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Blood Oranges
by Kathleen Tierney
Roc, $16.00, QPB, 253pp
Release Date: February 5, 2013

If you want to know how badly Siobhan Quinn’s life sucks, it is actually an improvement when she gets bitten by a werewolf, and then Turned by a creepy little girl vampire who calls herself Mercy Brown, or The Bride of Quiet. You see, before she became a hybrid supernatural with a strong thirst for blood, Quinn was a heroin junkie with, as she puts it, “a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or…whatever.” As she stumbles and snarls through her nights, she combats supernatural nastiness, wishing that her life were more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and less like a whacked out issue of Vampirella.

In keeping with her character, Quinn’s narrative is as loaded with profanity as a Mexican hotdog is with condiments. Besides describing her misadventures and insulting everyone she encounters, she explains what it’s like to be a junkie, because that hunger doesn’t go away between the bouts of bloodlust. Her way is sometimes smoothed by the enigmatic Mr. B, who is sort of like a low caste version of Constantine from The Swamp Thing or maybe Mr. Crepsley in the Cirque du Freak books, but Mr. B is certainly not helping Quinn out of the goodness of his – ha! – heart; he has an agenda. Because of her unprecedented dual nature, Quinn can go places, do things, that he cannot, such as survive a conversation with Evengelista, a vampire who looooves watching things burn and writhe in flames. Figuratively and literally. The conversation between the two of them is a highlight of the book: Evengelista blows the competition out of the water when it comes to vampiric horrificness.

You need to be in a mood to savor perverseness to enjoy Blood Oranges ; it is like eating an apple of knowledge of evil, and finding it full of worms. Bon Appetit! ~~ Chris R. Paige

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