2010’s Kitty’s House of Horrors is the seventh installment in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.
Thanks to her late night radio show, Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty Norville has become the voice of America’s eldritch community. Hollywood hotshots Joey Provost and Ron Valenti want to turn her into the face of the weird as well — or at least one of the faces. Kitty is the most recent supernatural figure to be invited onto Provost and Valenti’s proposed reality show.
Provost and Valenti’s previous shows have been low-common-denominator schlock like Jailbird Moms, Cheerleader Sorority House, and Stripper Idol. This show, they promise, will be totally classy, featuring name celebrities. Despite her misgivings, Kitty agrees to appear on the show.
Provost and Valenti (and co-producer Eli Cabe) definitely deliver a show quite unlike their previous offerings.
Provost and Valenti have cast their net wide: also present at the isolated Montana cabin are:
paranormal investigator Tina McCannon,
TV psychic Jeffrey Miles,
werewolf Jerome Macy,
fellow radio personality Ariel, Priestess of the Night,
were-seal Lee Ponatac,
magician Odysseus Grant,
vampires Anastasia and Gemma (and their voluntary Happy Meal, Dorian),
professional supernatural debunker Conrad Garrett.
Kitty isn’t happy to learn that the producers lied to her to entice her onto the show. she was told other celebrities had been signed up, while those celebrities were convinced to come on board because they were told Kitty had already agreed. However she agrees to honour her commitment.
At first, the show goes according to plan. Some of Kitty’s cabin-mates are old friends. Others are turn out to be quite personable. The vampires are potential sources of information about the Long Game that has complicated previous books.
Garrett isn’t all that friendly, as he is convinced that everyone else is deluded, fraudulent, or both. He does demonstrate a rare talent for being out of the room whenever something undeniably supernatural occurs.
The first hint that something is going wrong is Dorian’s dead body. He has fallen to his death, and it’s clear the fall was no accident. Someone sabotaged a railing. Then someone sabotages the cabin’s generator and radio.
Valenti, Provost, and Cabe are missing. Kitty and her friends do find the corpses of production assistants Gordon, Skip, and Amy. All three were strangled.
The logical option is to head out for civilization and assistance. But whoever has targeted Kitty and her friends has also surrounded the cabin with traps designed to kill werewolves, vampires, and the like. Trapped in an unlit cabin, Kitty and her allies look to become the next victims of a deadly game.
Of course, they’re also bona fide lycanthropes, vampires, and psychics. One of them is genuine magician. The game may not be as one-sided as their enemies intend.
Much to my sorrow, the author of the series seems to have been reduced to plots in which Kitty and her friends battle gangs of vigilantes. I’ve read too many such novels not to be bored.
Still, the book may be useful to anyone who finds themselves trapped in such a plot. Lesson: don’t try to re-enact “The Most Dangerous Game” starring the protagonist of an ongoing series. Don’t appear in such a re-enactment if you aren’t a recurring supporting character in an ongoing series. You are a Redshirt. Your death will show that the threat is serious.
I don’t like Most Dangerous Game ensemble pieces because I can’t help feeling sorry for the sacrificial victims who are there just to be killed off one by one. A bit absurd, I know. But if the author expects me to worry about the survival of the protagonist, I can damn well worry about the other characters.
When I was sent this book for review eight years ago
(HOW CAN IT BE EIGHT YEARS ALREADY?)
I had to review whatever my editors in New York chose to send me. They sent me this book without having previously sent me the previous two or three volumes. I was befuddled by mentions of the Long Game (which vampires play to see who will rule the world), Now having read the precursors, I can see how this book fits into Vaughn’s grander scheme.
I also found the plot (a network of right-wing nutcases conspires to isolate and murder people they consider deviates and apostates) much more plausible. Alas. The sheer incompetence of the attackers is also realistic: they think they know how their plots will work our (perfectly, natch!) and are surprised when their super-powered prey fights back.
If you ever find yourself in this situation, be sure to fight back. The results may surprise you.