Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughan (#4 in the Kitty Norville series) 2008 (326 pgs)
When her mom calls with a cancer scare, werewolf DJ Kitty breaks her banishment from Denver and risks the wrath of her former Alpha to rush to her mom’s side. And then things get complicated. Kitty finds herself smack dab in the middle of not just a werewolf power struggle, but a vampire one as well. Kitty has to figure out who’s pulling the strings; how to keep from becoming anyone’s pawn; and keep herself, her boyfriend, and her family alive in the process.
Personal Demon (Women of the Underworld #9) by Kelley Armstrong (371 pgs) 2008
The latest entry from this reliably enjoyable series centers on chaos-sensing half-demon Hope and her on-again-off-again werewolf boyfriend Karl. (How’s that for hyphenates!) Hope’s affinity for chaos makes her an ideal candidate to infiltrate a gang of rebellious half-demons. Unfortunately she finds herself liking the danger a little too much.
Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn (#2 in Kitty Norville series) 2006 (342 pgs)
When she’s called on to testify at a Senate hearing on the paranormal, Kitty finds herself facing off with foes both human and not so human. In the “definite enemy” camp, there’s a vitriolic senator looking to bring back the good ol’ McCarthy days, and the eerie leader of a revival-like cult of born-again vampires and werewolves. In the “are they or aren’t they” category, there’s the vampire mistress of the city who insists that Kitty accept her hospitality, and a paranormal researcher with nebulous motivations. Luckily, Kitty’s got friends too.
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (#3 in the Twilight novels) 2007 (629 pgs)
I’m not exactly the target audience (witness the use of a cheesy 80s song for the post title.) Nevertheless, I do enjoy revisiting the land of teeny angst and drama occasionally.
This third entry finds Bella in an emotional tug of war between her vampire boyfriend Edward and her werewolf best friend Jacob (who’s naturally in love with her). Add in the necessity of keeping their world a secret, a vampire in search of vengeange, and rampaging spree killers in nearby Seattle. Stir. And enjoy.
Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn 2007 (272 pgs)
When the pressure of being a publicly-identified werewolf gets to be too much for Kitty she retires to a cabin in the woods to destress and write her memoirs. But she finds it’s hard to maintain your Waldenesque calm when someone keeps leaving skinned animals and bloody crosses on your doorstep.
As if that wasn’t enough, a couple of friends in crisis show up- one a professional werewolf hunter and the other a newly-bitten werewolf on the edge of his first change. Toss in a curandero (medicine man), a skinwalker, a few curses, some unfriendly townfolk, and the every day hazards of being a werewolf in a man’s world and it makes for a particularly unrestful retreat.
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn (272 pgs) 2005
Closeted werewolf Kitty accidentally creates a talk-radio show for supernatural beasties at her late night DJ gig. And it’s a hit. A huge hit.
Unfortunately that eventually leads to several people trying to kill her. Good fun.
Benighted by Kit Whitfield (532 pgs) 2006
It’s an odd mix- somewhere between Paul Auster and To Kill a Mockingbird. With werewolves. And yet it works- suprisingly well.
The world is much like ours except the majority of the population are lycanthropes and being human is a birth defect. “Barebacks” as they’re called are a maginalized minority, on the recieving end of prejudice and discrimination.
Most of the population willingly submits to curfews, locking themselves in on full moon nights to avoid causing harm. But there are always a few who won’t follow the rules. Because humans are few in number, all non-lycos are required to work for the government agency which captures and prosecutes those who break the Full Moon Laws. Think of them as a blend of police, dogcatchers, and lawyers. It’s neither prestigious nor terribly safe work. But, as they say, someone’s got to do it.
Lola, the sole “bareback” in her family, is resigned to her lot in life. It’s not quite a calling, and not quite a punishment. It’s simply what she does. And more- what she is, what all humans are. Non-lycos are feared, resented, and isolated. They’re nearly powerless in their jobs, fighting large predators with nothing more than dogcatcher poles, knock-out juice, and 2-shot silver bullet backups they’re rarely legally allowed to use. The occasional power they get over their oppressors can be heady. Lola discovers to her dismay just how far fear and retribution can take her.
Not only an entertaining entry in the werewolf genre (a sort of hard-boiled social commentary take) Benighted is also the most interesting reflection on prejudice and discrimination I’ve read in a long time. It very effectively captures how mutual hatred degrades everyone involved and how fear leads people to do things they wouldn’t believe themselves capable of.