Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

I originally met Carrie Vaughn at MileHi; she and I are near each other in age and both from the southwest. When I first got to know her, her career was just starting to take off. Of all of my writer friends, she's seen some of the biggest successes at a very young age (by writer standards). We often share a room and even a bed at MileHi (this is typical because writers are often quite poor, even the successful ones, and piling four and five people into a room allows more of us to attend the con), so it is very funny when book vendors in the dealers room ask me to come back at a certain time to "meet the author of the Kitty books." I usually tell them that if I want to talk to her, I'll roll over and tap her on the shoulder.

The fourth book in her Kitty series comes out in a few months and I'm very much looking forward to reading it. At first look, the Kitty series may look like a Laurel K. Hamilton knockoff. Look again. Carrie writes to the formula, but there are a lot of other layers in there. Think Jane Austin (but with horror); there's a shallow level you can read at if you just want a fun ride, but beneath it all, the author is smirking and messing with your head. Carrie is wise to the tropes used in vampire/werewolf fiction, and she subverts them all.

Kitty, her main character, is not your typical superhero. She's a young woman with a dark, painful secret. Being a werewolf has cut her off from humanity and as the first book opens you see her working the midnight hour at a radio station because she's most comfortable alone. In her pack, she's the omega. Then, one night, she gets in a good natured debate with her callers about the existence of the paranormal, and a vampire calls in. She knows he's real. He knows she knows. The next day, her inbox is flooded with messages from people like her who live with deep, dark secrets and desperately want someone to talk to. The Kitty books are about Kitty becoming that person. It's a tough road with a lot of unexpected turns. Kitty isn't prepared at the outset and hence, situations often spin out of control.

That's what makes these books interesting and the plots meaty. I strongly recommend them. Sure, I read most of what my writer friends write, but seriously, I'd keep up with the Kitty books even if I didn't know and love Carrie.

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