Low Midnight (Kitty Norville)
by Carrie Vaughn
Cover Artist: Craig White
Review by Drew Bittner
Tor Books Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765368690
Date: 30 December 2014 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
Carrie Vaughn gives her popular, laconic Cormac a solo adventure in Low Midnight. With his parole complete, Cormac is now a free man...so now what? Does he want to become a private eye of the supernatural? And what is he to make of Amelia, the century-dead wizardess taking up space in his mind?
Cormac resolves to start with something basic. Kitty's great enemy, a vampire named Roman, is working out the details of his Long Game--a vast and intricate attempt to take over the world. There might be vital keys locked in the diary of a dead witch, but they're in code and nobody has been able to decipher it.
He starts with a visit to the diarist's aunt in Manitou Springs, CO, where the story of two rival magicians--one of whom murdered the other--attracts his attention. On a field trip, he runs across some old associates...and gets an unexpected introduction. Working this line of inquiry puts Cormac together with Anderson Layne, an acquaintance from his early years, who suddenly wants to hunt monsters and has a scheme that welcomes Cormac's help.
However, this deal sends Cormac up against another former associate and his supernatural ally--a conflict which puts Cormac at a big disadvantage, now that he cannot legally carry guns. Even with Kitty along as backup, this skirmish tests Cormac's mettle.
It's when a magician turns up dead that things begin to pull together. A simple notebook has the key, perhaps to all the mysteries they're trying to solve. Cormac just has to survive a magical showdown first--not at high noon but at low midnight.
In this novel, we get inside Cormac's head in ways we never have before. His conversations with Amelia enlighten the readers by providing context and history, so that the mysteries around this character are if not solved, then at least defined. Those who always wondered "why is Cormac that way?" will have a lot of their questions addressed, for sure.
As a partner and sometimes unwilling companion, Amelia is an interesting presence in her own right. She is extremely smart and knowledgeable, able to provide Cormac with necessary information readily, yet still a woman of a century past. Her history unfolds as the story continues, from a girl who was passionately eager to see fairies to her untimely end. Amelia is also rattled by the fear that Cormac will find a way to exorcise her, ending this temporary lease on life--as second-hand as it might be.
Although Cormac is the protagonist, Kitty fans will be happy to know that she and her husband Ben are both strong presences in the story. This novel pushes forward the larger story arc centered around Kitty, setting up the next novel.
Carrie Vaughn has announced that the end of this series is in sight, but it's great to get treats like this along the way.