Hellbent (Cheshire Red Reports, Book 2) by Cherie Priest

When an urban fantasy features a “vampire superthief” and an “ex-navy SEAL and fabulous drag queen” among its lead characters, it can either be a delightful guilty pleasure or a disaster. In Priest’s second Raylene Pendle book (after Bloodshot), the author brings an enjoyable noirish humor to this booming genre. Our undead protagonist boldly breaks down the fourth wall to bring new readers up-to-date (although being reminded that she’s just a character in a book may take some readers out of the narrative). In her new outing, Raylene has been hired to retrieve a magical artificat also desired by a powerful witch who will stop at nothing to get it. At the same time, someone is trying to kill Ian, Raylene’s blind vampire friend.

VERDICT Raylene and her gang of misfits will draw in urban fantasy fans of all stripes as well as fans of Priest’s other fantasies. Some language, used to show character traits, is a bit strong and might turn off gentler readers. However, the humor and adventure more than compensate for this minor negative.­ –Stacey Rottiers, Library Journal