Kitty Takes A Holiday, by Carrie Vaughn (Warner, 2007)

Kitty Norville has had enough of society for a while.  After being outed as a werewolf on national television, the feisty radio personality decides it’s time to retreat to the wilderness and write her memoirs and lay low for a while, in the manner made famous by Henry David Thoreau in Walden. Unfortunately, the writing’s going at a glacial pace, and the locals aren’t entirely thrilled to have a well-known werewolf hanging out anywhere near them.  And when bloody sacrifices are left on her doorstep, and barbed wire crosses appear around her cabin, Kitty realizes that someone’s playing fast and loose with some really bad karma, and it’s all directed at her.

Things get even more complicated when her sometime ally, Cormac the werewolf hunter, shows up on her doorstep with Ben O’Farrell, Kitty’s lawyer and Cormac’s occasionally ally, in tow.  It seems a job went awry, and Ben’s been bitten by a werewolf, and the infection has taken root.  Can Kitty coach poor Ben through the transformation, or will Cormac have to perform a mercy killing after all?  All this, and somewhere out in the wilderness, -something- is slaughtering livestock, and Kitty’s getting the blame.  Oh, and while Kitty’s been absent from the airwaves, a new radio personality is stealing her shtick.  What’s a girl to do?

This is the third book in the series, and something of a turning point for Kitty’s ongoing evolution.  Through her experiences, we get to see just how people are reacting to the recently-revealed presence of werewolves and vampires and the like in society, complete with scientific studies, federal laws, and good old-fashioned fear and prejudice.  Most series either deal with supernaturals still in the closet, or already out and integrated into the public, so it’s interesting to see a series set right during that initial adjustment period.  It parallels nicely to Kitty’s own adjustment, as she deals with unwelcome attention and ignorance-spawned attitudes.

Another thing of interest is that, for the most part, the main threat in this book is dealt with a good deal before the end, leaving a significant portion of the story for follow-up and repercussions.  Again, most books leave the defeat of the “big bad” for the end, and we rarely see this sort of attention given to what happens next.  Let’s just say that there’s occasionally a price to be paid for hunting vampires or werewolves, and our heroes have to face up to this fact for once.

Kitty Takes A Holiday is a fun urban fantasy, with a strong female lead and a nice take on the issue of shape shifters in modern society.  I’ve really enjoyed this series so far, and I’m looking forward to future installments.

Originally reviewed for the Green Man Review, 2007

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