads of the novel center around blind Ian (another vampire) and his former House, and Adrian's (a human) search for what happened to his sister. While a lot of the historical details to these plots is left unsaid, enough context was given (and even an outright "This is what happened before" blurt) that you didn't feel lost if you hadn't read the first book. It also didn't feel like Priest overly did the recap, as most of it was up front early on, letting the story progress on its own from there.
Hellbent was a splendid mix of action and comedy, and of course magic, vampires, ghouls, and some tasty, bloody kitten paws. Probably a few too many jokes about the objects Ray is hired to steal (I'd hate to be the one to reveal that spoiler), but other than that a solid, fun read.
Mike is Master of IT at a monkey and geek oriented internet company by day, and a wannabe writer who procrastinates at night by reading everyone else's books. When the opportunity came up to put that procrastination to good use, he jumped at the opportunity and a book reviewer was born. Mike will be survived in the zombie apocalypse by a forgiving wife and three wonderful daughters.