Series: THE CHESHIRE RED REPORTS
Plot Type: UF
Ratings: V4; S2; H3
Publisher and Titles:
Regarding the ratings:
> Violence: The 4 rating is for the high number of slayings of bad guys by Raylene and Adrian in book 1, but there aren't many details.
> Sensuality: None, except for that chaste kiss and quick grope in book 1.
> Humor: Sarcastic sniping from Raylene, Adrian, and Dominic in both books.
Book 2 is just as lively, amusing, and entertaining as book 1. Priest strikes a satisfying balance among all parts of her stories. I love the characters, all of whom have just enough angst to engender compassion, but not so much as to drag down the story line. Raylene's sardonic exchanges with just about everyone add humor, even in tense situations, but they're not the frenetically over-the-top quips that we find in many of the lesser UF series now on the market. One new fact we learn about Raylene in Hellbent is that she has suffered for decades from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which explains why she is always so over-prepared for every situation. In some vampire mythologies, OCD is a common vampire trait. Another series that uses the OCD trait for vamps is the WVMP RADIO series, by Jeri Smith-Ready, which is reviewed in my book: Fang-tastic Fiction (probably available in your local library).
All in all, this is a terrific series, full of action, suspense, humor, pathos, and quirky characters. Raylene tells her story in the first person, a point of view that some authors fumble, but that Priest handles brilliantly. Raylene is world-weary and snarky on the outside, but she has a kind and compassionate side that she keeps well hidden, even from herself. We don’t see much of Ian in either book, but he could develop into an interesting character in future books now that he has moved in with Raylene and helps her care for Pepper and Dominic, who are themselves great characters. The colorful Adrian will also be moving in, so the possibilities are really endless.
Here are three quotations to give you a a tiny taste of the series:
"Sounds like a the start of a country song to me," I said. "Did she total your truck or shoot your dog?"
"No, but she stole my box of penis bones."
"Even worse!" I declared with mock drama. (Hellbent, p. 1320)