Today's book review is Kitty Goes to Washingtion by Carrie Vaughn.
This is the sequel to Kitty and the Midnight Hour, or perhaps I should say the second in the series. Some characters carry over, and it would probably be a little clearer to start with the first book, but this book would make sense by itself. These books are in the modern-vampire genre, the "what if werewolves and vampires and such are really there, hiding in the shadows of the modern world" books that are so popular these days, concentrating primarily on werewolves instead of vampires and told from the point of view of a werewolf radio host. The supernatural stuff is kind of fun. It would take some really fancy footwork to pull off a version of these supernatural creatures that more or less fits the legends and actually stands up to critical thinking. This book doesn't achieve that; you have to just be willing to swallow the premise and not consider how silly it is. But it's a fun romp. This book, this genre, do raise some real questions about what it means to be human, the nature of good and evil, and all that. But we don't dwell too excessively on those themes; we just have a story that's a fun way to waste a day. 8 out of 10.
**** PLOT SUMMARY -- MASSIVE SPOILERS ****
In the previous book, Kitty has abandoned her home and her pack and started wandering. In this book, she's wandering toward LA when she gets a call from her lawyer. A Senate oversight committee is looking into the Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology. The committee is chaired by Senator Joseph Duke, a bible thumper who wants to prove the supernatural exists so he can fight it with the government. Kitty interviews Dr. Flemming, the director of the CSPB, on her show; he is evasive and unhelpful and won't take questions from callers on the air. When she arrives in DC, Kitty is caught in a police road block and two "Men In Black" pull her aside and persuade her to put herself under the protection of Alette, the vampire mistress of the area. They warn her that the lycanthropes in DC are dangerous and should be avoided. But Kitty has received an invitation to a swank opening at an art gallery, and decides to go. Alette gives her Leo, a vampire chaperone, and lets her borrow a diamond necklass. At the opening, she meets Luis, a were-jaguar who works for the Brazilian embassy. He takes her to the Crescent, a club for lycanthropes, where she discovers that there's a whole lot of werewolves (and were-other stuff) who aren't run by pack alphas, they just get along. Kitty and Luis give Leo the slip and go to bed at his apartment. Leo tracks them down before morning, one of the human Men In Black knocks down the door, and she gets pulled back to Alette's, but now she suspects that the main problem with the local lycanthropes is just that Alette can't control them.
At the Senate hearings, Kitty meets Roger Stockton, a tabloid reporter, and Jeffrey Miles, a genuine psychic. The reporter has found where Elijah Smith, the faith healer who "cures" vampires and werewolves, is camped, and somehow the three of them go to check it out. Roger has an amulet from her Irish grandmother that allows the wearer to see through Smith's illusion. He's an Unseelie Sidhe, and apparently somehow sustains himself from the energies of the vampires and werewolves he's enslaved. Roger gets a charm from his grandmother which works perfectly to destroy Smith, freeing the enslaved. Not knowing who else she could call, she calls Alette, who takes the vampires into her protection and calms the werewolves down enough to minimize the carnage.
Then Kitty, with the help of Cormac, who'd shown up as security for the hearings but was fired by Duke for knowing Kitty, breaks into Dr. Flemming's office. When she'd visited before, he'd been shredding documents, but she manages to find a schedule of people interviewed with first names, including Leo's, and Fritz', an elderly, secretive werewolf from the club. She also discovers that Flemming has two holding cells -- one with garlic impregnated walls to hold a vampire, the other with silver to hold a werewolf. Kitty tries to draw out Fritz, and wins a little of his confidence. Later, Fritz calls in during the show and confesses to having been a German soldier in World War II. The next day, Fritz is dead of a heart attack.
Kitty finally gives her testimony, and Senator Duke goes off on a tirade that makes his lunacy obvious, threatening his political position. It's the night of the full moon, and Bradley (one of the Men In Black) is giving Kitty a ride to the club when Leo forces himself into the party. Shortly before they arrive, Leo breaks Bradley's neck, overpowers Kitty, taking a bit of her blood, binds her with silver handcuffs, and delivers her to Flemming's lab, where Roger is set up with network TV cameras and Senator Duke is on hand for the kill. Kitty somehow manages to get some control of the situation, agreeing to let Roger interview her in exchange for making the whole farce part of a televised version of her show. On camera, she accuses Duke, Fleming, and the others of kidnapping her. Then she changes into a werewolf, on live TV, but instead of attacking, Wolf just tries to hide from the raving Duke.
Later that night, she wakes up human. Flemming lets her go. Cormac and Ben (her lawyer) deliver her to the club, where Luis waited for her. Ahmed (who runs the club) won't help; she goes to try to save Alette alone. Alette has been tied up with crossess, in a pool of holy water, facing a window. Kitty lets her feed to recover her strength and then Alette confronts Leo. Leo wins the first round, but before he can bite Kitty, Flemming shows up and stakes Leo. Then Ben and Cormac can show up before Flemming works himself up to shooting Alette with the stake gun. Flemming's position is somewhat ambiguous. He says he was tired of being a pawn; Alette apparently let him go.
Kitty almost can't go through with facing the public at the hearing, where the Senate committee is supposed to deliver its report (despite its chairman being missing). The report finds that the supernatural stuff is not a threat to panic over, but is worth real medical study. We're not quite sure how things will shake out, but in disgracing himself Senator Duke seems to have undermined his cause. Kitty wants to take a break from the show, and Luis is offering to show her Rio...