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As a nightshift detective in Nocturne City, Luna Wilder keeps her status as an Insoli (packless) werewolf a secret from all but her boss, Lieutenant McAllister. Humans are suspicious of shapeshifters and magic users, their natural prejudice intensified by the Hex Riots in 1969, which destroyed part of the City and left it a no-go zone. Helped by her witch cousin, Sunny, Luna tries to control her phasing, using tattoos and other magical techniques to survive without a pack's support.

When Luna's transferred from investigating a prostitute's ritualistic murder to locate the missing son of the City's DA, Alastair Duncan, she finds a connection between the cases in the form of prime suspect, Dimitry Sandovski - the leader of a werewolf pack. Even as she fights her attraction to Dimitri, Luna finds that she needs his help in her investigation, one that brings her into contact with black magic, violent death and a terrifying attempt to harness the power of demons.

Kittredge has put a lot of thought into Nocturne City and there's much to admire in her werewolf and witchcraft mythology. The notion of a packless werewolf forces Luna to learn what she can about her condition without the support of a pack who can help her develop and control her ability and teach her more about it. The City itself is shaped by its history, giving it a feeling of reality. A map has also been included to help readers navigate around its key locations.

Although Kittredge sees Luna as a tough woman with a take-no-prisoners approach but a damaged past that gives her vulnerability, she comes across as a snotty cow. Rude and abrasive, she labels any woman who stands up to her a "bitch", pushes away people who care for her and for an experienced detective, is naive and impetuous. Dimitri is similarly unsympathetic - arrogant and single-minded and brutal, it's difficult to see why Luna is attracted to him for reasons other than his role as a leader.

A scene depicting the use of black magic to transform bodies is chilling and the love scene is spicy. However the editing is poor with random capitalisation and typos in places (in one scene a character takes out a gun twice) while the pacing sometimes lags. There's enough backstory and mythology to keep me interested in the series, but the heroine needs to be a little less stereotypical.
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I call it the Anita Blake Effect -- a supposedly tough and powerful heroine who just ends up being dumb, bratty, whiny, selfish and violent.

Unfortunately that effect is in full force in Caitlin Kittredge's debut "Night Life," a cheesy little urban fantasy that manages to be convoluted and simplistic at the same time. The biggest problem is the protagonist Luna, a truly repulsive character in a cast of nasty rotten people -- she's one of those charming supernatural "heroines" you would chew your own leg off to escape, since she's only interested in her own woes, sex, and bitterness.

Luna (cheesy) is both a cop and a werewolf in the bleak Nocturne City (cheeeeesy) is called in to investigate a brutally murdered hooker... who is also a Redback werewolf. Her investigation takes her to the Redback alpha/pimp Dmitri, but she finds that she just doesn't believe that the best suspect is actually the guilty party... yeah, she basically lets him go because he's hot. And when another hooker is found brutally murdered, they have a suspect: Stephen Duncan, a poor little rich boy who was having sex with both women.

But of course, Luna just KNOWS that Stephen isn't the bad guy. In defiance of her superiors -- and Stephen's megarich father -- she and Dmitri start investigating who really murdered the women. Unfortunately they have a new supernatural enemy, a mysterious witch that left a strange mark on Luna. All these factors tie in with a strange, ancient demon named Meggoth... who might be about to make a reappearance. Cue spooky music.

Taken by itself, "Night Life" is a mediocre urban fantasy -- serial killings, cop friction, really bad detective work, a miserable and seedy city with werewolves and witches running around. There's nothing particularly special about it, and Caitlin Kitteridge's little touches make it worse -- unintentional cheesiness with the names (Sunflower? A werewolf named Luna? NOCTURNE CITY?), fantasy Wicca, and some random plot twists that are never explained (what exactly is a "watchman"?).

And that bland little plot manages to be both too simple and too complex -- there's too much going on, and too little of it has to do with the actual plot (such as the oh-so-kinky trip to the "flesh-sculpting diva). At the same time, it's glaringly obvious who the bad guy is from early on -- and the climax rapidly spirals into an unintentionally silly showdown that clangs to a stop like a dungeon door. (Really, an ancient and dangerous demon who turns out to Just Wanna Be Wuvved? Cue laugh track).

But the worst part of the book is Luna, whose dark and angsty personality is expressed by a black bedroom and (if the cover chick is an indicator) Hot Topic gothwear. She's also a Mary Sue of the highest caliber -- an unjustly-loathed outcast who is still dominant enough to make werewolves quake, uber-sexy, the best cop ever, and so strong and tough and unique that everyone (including Moggath) is impressed by her.

And the Anita Blake Effect means that she never misses a chance to unleash bitter vitriol or fly into a rage, violent, self-absorbed (apparently being forced into bottom-rung prostitution isn't as bad as having a MEAN OL' GRANNY) and so breathtakingly dense that she bumbles through the case on luck. It doesn't help that the cover chick is a dead ringer for Kittredge.

And the rest of the cast is similarly repulsive, mainly so Luna will seem like a Tuff Strong Woman. All the women are jealous, evil or dead, and all the cops are brain-dead misogynist pigs who constantly say things like "if you did you'd be home with your man wearin' nothing but a cute little apron" without getting in trouble. Oh yes, and Luna is the only female cop in an ENTIRE CITY. Yeah, that's likely.

"Night Life" is a devastatingly stupid, offensively snotty little urban fantasy whose tepid plot can't even begin to cover up the wretched Mary Sue heroine. Give this one a miss... in fact, don't even touch it.
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on 14 March 2013
Just finished reading Caitlin Kittredge's Nightlife,this is the first of Caitlin's books that i have read, & i can't wait to read the other 2.Take a trip to Nocturne city but be a fraid, a round every corner there could be a "were wolf" either in the shape of Detective Luna Wilder,or attractive red back Dmitri Sandovsky.Sandovsky goes from suspect to lover,with the help of cuz Sunny who happens to be a "witch" & Dmitri,Luna brings the bad guy's to there knees.Read the book & make up your own mind.
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on 20 March 2008
I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book since I saw it advertised somewhere months ago. After getting a sneak peek at this author's talents in "My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon" I was even more eager to get my hands on this book.

I was not disappointed at all! Another great new author has come into the Urban Paranormal fold and I hope she is welcomed with open arms! Night Life is the first part in the 'Nocturne City' series and if the other books to come are anything like this debut I will be extremely happy.

Luna is a great lead character and is as Hard as they come but also alone. She is an Insoli werewolf and a police detective but has no pack. All she has is her cousin Sunny and a few collegues from work who seem to like her.

This story is fast paced, smart and dark. Think NYPD Blues but with werewolves and demons! I totally enjoyed this and can't wait for 'Pure Blood' out in August.
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2009
I came to this by way of an Amazon recommendation, and am glad I did.
True there are times when you want to slap her for being so stooopid, and the hero changes rather fast from drunken nasty to romantic hero. I liked the work politics, the uncertainty over who was the baddie, and the twist towards the end over whether the apparent really bad baddie was so very bad after all.
The were society needs more explaining (reviews suggest this comes in the next book in the series) and why oh why was Luna, the lowest of the low in were society, able to pull an Alpha stunt on a threatening male??? It happens, nobody comments on it, she doesn't wonder why - it's not referred to again, which is annoying.
One small point, the author refers to the characters were sides as separate entities - "the were let go and raked her nails... I slammed the porcelain hard." and at first I wondered who this other character was and where they'd come from. Once I'd got that sorted was okay! Also on one or two occasions it wasn't immediately clear whether the word w-e-r-e meant were(wolf) or (we) were (happy) - maybe I read too fast, but I certainly had to pause and consider on at least one occasion.
The action is fast, there's one well written and quite hot sex scene, Luna's family are set up in an interestingly vague way and there is clearly more to be revealed about them, and Luna, and werewolf society, and Dmitri... I will buy the next one.
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on 29 June 2010
My title sums this up. The novel was full of deeply unlikeable and unsympathetic characters and made it a real bind to read so I gave up in the end. I found Luna petty, whiny and so full of issues but with no redeeming traits taht I couldn't root for her at all. It was like the author was trying to make her feisty and issues based and got way laid in her incidents!

I wanted to read a series with a feisty heroine with "balls" but found Luna so unlikeable I really didn't care, and gave up.
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2008
I was really looking forward to this. The blurb, and some of the ideas, stand out from the crowd of paranormal/urban fantasy books on the market. Unfortunately, the characters are flimsy and their actions are melodramatic. The heroine is forever charging around, doing things which she knows are stupid - literally, she even acknowledges before she does them that they are stupid, and will be counterproductive to what she wants to achieve. I ran out of patience and couldn't be bothered to even skim read the last half of the book. I might the author out again in a few years, like I said, she definitely has some good ideas, but her writing isn't there yet for me. That said, if you like it frothy with some darkness, this could be the book for you.
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on 19 July 2015
As described
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on 11 March 2009
I love her attitude, it makes me laugh! I think that this book is better than both 'Pure Blood and 'Second Skin.'
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