In Bloodshot, the first in Cherie Priest's newish Cheshire Red Reports series, Raylene Pendle (aka, Cheshire Red)--a vampire uber thief to the rich anIn Bloodshot, the first in Cherie Priest's newish Cheshire Red Reports series, Raylene Pendle (aka, Cheshire Red)--a vampire uber thief to the rich and often less-than-moral--recounts the events of a particularly difficult case, and one that promises to send her on a series of new adventures to come.
While, yes, this is another book about vampires, it appears--at least from this first installment--that the Cheshire Red Reports are less about vampires and more about the action and mystery of the cases themselves. Priest does an excellent job of laying the groundwork for more books to come, leaving enough clues to make me curious for more and anticipate certain characters' larger roles in future novels. I particularly enjoyed several of the colorful secondary characters--the ex-Navy Seal, drag queen Adrian (aka, Sister Rose), and the orphan squatter kids Domino and Pepper--and how they helped flesh out Raylene's character through their interactions with her.
Ian Stott, the only other vampire character and the client who sends Raylene on the Bloodshot mission, had a little less depth. And I hope he is better fleshed out in the next book. I thought Ian's ghoul, Cal, was the least likeable and least developed of all. But perhaps I just felt that way because, in the audio version, the reader used the same voice for both Cal and Domino, so that Cal came off sounding like a 14-year-old boy. My lack of connection to Ian resulted in a few false emotional notes in the book. First, (view spoiler)[Ian's very strong emotional reaction to Cal's death, when the relationship between Ian and Cal had never been truly defined to the reader but left rather ambiguous. I couldn't sympathize with Ian more than I would with any stranger, so the whole part felt a bit forced (hide spoiler)]. The second was when Raylene (view spoiler)[finally kisses Ian. Yes, we could all see it coming. But with sexy Adrian by her side, I had stopped rooting for the blind vampire ages ago. Ian just had no personality. And the timing was all wrong, at least if Raylene actually wanted anything to last. I just couldn't get on board with the choice (hide spoiler)].
My only other complaint was the complete disregard for human life. Nameless, faceless "men in black" were dying left and right, and there was not even a tip of the hat to their deaths or a thought for their families waiting back home. Raylene was all bent out of shape over (view spoiler)[vampires being imprisoned, experimented on, and dying during the course of experimentation (hide spoiler)]. You can bet she killed a heck of a lot more people during the course of this case, people who may have just been doing their jobs.
On the whole, Bloodshot was fun, fast-paced, and funny. A good, easy read with a strong narrative voice.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Thriller's really aren't my thing. But I found There Was an Old Woman to be well written and intriguing enough. I wouldn't actually describe it as susThriller's really aren't my thing. But I found There Was an Old Woman to be well written and intriguing enough. I wouldn't actually describe it as suspenseful, since the "clues" Ephron laid for the reader were like a trail of red flags pointing glaringly at the truth throughout most of the book. And the "psychological suspense" aspect of the story was virtually non-existent. It was completely obvious, the whole time, that (view spoiler)[Mina's nephew, Brian, was screwing with her and trying to make her think that she was losing her marbles. I didn't once have any doubts about her mental soundness (hide spoiler)].
But still, it was entertaining and a quick, easy read.["br"]>["br"]>...more
If you've already read The Da Vinci Code then you're already familiar with the plot of this book: (view spoiler)[A knowledgeable man murdered in a criIf you've already read The Da Vinci Code then you're already familiar with the plot of this book: (view spoiler)[A knowledgeable man murdered in a crime scene laden with religious symbology, leaving an accomplished and attractive young female relative behind to be Robert Langdon's companion in solving the mystery of the killing. Some dumb oaf is blinded by religion, or in this case his hatred of religion, into serving the needs of the mastermind behind it all, resulting in murderous zealotry and general criminal behavior. Langdon et al race around, in this case Rome, solving a mystery that ties together art, history, religion, and the occult, in a historical revelation of colossal scope. And don't forget the last-minute switcheroo where the mastermind turns out to be one of the people you never would have suspected. Except, I did suspect, because I already knew the structure the plot would take.
There were one or two good surprises in this book, but on the whole I've decided that once you've read one Dan Brown, you've pretty much read them all. The middle was too long. The resolution after the climax was too long. And there was nowhere near the page-turning tension I felt when I first read The Da Vinci Code. I think the first Dan Brown you read will always be the best because, after that, there are very few surprises. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
This novel was very hit and miss for me. The story follows the young nun Evangline, who is descended from a family of Angelologists (scholars who haveThis novel was very hit and miss for me. The story follows the young nun Evangline, who is descended from a family of Angelologists (scholars who have devoted their lives to the angelic Nephilim--the evil off-spring of angels and man, back in the time of Genesis, who still live among us and are the exploiters of all man's most brutal flaws) as she discovers the truth about her past, her family, and her heritage and helps the Angelologists retrieve an important and dangerous artifact before it falls into the hands of the Nephilim.
The opening left me with a forboding feeling that I was reading the next The Da Vinci Code, only with ten million times better prose at least. Her prose are, at times, immaculate. But even this is hit and miss. Her writing is sometimes so dense and beautiful that it renders the dialogue ridiculous, as everyone sounds like they're reading from a book or writing carefully formed prose in their journals rather than having real conversations.
The large, middle section of the book jumps back in time, changing POV character, and switching from third person to first person. I appreciated the deviation from generic predictability but, on the whole, I thought this section was a huge mistake. Trussoni interrupted the momentum of the narrative and virtually abandoned the story at hand, for some two-hundred pages, to essentially give me a history lesson on angelology and anti-Darwinist religious doctrine that I found very difficult to swallow. This section was so heavy-handed on preach and teach that I never felt the connection with the characters or the friendship between them, which was an essential element of the section. The lack of sympathetic characters and relationships left the whole section feeling hollow.
To top it all off, I was also disappointed in the ending. What I found myself caring about most was a decades old, Romeo-and-Juliet-tainted-by-demonic-angels love story whose lack of time in the spotlight and careless wrap-up left me feeling cold and bored.
And I'll just add that the overall, main character's story arch was very, VERY similar to that in The Da Vinci Code. Too bad Trussoni wasn't able to push this work a bit further. I expected more for the rumored $4 million she got for it.
**Addendum: I'd like to add that I DO plan to read the next book in this series, when it comes out. Trussoni's writing is quite promising, and I hope she can pull through with a stronger follow-up....more