Cold Blood – Genevieve McCluer

Kalila lost everything thanks to a vampire asshole: her wife, her kid, her life… She’s been using the ‘gifts’ he left her with to try and hunt him down ever since.

Dorenia was turned over a century ago by a vampire who hadn’t exactly intended to do so, and wants her gone. She hoards information, and that keeps her safely out of his way.

Kalila needs info. Dorenia has info. And so begins a beautiful, deadly, slightly gory, love story.

Kalila is our first narrator. She’s blunt, judgemental, and intelligent, which is an interesting mix. Especially when you throw in a bunch of trauma, lots of anger at the world, and a triple helping of hating what she is.

She is mainly armed with a long machete in a back sheath, and she certainly knows how to use it. She moves through the world calculating every step she and everyone around her takes. Every situation, every conversation, it’s all a means to one end (kill the bad vampire), and if you’re not part of that path, you might as well get out of her way, because she will cut you down and step over you, if you don’t.

She thinks she is rational and calculating and emotionless, but humans rarely are, no matter how hard they work at it. So when she does emote, she hates it, and she hates whoever or whatever caused it.

She’s rash, she’s desperate, she jumps world record lengths to reach the conclusions that suit her, and her smarts usually come a distant second to whatever it is she wants to do right away. Her self-hatred is going to get her killed at some point, and she knows it, but if she can go down knowing that asshole is dead, she’ll be fine with that.

Enter: Dorenia. Instantly a very different vampire. She smiles, she’s prepared, she meets bitter snark with light sarcasm. She’s measured and calm against angry emotion. She has a story, too, and it comes with a business proposition.

Dorenia’s narration has a completely different feel to Kalila’s. Not just in her personality, but how she views the world. She sees possibility in things. A future, and a path forwards. She needs to kill her asshole, so she can stop hiding: she sees a future beyond the moment of his death.

Kalila is middle-eastern, and Dorenia is Roma, and McCleur does a really nice and subtle job of both bringing this up, and showing the racism they suffer. It’s woven carefully into the overall tapestry, rather than taking centre stage. But Dorenia’s story in particular is very tied to her history as part of her Roma family, and we get some great views into their closeness, and her sacrifice.

The story is a good one, and I enjoyed it a lot. It doesn’t hide what the plot is doing, though it still manages to throw in the odd surprise, and it moves at a pace fast enough to keep me wanting to read just the next bit.

Incidental extra points for use of the word ‘kempt’, as well.

If you like vampires that hunt other vampires, moral quandaries, limbs going flying (and getting stuck back on again), and cute women falling for each other – grab this one.


Cold Blood will be released on April 12th 2022 by Bold Strokes Books.

Buy on Amazon UK or US, or your favourite bookseller.




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