Kirsten Reviews: Red Delicious by Kathleen Tierney
Red Delicious by Kathleen Tierney
Siobhan Quinn #2
Siobhan Quinn is back and working a new case in the dark and satirical sequel to Blood Oranges.
Half-vampire, half-werewolf Siobhan Quinn survived her initiation into the world of demons and monsters. But staying alive as she becomes entangled in underworld politics might prove to be more difficult. When the daughter of a prominent necromancer vanishes, it's up to Quinn to find the girl. But her search will land her directly in the middle of a struggle between competing forces searching for an ancient artifact of almost unimaginable power...
Red Delicious by Caitlín R. Kiernan, writing as Kathleen Tierney, is both the sequel to Blood Oranges, and the second volume in the Siobhan Quinn series. As far as sequels go, it is a worthy continuation of the first book, and its events pick up almost directly following the end of the first book.
Anybody expecting a slow start to the book will be immediately tossed into the deep end.The story begins with the confession of murder. To be more precise, Quinn; never call her Siobhan, people have died for that, introduces herself as such, no apologies, equivocation or beating around the bush. That's because Quinn not only killed the bush, she set it on fire and scattered its ashes for good measure. Substitute 'her enemies,' which is a catch-all for anyone who gets on her substantial bad side, with ‘bush’ and you've got an idea of the sort of life that Quinn leads.
Carrying the thread of genre mockery from Blood Oranges, Quinn disparages vampires who sparkle, spend too much time in New Orleans, the 'romantic werewolf' and in short, every monster made Byronic and tame by popular media.
The truth about monsters is foul, nasty and they will eat you up if you're not careful. Quinn’s own cautionary tale is a convincing case for the universe having it in for her. She killed a ghoul, then a vampire and was recruited to work for the dapper and frustratingly unforthcoming Mr. B, middleman for the supernatural set. Then Quinn screwed up and was bitten by a lycanthrope and the Bride of Quiet (a powerful vampire.) She managed to save her bacon with the loan of a magical 'doodad,’ killed of the Bride along with a few werewolves and resumed working with Mr. B.
Flash forward 6 months.
Having adjusted to her state of undeath, Quinn is laissez faire about things that she would be better of paying more attention to in the long run. One of these things is the threat posed by Rizzo, an ex-priest and pedophile-turned vampire/monster hunter, which becomes problematic, to say the least. But, Quinn is aware of her shortcomings, even if she doesn’t always compensate for them in time to avoid trouble, and trouble is clearly headed toward her in the form of Rizzo and his zealotry.
Then there's the mission Mr. B has sent her on: the daughter of an extremely powerful and well-connected necromancer has gone mission. It's Quinn's mission, whether or not she accepts it to find Amity Maidstone before Daddy Dearest catches wind of it and raises the literal kind of hell.
But this isn't a simple missing person case, and Amity is tangled up in dark business connected to a magic totem, ancient and of such power that anybody with nefarious designs is out to get a hold of it.
That puts Quinn squarely in the middle. Some monsters are lucky, others make their own luck and then there are those that try and carry more weapons than anybody else. One guess which group Quinn falls into. There’s plenty of gore, foul language and an array of equally unpleasant and interesting characters in Quinn’s world, which should please a discerning audience.
In short, Red Delicious is a vicious parody of the bloated tropes conflating the urban fantasy genre, spinning them dizzyingly and shoving the story off a cliff into unexpected and delightfully twisted new territory.