Since my cohorts here were all talking about werewolves and investigators this month, and I enjoyed reading the male perspective of Fool Moon, I thought I’d offer a counterpoint in Kitty and The Midnight Hour, by Carrie Vaughn. This is the first in a long-running series, the next of which is due to be published in just a few weeks. In fact, if you want a sneak preview (warning: if you haven’t read any of the books, there will be spoilers!) of what’s coming in book 12, the author has posted the first chapter at her site: http://www.carrievaughn.com/kitty12.htm.
From the back cover, to give you a quick introduction to what hooked me on this first of the series story:
“Vampires. Werewolves. Talk Radio.
“Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station–and a werewolf in the closet. Sick of lame song requests, she accidentally starts “The Midnight Hour,” a late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged.
“After desperate vampires, werewolves, and witches across the country begin calling in to share their woes, her new show is a raging success. But it’s Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew.”
Because of the extensive quotes from her interactions with her listeners, the story is both fast-paced and humorous. We’re invested in Kitty’s story from very early on, as she shares the horror of her unwanted transformation and the dark dysfunction of her pack. For as funny as her banter is with her batty listeners, her relationship with the other wolves is violent and coarse. The descriptions of those interactions are not for the faint of heart.
The best part of this series, from my perspective, is how the characters evolve. This is no Stephanie Plum (from Janet Evanovich), where there’s a set schtick book in and book out–and no personal growth. Who Kitty starts as at the beginning of each of these books and who she evolves into by the end of them is both plausible (so long as you’re suspending your disbelief about werewolves’ existence!) and logical. You’re rooting for her to really grow into the best version of herself–and she manages to do that despite all the obstacles and plots running against her.
I enthusiastically recommend this to anyone looking for a strong female protagonist and an unusual take on the urban fantasy genre. There’s enough paranormal romance to satisfy that side of her personal growth, but the stories really focus on how she fits herself into a world not unlike the one we know–with mysteries taken out of other elements of the paranormal, similar to what Butcher does with his Dresden Files series.
A voracious reader since she was a toddler, and an ordained spiritualist, Tonya Cannariato has now presided over the marriage of her love of reading and her love of writing. She’s lived a nomadic life, following first her parents in their Foreign Service career through Africa, Europe, and Asia, and then her own nose criss-crossing America as she’s gotten old enough to make those choices for herself. She’s currently based in Milwaukee with her three loves: her husband and two Siberian Huskies. She suspects her Huskies of mystical alchemy with their joyous liberation of her muse and other magical beings for her inspiration. She loves to sleep, to watch her interesting dreams, some of which are now finding new life in written form.
You can find out more about Tonya Cannariato here: http://www.tmycann.com