“Kitty Goes To Washington” rolls straight on from “Kitty And The Midnight Hour” but with a change in pace and tone. Kitty seems a little more certain of herself than she did in the first book. She has left her home and her pack and taken her radio show, “The Midnight Hour” on the road across America. She is starting to build a life for herself in the human and the supernatural world.
The plot revolves around what happens to Kitty when the Christian Fundamentalist, supernaturals-are-an-offence-againt-God Senator that we met in the last book, summons her to testify at a Senate Committee which is allegedly investigating state-sponsored research into the supernatural.
Of course, all is not what it seems. The Senator has an evil plan and Kitty is at its centre. This plot premise could have produced a political thriller with Kitty cast as the heroine, saving the world with her awesome werewolf powers. Thankfully, Carrie Vaughan avoids this and continues to present Kitty as a young woman, recovering from a trauma but becoming reconciled with who and what she is and is gaining confidence from the popularity of her show. Kitty goes to Washington with no political or social agenda and does not see herself as leading anything.
She quickly discovers that this I’m-just-a-talkshow-host stance is not credible in Washington, where everyone expects something of her. This shows the nature of Washington but it also makes Kitty reflect on what role she should play and what it means to be a supernatural.
In Washington, Kitty finds a club that offers a haven for shape-shifters, allowing association without the restrictions of a Pack and promoting good music, good food and good company. Although the freedom and the pleasures this affords, especially in the form a Brazilian were-panther who becomes Kitty’s lover for a while, initially appeals to Kitty, as the book progresses she finds that she cannot adopt the passive, don’t-get-involved, live-for-moment way of life. Her loyalties, sense of duty and belief in doing what she can to make things better, pull her in a different direction.
While at the club, she meets with, solitary, taciturn, old werewolf that everyone believes is an ex-Nazi. When he finally shares his bleak story with her, Kitty is pushed further along the road of thinking that being a werewolf does not obviate the need for choosing how you will live but perhaps makes the choice more pressing.
One of the things I liked most in the book was the new vampire that Kitty meets. It was refreshing, almost startling, to meet a vampire who is not a narcissist but rather has a desire to protect and nurture. Kitty’s relationship with the vampire, testing limits, earning respect, building a mutual loyalty and obligation, speaks to many of the things that Kitty needs that the shapeshifter club does not provide.
“Kitty Goes To Washington” continues with a number of the characters from the previous book: we discover the true nature of the mysterious cult-leader who claims to be able to “cure” supernaturals, we meet Kitty’s “Deep Throat” research scientist and understand what he wants from Kitty, we see how far the Senator is willing to go for his cause and we see Kitty starting to build a network of friends and supporters.
Although more thoughtful than the first book, “Kitty Goes To Washington” has a least three strong action scenes that have major plot consequences. The political aspects of the book a credible and all the more threatening for that. Like politics in real-life, the day-to-day can seem a little anti-climatic but the issues are real and the stakes are high.
As with the first book, I enjoyed Kitty’s talkshow. It opens up the book, adds some humour, but also shows how these shows can take on a life of their own when they provide a space for the voiceless to be heard.
By the end of this book, it is clear, even to Kitty, that she cannot be just a talkshow host any more. She is a symbol, an ambassador, a target and may become a leader.