January 9th, 2010

_Fired Up_, Jayne Ann Krentz; _Kitty's House of Horrors_, Carrie Vaughn

Both on the kindle.

_Fired Up_ is another Arcane Society series entry, modern day. It is the first of a Dreamlight trilogy focusing on women who can read dream psi. Our hero is a "strat" talent, who is a venture capitalist. He is descended from Nicholas Winters, who in the historical Arcane Society books was a competitor of Sylvestor Jones. Winters created a magical/alchemical lamp that requires, oh, you don't really care. Our hero is kidnapped, experimented on, escapes. He believes he is in the throes of a transition like that suffered by some of his ancestors and must find the lamp and The Woman who can use the lamp to Fix Him. He thinks if he doesn't do this he might go crazy/psychotic, and possibly Fallon Jones of Jones & Jones will hunt him down and off him to prevent him from going crazy/psychotic because there are some prophecies and such like.

Anyway. Our heroine is The Woman who can use the lamp. She's also a private investigator, lone legit member of a family full of people on the extremely grey side of the law. Both leads are based in Seattle, but they visit the tiny town where Fallon Jones runs J&J from (and is about to acquire a partner/love interest/etc. in), and they spend some time in Las Vegas acquiring the lamp and figuring out how to use it.

Jayne Ann Krentz is the kind of author that if you like her stuff, you'll like her stuff; if you don't, you won't. This isn't her best work, but it doesn't suck particularly hard either. Okay, to be fair, the prologue is so awful I almost didn't read it, despite spending extra money to get it immediately upon availability on the kindle. The best bits, really, are the descriptions of places, Seattle, obviously, but a surprisingly good description of Vegas, as well.

In the most recent outing for Kitty, a werewolf (yes, har de har har) talk radio show host who specializes in rambling on about the supernatural and interviewing supernaturals when she can convince them to come on the show, is invited to participate in a reality TV show on a remote ranch in Montana for two weeks. Other participants include Odysseus Grant (the magician from an earlier book), Tina (she of haunted house investigations, also in a previous entry) and several others. The first half of the book is the set up: some lying to recruit supes by telling them Kitty has already signed up, then telling Kitty that everyone else is doing it. Despite detecting this, Kitty still plays along, with her husband Ben staying home to handle Cormac's parole hearing. The supes get to know each other: the vampires are not ones that Kitty already knows. The older of the two and Odysseus face off against each other several times, dancing around whether one or the other of them might be working for Roman in the Long Game. Cue suspenseful music.

Around the time Kitty just gets annoyed and decides to confront the guys producing the show to find out whether _they_ are working for Roman, things take a turn for the creepy: all the production assistants and the donor for the vampires become bodies overnight, and the producers themselves are nowhere to be found. Needless to say, the generator, the airplane and all radios have been sabotaged, the whole area is outside cell phone coverage and the sat phone has gone missing. It all gets really bloody from there.

Kitty channels Cormac [ETA: figuratively] to come up with (a) plan(s) for how to survive and figure out who is responsible and get them, but the body count for the good guys gets distressingly high. But the old vamp makes it, and by the end of the book, there's a really interesting alliance shaping up, not just to deal with the immediate threat, but in anticipation of further trouble from Roman, and other humans who aren't happy about the supernaturals and are prepared to do something about it.

On the one hand, the story line here is basically Hunting People Is the Best Hunting Ever. That story line has been done and done and done, and I, personally, have had enough of it. It _is_ nice that in a horror movie set up, at least some of the characters behave somewhat sensibly. It might be possible to read this entry as a standalone, altho the series as a whole is good enough, and the individual books such short and quick reads that I would just suggest starting at the beginning.

Edited to correct typo/grammar problems.