Cherry Bomb: A Siobhan Quinn Novel
by Caitlin R. Kiernan / Kathleen Tierney
Cover Artist: Bridge by Evgeny Dubinchuk / Shtterstock;
Woman by Coka / Shutterstock;
Moon by MidoSemsem / Shutterstock;
Review by Ellen Russell
Roc Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451416551
Date: 03 February 2015 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The final chapter of Kathleen Tierney's Siobhan Quinn series, Cherry Bomb, leaves the original setting of Providence, Rhode Island behind for the dirty streets of Manhattan, New York. However, the hero (as it were) remains the same: Siobhan Quinn (but don't ever call her Siobhan), a half-werewolf, half-vampire with a talent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Quinn is simply trying to lead a normal life (or as much of one as is possible, considering who and what she is), when she runs into trouble in the form of a woman named Selwyn Throckmorton. Selwyn is beautiful, tempting, and dangerous, and Quinn's life as the kept vampire of an accountant/BDSM enthusiast named Barbara goes out the window. However, Selwyn is more than just a beautiful woman with a penchant for vampires--she finds and sells occult artifacts to those with the money to pay for them. This time, though, she has bitten off more than she can chew. When Selwyn attempts to back out of a deal she made with some powerful half-ghouls, she ends up kidnapped, leaving Quinn in possession of the artifact that they want: an artifact that could spell the end of the world. Quinn must now choose between the woman she loves and saving the world, or attempt to save both, but there are no guarantees when the ghouls are this desperate and Quinn may just lose everything in this final gamble.
Cherry Bomb starts out similarly to the first two books. The setting is new, but Quinn is the same vulgar, fascinating character she has always been. She manages to find trouble for herself--not through Mean Mr. B, the boss that she left behind in Providence, but this time through a beautiful woman who catches her eye and ensnares her heart. There are some interesting scenes of introspection and self-discovery, involving a meadow, a little girl, and her pet wolf. This is a departure from the first two books, but it shows a different side to the character of Quinn, making her more fully developed.
The other characters featured in the first half of the book are also interesting--especially Selwyn with her strange and dangerous family history. It almost seems like Quinn has finally found someone who can keep up with her. However, the recurring character that returns later in the book, and the other characters who surround him seem clunky and unnecessary in comparison.
The second half of the story, after Selwyn is kidnapped, begins to run off the rails a bit. There are too many side characters, some of whom serve no real purpose, such as Richard Upton Pickman. His role could easily have been given to another character, perhaps Charlee, with no detrimental effect on the plot. Furthermore, although I understand why Tierney would have wanted to bring Mean Mr. B back for the final novel--he is a very important character in the first two novels--I don't think his presence necessarily adds anything to the story other than familiarity and the introduction of Charlee. Finally, Charlee is so many different things in the plot that by the end his character seems to unravel--he wears so many hats that by the time you get to the last one you wonder why he needed so many of the other ones.
All in all, despite the very convoluted lead-up to the story's climax, the ending is satisfying. It seems like a fitting way to say goodbye to Quinn--not too neat, not wrapped in a bow, just an exit into the night with many possibilities behind it.