I'm always looking forward to a new Kitty installment. My agent says that Carrie Vaughn is my guilty pleasure. For the record, there's no guilt whatsoever on my part. Vaughn came up with a genuine protagonist, and she sure knows how to write an entertaining yarn! And the more you read, the more you realize that there is much more to the Kitty novels than meets the eye. I think you should all give them a shot!
After everything Kitty and Ben have been through in the previous books, they have more than earned a little vacation. Already the alpha pair of Denver's werewolf pack, they decide to make it official by eloping to Las Vegas. Kitty is looking forward to taking it easy in Sin City and then get married, but she has an uncanny knack for finding trouble. It all begins when she discovers that her hotel is hosting a gun show. To her dismay, a couple of Ben's old acquaintances are attending, all of them werewolf-hating bounty hunters. Endeavoring to find exciting guests for the TV debut of The Midnight Hour, Kitty stumbles upon a throwback magician whose tricks appear to be true magic. The Vampire family of Las Vegas hides a secret, one that Kitty uncovers while investigating a suspicious animal act. Soon, it starts to look as though this Las Vegas idea was a recipe for disaster. As Ben told Kitty:
You always manage to find the weird stuff, don't you?
Although we are introduced to a number of new threads in Vaughn's overall story arc, one gets the feeling that Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand is some sort of interlude meant to bridge what took place before and what will follow, beginning in Kitty Raises Hell. These short, fast-paced installments are becoming a bit episodic in style and tone, however. This could perhaps become a problem down the road, yet thus far Carrie Vaughn moves the plot forward and adds new dimensions to this series with each additional books. As long as she can do this, I reckon nobody will complain.
As was the case with its predecessors, Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand is told in the first person. Getting inside Kitty Norville's head always makes for an interesting ride. At times fragile and unsure of herself and at times tough and headstrong, Kitty's strengths and vulnerabilities make her feel "real."
Though this novel focuses on both Bitty and Ben, Vaughn once again came up with a great cast of disparate secondary characters, chief among those Evan, Brenda, and Odysseus Grant.
If you thought that this series would start to lose steam with this fifth volume, think again! Somehow, Carrie Vaughn manages to keep things fresh and exciting. Never a dull moment in a Kitty book!
And with Kitty Raises Hell (Canada, USA, Europe) being published in a few short weeks, we won't have to wait long to see what's in store for our favorite lycathrope radio host!
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand is another fun and entertaining addition to the Kitty series. I can't wait to read the next one!
The final verdict: 7.5/10