Red Delicious: A Siobhan Quinn Novel
by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Cover Artist: Cityscape by Aubrey Stoll/Flickr/Getty Images;
Woman by coka/Shutterstock Images
Review by Ellen Russell
Roc Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451416537
Date: 04 February 2014 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Red Delicious, by Kathleen Tierney, is the second novel in the Siobhan Quinn Series following Blood Oranges. The series follows Quinn (who hates being called Siobhan), a demon hunter who used to be a human junky, but has been turned into a vampire-werewolf hybrid. She works for a man called Mr. B, who sends her on missions for his various clients. Usually this involves finding information and killing those who need to be killed. However, this time she is required to play detective and find the missing daughter of a necromancer. She quickly discovers that the girl is not missing, but hiding, because she has become involved in a power struggle over a stolen magical object. Quinn must quickly figure out where her loyalties lie in this power struggle, as everyone wants this object and Quinn’s help in getting it.
Quinn's character remains the same: rude, foul-mouthed, and surprisingly endearing. The story is told from her point of view, as if she is speaking to the reader. She often addresses the reader directly, which I enjoy, but some might find distracting. There is some evolution of the character towards the end of the story, but her character is mostly static. It would have been nice if there was some more evolution of character, since the novel runs into some of the same problems as the first novel, namely that some of the secondary characters are more interesting than the main characters.
This novel also fixes one of the issues that I had with the first novel: that one of the more interesting secondary characters was killed. The resurrection of this character is one of the high points of the novel. Also, Tierney does an interesting mixed-media section in this novel, where she includes a short story "The Maltese Unicorn", which was also published in her short story collection The Ape's Wife and Other Stories (as Caitlin R. Kiernan). At first, the inclusion of the story seems a bit jarring. However, I appreciated the story itself and it does fit with the novel. The story is well-written and the ending is beautifully poetic. Other readers, however, might find the inclusion clumsy or unnecessary and distracting from the main story in the novel.
Altogether I enjoyed this novel as the darkly entertaining romp through the underworld of New England that it is. If you're looking for depth, you won't find it here. However, if you're looking for something like Buffy, but with more bite, you've found it. Literally.