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Kitty Goes to War (Kitty Norville, Book 8) by Carrie Vaughn
Cover Artist: Craig White
Review by Drew Bittner
Tor Books Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765365613
Date: 29 June 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Kitty Norville has handled all sorts of problems in her career, but this may be a first: a trio of Army Rangers-turned-werewolves are back from Afghanistan and are not adjusting well to being home. On top of that, Kitty is being sued by the owner of a chain of convenience stores.

Just another week in the life of Kitty Norville.

In Kitty Goes to War, the titular heroine is seeing combat on two fronts. The first is the problem posed by three Army Rangers. Their commanding officer in Afghanistan was a werewolf, and he turned them so they could be more effective in the field. Problem is, he was killed and, without a strong alpha, the soldiers have lost themselves, leading to violence and murder.

Kitty is called in by the military and the National Institutes of Health to help figure out if the men can be helped. She makes progress with two, but the third is a cold-blooded killer who everyone thinks is beyond redemption.

While dealing with this problem, an on-air conversation about the strange coincidences around a national chain of convenience stores--and their enigmatic owner, Harold Franklin--leads to Kitty being sued for libel. As she digs in, though, the "coincidences" appear to be anything but; it seems Franklin was at the scenes of major storm-related disasters of the past few years.

With help from her fiance Ben and former bounty hunter Cormac, Kitty begins to delve into both headaches. Her first effort is trying to socialize Tyler and Watkins, the two werewolves she thinks can be redeemed, by bringing them to meet her pack. Her second effort is getting to the bottom of Franklin's weird doings, which includes tailing him as he visits local Speedy Marts in Denver--and some very uncanny things begin to surface.

Kitty's going to have her hands full this time around, because if one problem doesn't blow up on her--and pull the US military into an anti-werewolf crackdown--the weirdness around Harold Franklin may bring down a disaster not only on Kitty but Denver itself.

Carrie Vaughn continues a terrific series with this new installment, delving into entirely new territory (such as post-traumatic stress and the struggles faced by soldiers going home). This could be extremely heavy going, but Vaughn walks a fine line; Kitty's approach is uncertain, since she's in unfamiliar territory herself, and the outcome is unknowable. This provides plenty of drama, as the story picks up speed toward a tremendous climax.

Harold Franklin makes for an interesting adversary, presenting Kitty with entirely new challenges, while the socializing of the werewolf-soldiers Tyler and Walters feels like such a situation should: difficult, with every step forward often provoking two steps back.

The Kitty Norville series has grown into a surprisingly thought-provoking collection of books. Carrie Vaughn continues to grow as a writer, and fantasy readers should be looking forward to much more from her in years to come.

Recommended.

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