Book Reviews

Book Review: Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand by Carrie Vaughn – Wedding in Las Vegas

The fifth book in this series by Carrie Vaughn makes me inclined to think Vaughn was not impressed with Las Vegas when she was there.  She advances her characters nicely, but at the same time, I felt the story was a bit uneven.

For those who aren’t familiar with the characters, Kitty Norville is a reluctant werewolf who managed to use that condition to develop an extremely popular radio show.  She and her fiancée (and lawyer) Ben are the heads of the werewolf pack in Denver, having accomplished this at the end of the last novel.  Kitty is of two different minds concerning a wedding when she comes up with the idea to elope to Las Vegas while at the same time hosting a live television broadcast of her popular radio show.  This even allows her parents to tag along and see her get married.

If life were that easy, especially for Kitty Norville, there wouldn’t be a book.  When they arrive in Las Vegas, Kitty and Ben discover there’s a huge gun show in town that has attracted the crowd that hunts werewolves and vampires.  At one time, Ben was one of them with his cousin Cormac until a hunt went wrong and he became a werewolf himself. Now his old crowd would seem to be the enemy.

Kitty makes the acquaintance of the local Master Vampire, but can’t figure out why there are no werewolves in Vegas.  As she researches the situation, she comes upon an animal act at one of the hotels that sets her on edge.  Meanwhile, Ben finds himself in a poker tournament.  The day of the wedding arrives… and Ben disappears.  Has he run out on her?  Has something happened to him?

There was a lot of promise in Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand, but it didn’t pan out, unfortunately.  Vaughn did a terrific job setting up a bunch of mysteries, and the follow-through just seemed to be a let-down, especially when it came to what happened to Ben.  Kitty tries to find him, not believing he’d run out on her, and it just seems to be a non-stop overnight where she goes everywhere and anywhere.  She seems to explore every possibility superficially and discounts each scenario for what seems like equally superficial reasons. 

I’m hoping that some of the characters introduced in Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand will show up again in future installments to make this one worth reading.  If you’re keeping up with the adventures of Kitty and Ben, you’ll want to read it regardless. Just be ready for one of the more scattered and weaker books in the series.

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