By Carrie Vaughn
Out now from Grand Central (Hachette)
Review copy provided by publisher
Read my reviews of the series
Once upon a time, when the dinosaurs (and my parents) roamed the earth, series weren't popular. Every once in awhile you'd get a trilogy, like The Lord of the Rings, but most titles were standalone. Now that everybody and their dog write series, certain qualities make authors stand out from the pack. I like Carrie Vaughn because she does things that I don't expect. But what I really respect her for after finishing KITTY'S HOUSE OF HORRORS is her pacing.
The fifth and sixth books of the series (KITTY AND THE DEAD MAN'S HAND, KITTY RAISES HELL) were the first too have a truly interweaving plot. Vaughn has been sowing the seeds of an overarching conspiracy, but first she takes the time for another standalone adventure that appeals to knew readers even as it rewards those who are caught up on Kitty's adventures.
Kitty is invited to participate in a reality show with various other paranormal celebrities. Then the participants begin to die. And boy howdy, does KITTY'S HOUSE OF HORRORS have a body count. Kitty Norville 7 is on level with HP7 for characters death. Some of the people at risk are new characters, and Vaughn does well making them sympathetic quickly. But many at risk are triumphantly returning secondary characters, including two of my favorites: Jeffrey from KITTY GOES TO WASHINGTON and Ariel from KITTY TAKES A HOLIDAY. It both ups the suspense and makes the deaths more meaningful.
In addition, being part of the show separates Kitty from Ben. It's nice to see her on her own again, though I think their relationship is wonderful. It's also a breather from the relationship antics that will be back in full force in Kitty Norvill 8, considering that Cormac is up for parole and he and Kitty have some sexual tension to work out.
KITTY'S HOUSE OF HORRORS was a good breather from the one-two punch of KITTY AND THE DEAD MAN'S HAND and KITTY RAISES HELL. Vaughn put new characters into play and removed some old ones permanently in an exciting, if sometimes heartbreaking, way. I'm eager for the next book, but I feel like KITTY'S HOUSE OF HORRORS was far better than most breather books. (I did miss the radio show. I always love the really weird calls.)