Hellbent, Cherie Priest, Ballantine Books, ISBN 978-0-345-52062-3, 338 pgs., $15.00, mass market paperback

The Vampire Deutsch: Der Vampir

The Vampire Deutsch: Der Vampir (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Raylene Pendle is a thief.  She’s also a vampire.  She’s also the keeper of a band of misfits who probably would not survive without her help.  One of the misfits is Adrian deJesus, an ex Navy SEAL/drag queen who assists Raylene on jobs totally for the purpose of getting her to help him find his sister who was part of a secret government experimental program trying to figure out how to gain the benefits from vampires without actually having to turn people into vampires. While Raylene is a thief she’s no ordinary thief, only pulling jobs that net a huge return in cash.  This time she’s on the hunt for a handful of dried werewolf penis’ that are currently in the hands of a schizophrenic sorceress  out for revenge.  As you can see, Raylene does not do ordinary snatch and grab.  While she’s on the hunt for the artifacts, she’s also trying to resolve some internal vampire politics involving one of the other members of her little band of misfits, a blind, older vampire, who is next in line to be the head of the San Francisco house but is blind and would not survive the inevitable fight for power.  Besides, his brother is currently running the house  and that just makes it all even more complicated.

As you can see, Priest weaves a fairly complicated plot, driving three or four different story lines at the same time.  She is adept at this, but then, again, she is no beginning author.  the story moves, partially due to the multiple plot lines, at a fairly fast past.  Priest writes with some humor as well, never leaving an inside joke alone.  In the end it all works.

You do have to suspend your initial belief that a vampire would ever need to be a thief or that a vampire who so insistently states that she works alone ends up with a houseful of broken beings needing her care.  So, either she’s not a reliable narrator–if you can’t believe her in this realm why should you in others–or there’s something else going on that is not evident yet.  But this is a niggling kind of thing that is just as easily ignored.

In the final analysis, which is really what drives one to either enjoy a book or toss it across the room, it all works out to a fun and fairly quick read.  Definitely recommended.  One of the better books out there in the supernatural/vampire/noir vein.  Heh, I made a funny.

To order your own copy, go here–Hellbent


About damnaliens
Writer, reviewer, home provider to the Damnaliens

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