Sunday, 25 June 2017

Book Review: Hellbent by Cherie Priest (Cheshire Red Reports #2)

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?

My Review: 
Having loved book one I was so much looking forward to reading, what is at the moment, the final book in the series but I was very disappointed with it on all levels.

Horace wants to hire Raylene to steal some items that he stumbled upon and doesn't want to pay the seller for. Supernatural penis bones. Yes the bones from unmentionable parts of things like werewolves which can be used for spellcasting. The rest of the discussion between the two results in continued cringeworthy penis jokes every few lines and this got old really fast. I was not greatly amused by the constant 'funny' quips about dick sticks and other ridiculous combinations. I felt as if the characters had been turned into giggling ten year old boys thinking up new dirty words. The whole thing was childish and not entertaining.

So Raylene goes to find the stupid things but is beaten to it by the mentally deranged Elizabeth who attempts to use lightning to kill Raylene as she escapes the building. Cue more phone exchanges with Horace about the penis bones before Raylene and Adrian take a road trip to find Elizabeth. She was fired for lying about her mental health and is now out to kill her ex-boss with a tornado while he is inside a building with hundreds of other people. Raylene decides to steal the bones, let Elizabeth kill everyone and then helps her to escape. Seriously Raylene? You think it's ok for her to kill lots of people because he has a grudge against the guy who fired her? I wasn't very impressed with that at all. And we never do find out if the boss dies in the disaster!

Meanwhile Ian's brother Max is trying to track him down to kill him because Max wants to control the Vampire House and Ian is the current heir to it. On the road trip they visit Max to make a deal. She'll get Ian to phone his brother, she'll represent Max in an investigation at another Vampire House where their father was murdered as a visitor and Adrian gets to poke around that House where his sister used to live. The visit to the House is weird, and the deranged vampire family are like the undead Brady Bunch on drugs. The whole scenario was very confused and I felt as if the author wasn't exactly sure where she wanted to take this after Raylene got there.

Those two plots were the whole story of the book and it was just really dull. The second plot for me was just there to resolve the issue of Adrian's missing sister but it was clumsy and not greatly interesting. Ian is reduced to the role of babysitter to the street kids who is not permitted to get involved in anything. He's blind, not incapable! Elizabeth is not a great character yet suddenly she is added to the household despite having tried to kill Raylene twice. Adrian is reduced to nothing more than assistant pretending to be a ghoul and for Raylene to fight with. He is often dispatched to explore or hang out with ghouls while Raylene does the investigating which is a waste of his talents.

Everything that made the first book great was lacking here. The group dynamic of them all working together is gone with Ian missing from most of it, stuck at home as babysitter and teacher. His relationship with Raylene has gone from interesting to awkward and unconvincing. The street kids play with the new cat and mouth off but contribute little else. The humour goes from snarky to juvenile with the endless penis jokes that grated on my last nerve. And the fast paced action is reduced to a limp road trip that does little to excite or interest.

I just feel deflated. I wanted to love this but finishing it was starting to feel more like a chore and the author and characters are much better than the final product delivered here. It leaves me wondering whether I would risk reading on if a third novel was self published. Not sure. 
Read March 2017.
2.5 stars


  1. Sorry the end fell flat. I hate it when the final book in a series I enjoy fails. Such a wicked cover though.

    1. I think it just veered too far away from everything that worked so well in the first book. I did struggle to finish it and was relieved when I did.

  2. Aw, I remember enjoying this one too. Shame!

    1. I loved the first book but just didn't love this one which is a pity!