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Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand    by Carrie Vaughn order for
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
by Carrie Vaughn
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Now that Kitty and Ben are secure in their new position as Alpha pair of Denver's werewolf pack, they decide it's time to make their bond permanent. Both are loathe, however, to get roped into the nightmare of a traditional wedding, despite Kitty's mother's well-meaning hints that they owe it their families to do just that. When Kitty's radio producer announces that he's gotten her a prime television gig in Las Vegas, she and Ben decide to have their trip serve a dual purpose. Even a hotel filled with werewolf hating bounty hunters (some of whom have a past association with Ben) can't stifle their excitement over their impending Las Vegas nuptials.

A bunch of gun toting killers soon becomes the least of their worries after Ben disappears while participating in a high stakes poker game. As Kitty frantically searches for him she must also fulfill a promise to deliver a special message to the city's master vampire, Dominic, while fending off the overzealous attentions of a magician who fancies himself in love with her - and whose magical animal act might be more real than the audience realises.

The first half of this tepid 5th episode in the ongoing adventures of werewolf and radio talk show host Kitty Norville suffers from an uninspired and overly clichéd Las Vegas setting and slow pacing. Kitty and Ben are a very engaging couple, but Vaughn doesn't seem to know what to do with them in the first third of the novel. The pace eventually picks up as Kitty is forced to deal with a sudden plethora of problems, some of which are too hastily tied off while others are clearly lead ins for the heroine's next supernatural adventure, Kitty Raises Hell, which should be on book shelves right now.

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