Review: “Blood Cell,” Shaun Tennant

Pros: Interesting venue and location for this sort of plot
Cons: It didn’t come together for me
Rating: 2 out of 5

In Shaun Tennant’s Blood Cell, a man named Josh Farewell is so good at escaping from jail that they stick him in a maximum security prison despite his lack of violent priors. He’s going to have trouble negotiating the various violent personalities that run the prison ‘pod’ on the inside. Just to make that more difficult, there’s a riot and a mysterious figure starts killing the inmates.


Okay, so, I could never figure out an adequate, believable reason for why a vampire would want to walk into a prison riot and kill everyone/have them come back as vampires (maybe I missed something?). If I were to try to come up with a reason I’m sure I could, but it’s an unusual enough setup that there needs to be adequate motivation provided. (I feel like an actor squinting at a director and saying, “But what’s my character’s motivation?”) What good did it do him to have everyone become a vampire? Why did it matter to him to kill every person in there? Why did he go gaga over the idea that a woman was trapped in there when surely he could have gone after nearly any woman once outside the jail?

The author went to great pains to ‘accidentally’ have the one woman in the facility (Sally, the warden’s secretary, who’s sleeping with a married corrections officer) end up in a position where she’s vulnerable during the attack. Although occasionally a character will claim that she’s taking care of herself admirably, really she spends the story either off-screen or acting as little more than a prize to be won by the various factions (the vampire, Josh, the more violent inmates, the newly-made vamps, etc.).

Anyway, that’s kind of it. The prison made an interesting and unusual venue for the vampire-fighting story, but it didn’t add up right for me.

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