The flap copy of Blood Oranges, the first novel by Caitlin R. Kiernan writing as Kathleen Tierney, reads like the copy for a fistful of other contemporary paranormal novels—if they had been put through a refracting lens and reduced to their component parts, pointing up the ridiculousness imbricated in their very terms. Siobhan Quinn, our protagonist and narrator, is a junky and an at-first-accidental “demon hunter” who gets bitten by a werewolf and a vampire in the same night; her life doesn’t really pick up from there.
Blood Oranges is a strange (and unmistakably fun) project, a parodic urban fantasy that at once vivisects the tropes of the genre as it currently stands and also employs them with vigor and a backhanded, wild immersion. Kiernan has described the trilogy that Blood Oranges begins as a sort of pause—between The Drowning Girl and the next Kiernan project, there are these books, by “Kathleen Tierney.” This is not a useless description; in fact, it makes a great deal of sense, because this is quite firmly not a Kiernan story, though Quinn’s opinions on her own genre frequently reflect those of her creator. The introductory author’s note makes that hilariously obvious.