Don’t Ever Play With Guns

Kitty Takes a Holiday — Carrie Vaughn
Kitty Norville, book 3


2007’s Kitty Takes a Holiday is the third volume in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.

Determined to discover her inner writer, werewolf Kitty Norville put her radio show on hiatus and rented an isolated house. Thus far all she has discovered is her inner writer’s block.

Fate is kind to Kitty. Kitty will have distractions galore from her writing issues.

Kitty’s lawyer Ben is besties with Cormac, Werewolf Hunter! Hanging out with a someone who stalks and kills supernatural beings for a living is a good way to learn many useful things, not least of which is “sometimes the bear gets you.” Bitten by a werewolf, Ben faces a lifetime of transformation every time the full moon rises.

Cormac cannot bring himself to simply shoot Ben to avert the coming struggle with lycanthropy. Instead, he dumps Ben on Kitty, in the hope that Kitty can show Ben how to live with his new condition. This proves to be the right thing to do. For Ben.

Not so good for Kitty, She finds herself the focus of an ongoing harassment campaign. Someone or someones in her temporary backwater community has decided that they don’t want to have a werewolf neighbour. The campaign begins with bloody crosses painted on Kitty’s house’s door. It escalates from there.

If all that were not enough, another werewolf is stalking Ben, seeking revenge for the death of their slain partner. Or perhaps I should say “something darker than a werewolf.”


I wonder how many urban fantasy authors have a shelf of Tony Hillerman novels? There’s not enough wordage in this novel that Vaughn can expand the native American aspects of her book, but those aspects are there. I’d be curious to hear what more culturally informed readers made of this book.

This is the book in which Cormac discovers to his (and no doubt many of his readers’) tremendous surprise that it is surprisingly illegal to shoot a helpless person in the head, even if you don’t like them all that much. Cormac’s decision to off-handedly execute a potential threat forces Ben and Kitty to spend much of the book looking for a way to present Cormac’s action as self-defence.

That said, I am pretty skeptical that law enforcement would get as het up as it does over the roadside execution of a Native American woman. There’s just too much evidence that law enforcement doesn’t particularly mind if indigenous persons are killed. Even if charges are brought, it is next to impossible to get a conviction.

Still, if we accept that one impossible thing, it’s a welcome change to see an urban fantasy in which the protagonist and their pals are not entitled to kill with impunity. In most urban fantasies, the characters leave a trail of bodies behind them and face little in the way of legal complications as a result. The idea that even Kitty and her friends might be subject to the law is a delightfully original conceit for an urban fantasy.

Kitty Takes a Holiday is available here (Amazon) and here (Chapters-Indigo).


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