First in an urban fantasy series starring a vampire thief.

Publication year: 2011
Format: Audio
Narrator: Natalie Ross
Running Time: 11 hrs, 13 m

Raylene Pendle is a thief and a vampire. She’s also rich and takes on pilfering jobs purely out of need for excitement. And she gets even more than she wants when Ian Stott contacts her. Ian wants to hire her to steal some papers; he even knows where they are. Ian is a vampire, too, but he’s blind. He claims that the US government had kidnapped him and done experiments on him, especially on his eyes. He knows a doctor in Canada who might be able to help him, but he needs the papers to know what was done to him. Curious and disturbed Raylene agrees to take the case. She’s also (not surprisingly) attracted to Ian.

Then her warehouse is broken into. Even though Raylene thinks of herself as a loner, she has started to protect two homeless kids. Pepper who is eight years old and her older brother Domino. They ”live” in the warehouse. Pepper calls Raylene for help and she races to the warehouse. There she overpowers a ninjalike intruder and kills him. The intruder has a business card which points Raylene to a mysterious park our club run by a man known as ”Major”.

The book has a very chatty style, like Raylene is telling her tale to you over a drink, but there’s no framing story to support that. Raylene herself is around a hundred years old and thinks of herself as a loner; she doesn’t care for any of the vampire houses because of the internal politics. She claims to have some problems with modern technology but she uses phones and internet easily. Because of her job as a thief she also lives off the grid, so she doesn’t have any friends, just a few contacts and of course the two homeless kids. Raylene calls them her security system, which is cute. Pepper clearly adores Raylene while Domino shows nothing but scorn for her.

Raylene is a very human vampire, definitely of the kind where undead aren’t monsters but just different. She’s fast and strong and has minor ”paranormal” abilities. There are a couple of scenes were she feeds from a human and thinks that it’s better than sex, but she only needs to feed about once a month and she doesn’t think of humans as prey.

I thought that the most interesting character in the book was a former Navy SEAL who is also a drag queen. However, he appears around half-way of the book. Ian is the obvious love interest; cultured and intelligent but also vulnerable. Ian has also a ghoul; a human devoted to a vampire. Raylene calls him a seeing eye ghoul and doesn’t care for him at all.

Overall, this was entertaining enough but not as interesting to me as Priest’s Clockwork books.

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