Let's be honest here -- if all werewolves, vampires and other such were revealed to the world, the repercussions would be extreme in every area of society.
But not many urban fantasy authors bother to deal with that part of the story, because it's much harder than werewolf packs or vampire politics. But Carrie Vaughn give it a fair shot in "Kitty Goes to Washington," a smart, tense little urban fantasy that takes our werewolf heroine into government conspiracies and vampire takeovers.
Kitty is subpoenaed by the Senate, to appear at a special hearing examining the existence of weres, vampires, and other supernatural creatures. Apparently she's representing... all of them, as some sort of expert.
But her arrival causes a stir in more than the Senate, where the existence, nature and danger of supernaturals is being hotly debated. She starts exploring Washington's lyncanthrope population (including a very sexy werejaguar), and is taken under the wing of the city's vampire, Alette (although Kitty can't quite bring herself to trust her).
Unfortunately Kitty has a Bible-thumping fanatical senator determined to destroy her, the eerie faith healer Elijah Smith, and a mysterious scientist who might be willing to do ANYTHING for funding. And after Kitty deals with the mystery of Smith's "church," she finds herself at the mercy of men who want to reveal what she is to the world... and they're not terribly picky about how they do it.
One of the things that sets Carrie Vaughn's books apart is her heroine. In a genre full of leather-clad, gun-waving, sex-mad, heartily obnoxious superwomen, it's nice to occasionally see a heroine who is smart, courageous, stable, humble and more inclined to use her brains than a knife or gun. In other words, no AnitaBlakeitis here.
In fact, Vaughn even takes a few teasing pokes at the genre's cliches ("Vast halls filled with pouty Eurotrash vampires -- yeah, that was the image"), and some of the myriad werecreatures that populate other books (a guy inquiring about werealpacas).
And though a story about a series of Senate hearings sounds dull, she manages to convincingly show the societal ripples that supernatural creatures would cause, and the questions they would raise. Not to mention the fanatical wackos (like Duke) they would enrage. The subplots are what generate more excitement -- breaking into a government lab with Cormac, dealing with vampire schemes, and trying to figure out who's a friend and who's a foe.
But the story takes a darker, nastier turn about two thirds of the way through, when Kitty confronts the malignant Elijah Smith, gets trapped on live TV during the full moon, and faces off against a nasty usurping vampire. The clash with Smith goes by too quickly -- seriously, is that all it takes? -- but otherwise it's a nice, tightly-written swirl of conspiracies and crime.
"Kitty Goes To Washington" is a smart look at what would hapen if vampires and weres not only existed, but were outed to normal human society. Humorous, dark and tightly-written.