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BOOK REVIEW: Red Delicious by Kathleen Tierney (Caitlín R. Kiernan)


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: More supernatural badassery with werepire Siobhan Quinn, in which things get meta, and a little dirty.

PROS: Quinn remains a very flawed, yet sympathetic, anti-heroine to root for, and Tierney’s command for the intricacies of the dark side of not only human, but inhuman nature, is scary good.
CONS: None. Nope. Not one.
BOTTOM LINE: This is as good as urban fantasy gets. If you aren’t squeamish and like things very dark, this is the series for you.

[Note: There are no spoilers for this book, although there may be for Blood Oranges. This review assumes you’re caught up with the series.]

My favorite foul mouthed junkie werepire is back in Kathleen Tierney’s second Quinn novel, and this time, Mr B has her in search of a very unusual artifact. Quinn turns furry once a month and needs blood to survive, which puts her strictly in the monster category, however, she actually hunts monsters for Mr B, who, as far as she knows, is a mundane, but isn’t any less scary for it (there may be a drop or two of demon blood in his background, however.) He ostensibly calls her in to find the wayward daughter of a local necromancer. Queue the creepy Maidstone sisters, Berenice and Amity (the “missing” one.) Quinn has been sent to help because another hunter, Shaker Lashly, disappeared while checking into Amity’s whereabouts and Mr B doesn’t like it when one of his team disappears.

Adding to Quinn’s main problems (for they are legion), she’s got a very persistent, very annoying monster hunter on HER tail. You’d think the hulking, obnoxious Father Rizzo would consider her on the same team, since she’s a monster hunter too, but nooooo. This defrocked pedophile priest wants her hide, and he’s getting bolder every minute. Poor Quinn. She’s got a rumbly tumbly and could probably use a nap, but there’s no time to eat, Dr. Jones, especially when Quinn runs afoul of a succubus madam during her enquiries into Amity’s whereabouts. It’s really all downhill from there.

If you’ve read the first book in the series, Blood Oranges, you already know that Quinn has a rough background. She’s lived on the streets and was addicted to drugs, so her transition to a werepire has only brought on different, but no less harrowing problems, and of course, addictions. She has moved up in the world a little, though. Her new apartment doesn’t have a hole in the floor, and if she has to share it with a few cockroaches, she’s an undead werewolf that hunts supernatural baddies for a man of questionable background and odd personal proclivities, so who is she to complain? She’s such a cranky chick, but I kind of love that about her, and as tough as she is (and she IS), there’s a palpable sense of loneliness that surrounds her, even if she’s all too cognizant, and honest, about her own status as a bonafide baddie. Seriously, Tierney’s inventiveness when it comes to supernatural beings is astonishing, and if urban fantasy has gotten stale for you, there’s nothing stale about Quinn’s world, and the inhabitants of it.

Red Delicious also goes meta with a Maltese Falconesque story within a story (it’s fantastic), and the author even has a bit of scary multiverse fun. Quinn is unapologetic and fierce, and this book marks a huge turning point in her narrative.

About Kristin Centorcelli (842 Articles)
Kristin Centorcelli is the Associate Editor at SF Signal, proprietor of My Bookish Ways, a reviewer for Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, and has also written for Crime Fiction Lover, Criminal Element, and Mystery Scene Magazine. She has been reviewing books since late 2010, in an effort to get through a rather immense personal library, while also discussing it with whoever will willingly sit still (and some that won’t).
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