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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kitty’s House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty’s House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (292 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Talk radio host and werewolf Kitty Norville has agreed to appear on TV's first all-supernatural reality show. She's expecting cheesy competitions and manufactured drama starring shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. But what begins as a publicity stunt will turn into a fight for her life.

The cast members, including Kitty, arrive at the remote mountain lodge where the show is set. As soon as filming starts, violence erupts and Kitty suspects that the show is a cover for a nefarious plot. Then the cameras stop rolling, cast members start dying, and Kitty realizes she and her monster housemates are ironically the ultimate prize in a very different game. Stranded with no power, no phones, and no way to know who can be trusted, she must find a way to defeat the evil closing in . . . before it kills them all.

I’m still recovering from being put through an emotional wringer by a story that was spiced with nonstop action, suspense and an ending that was chilling and heart stopping in its scope.

I’m a Kitty Norville fan and have been since the first title hooked my eye. Even if a reader has never read any books in the previous series, Kitty’s House of Horrors stands alone with surprising strength and ease.

The basis of this tale is a TV show that is too good to be true. Although there are some repeat characters from a few previous books, a reader does not need to know their background. Ms. Vaughn gives a new reader enough information to understand the connections between them which helps a reader care about what happens to the secondary characters.

Kitty is still experiencing her happily ever after but it’s been a bumpy ride. In this installment, Kitty’s job puts her in a position to do a show away from home, her pack and the love of her life and mate, Ben. It’s a very realistic scenario as many jobs take a partner from home for seminars, presentations or further schooling. I bet Kitty wished she’d have been making a presentation to Werewolves Anonymous or something instead of fighting for her life. Her personality is still maturing and growing and when push comes to shove, she cares for others and wants to protect them - even total strangers. She’s that wonderful of a person and I’ve enjoyed watching her grow, even when it hurts.

The secondary characters are all relevant to the plot and emotional turmoil that screams off of the pages with each successive discovery on how horrible the situation is. I will warn readers that there will be sadness. There are those who end up being “red shirts” in reference to Star Trek where you know those wearing red uniforms aren’t going to make it. I was completely invested in most of the characters so when things started to go wrong I felt it in my gut. Ms. Vaughn did not shy away from the harsh reality needed to tell the story where she needed it to go, no matter how much I wished she could have. To say I was affected by the turn of events is an understatement. The suspense, drama, fast clipped action and relevant dialogue were all written with impact and vivid clarity. The characters weren’t the only ones feeling the tension.

The high point came with the Calvary but by then the damage was done. The resulting wrap up that told me the whys of it but just didn’t justify the carnage they wreaked. I guess that’s true for any crazy psycho demented zealots. They got what they deserved and I’m glad but the cost was too high. When a book makes a reader feel the sadness of loss and a tear threatens then I know the author did her job and Ms. Vaughn certainly did hers.

My most favorite part is the happy reunion. I didn’t get to revel as long as I’d like, basking in the glow of happiness but the reunion between Kitty and Ben is as romantic as ever and I turned the last page with a sappy smile on my face. They really are good together.

Kitty’s House of Horrors will keep readers at the edge of their seats, maybe even holding a Teddy Bear for comfort as the scope of insanity thrust upon Kitty and the crew becomes apparent. I gasped, I ground my teeth from the suspense and my heart hurt for Kitty and even for Anastasia the vampire. No one walks away from this one unaffected and that includes this reader. The writing is as fresh and vibrant as ever and Ms. Vaughn has another gripping success to add to her exciting Kitty Norville series. This is a great read for serious paranormal series romance fans because it delivers on all counts. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.