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File:Kitty Norville 2143.jpg
"I collected stories. That was how I kept doing the show week after week. There were always new stories to tell, each one stranger than the one before it."
—from Kitty and the Silver Bullet

Kitty Norville is successful, a rising star in the radio culture. Her radio show, The Midnight Hour, has become an overnight sensation, providing outre music, observations about the bizarre, and call-in radio advice for the loners, the odd, and the unusual.

When the advice includes religious advice for those who can't safely walk into a church or relationship advice for those iffy full moon nights, when the observations are about which popular actor seems a bit too young and avoids sunlight, and the outre music is playing Billie Jean instead of Thriller, it becomes a bit odd. Kitty takes it in style, though; compared to dealing with her own lycanthropy, giving advice for a vampire's slaves is easy.

Nine books have been released, and at least one more is planned. Additionally, a collection of short stories in the same universe has also been released. So far, there are:

  • Kitty and the Midnight Hour
  • Kitty Goes to Washington
  • Kitty Takes a Holiday
  • Kitty and the Silver Bullet
  • Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
  • Kitty Raises Hell
  • Kitty's House of Horrors
  • Kitty Goes to War
  • Kitty's Big Trouble

And the short story collection:

  • Kitty's Greatest Hits

The series is aimed at a bit of a niche market. Each book begins with a song playlist, for starters. While each book does have a single plot that finishes at the end, many of the plotlines stretch from one book to the next. Unlike most books using werewolves and vampires and other horror tropes, and like the Mercy Thompson series, the focus is less on conventional horror and more on the political and social issues underlying the problems. The denouement is less often a massive bloody brawl -- Kitty only takes down a single Mook and a weak fae herself in the first three books, and the fourth book is the first time a Big Bad is taken out by her hand -- and more often about untangling vampire or werewolf politics and managing to not be violent to a nasty politician.


This series contains examples of :

  • All Myths Are True (or most of them anyway)
  • Alpha Bitch: Meg, both literally and figuratively. And she gets exactly what she deserves.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: the Long Game
  • Anticlimax Boss: Lawrence Wilson from Kitty Takes a Holiday.
  • Anti-Villain: Alice, Arturo, and the ifrit, which is under the control of the vampire priestess and so is not truly attacking Kitty and her pack out of malice. Maybe.
  • Anyone Can Die: And how. Book 7 especially exploits this.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Anastasia departing "into the West" with Xiwangmu. It is played reminiscently of Enoch "walking with God".
  • Badass Squad: In Kitty Goes to War, Captain Gordon and his pack of Special Forces werewolves are these, achieving results far beyond their expectations, but the pack completely fall apart after Gordon, the alpha, dies.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil/Order Versus Chaos: It's not clear which way the series is going to fall on these tropes; Roman and his ilk definitely seem to hew toward the "evil and darkness taking over the world" end, while the conflict between Grant and the Band of Tiamat is explicitly described as one fought "over the nature of the universe". In Book 7, Kitty calls such dualities false, to which Grant says "You're learning," but whatever it is they're fighting and why, it seems clear that by the end of the series there will be a big battle, and at stake will be such things as peace and harmony, free will, and of course the fate of the supernatural world.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Kitty's Big Trouble starts off with Kitty investigating rumors concerning General Sherman and Wyatt Earp. They turn out to be true.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: the curse from Book Three is actually being cast by Alice, the sweet store-owner lady
  • Body Surf/Grand Theft Me: Heroic variation--during his stint in prison, Cormac got to be the host for the spirit of Amelia Parker, a wrongfully executed Victorian Age wizard.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Really, Roman, what were you thinking? Your original plot might have worked; it's not your fault Kitty was too Genre Savvy. After she saw through you and your plan failed, wanting to torture her psychologically is understandable for someone like you, albeit short-sighted. However, making a comeback by hiring a weather wizard to kill mildly inconvenience Kitty with a blizzard was really, really stupid. If you actually have some crazy plan that doesn't require killing Kitty, we haven't seen the slightest sign of it yet, let alone how it was actually helped by the blizzard.
  • Bring Out Your Gay Dead: Straight Gay T.J. gets Stuffed Into the Fridge, by the straight man he once loved. Ouch. No other openly gay or lesbian characters show up.
    • Probably subverted with Tina in a later book. She reveals her sexuality after the Big Bad has been beaten, along with some other reveals, and that's the end. She's arguably Straight Gay, though.
      • In the seventh book, she has a thing for Jeffrey Miles.
  • Broken Bird: Anastasia. Between the events of book seven and her backstory as revealed in book nine...
  • Cats Are Mean: subverted with Luis, played straight with Balthasar and Nick
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Although the first book was not exactly light-hearted fare, each one since then has gotten progressively darker as the series seems to be building toward a climactic showdown between the forces of good and evil, or order and chaos, with the human world caught in the middle. Unlike most examples of this trope, this seems to have been planned from the beginning, and its gradual nature is both believable and satisfying.
  • The Chessmaster: Mercedes, and most definitely Roman
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Charlie and Violet, to some extent.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Detective Hardin acts as the low-ranked version of this for Kitty, though at times rather unwillingly and snarkily. Even after the decision in the Senate in book 2, people do tend to still fear/hate the supernaturals, making this a secret Hot Line version of the trope--at least as far as the public goes; other members of the force are aware of both Kitty and Hardin's focus (they call it obsession) on the paranormal, and instead react with mockery. Except when the shit hits the fan and they need help, of course.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: In a seemingly random moment at the start of Kitty Raises Hell, one of her callers claims there is a correlation between robberies, ley lines, and the location of Speedy Mart convenience stores. Though intrigued, Kitty dismisses him thanks to his You Have to Believe Me crackpot nature. However, this turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun: Charles from Shreveport, in Kitty Goes to War, lays out a more detailed plot connecting the president of the company with major weather disasters over the last forty years. It turns out he's absolutely right--and gets killed for his troubles. Even Ben is forced to admit, when the truth comes out, that Kitty may be right to be Properly Paranoid.
  • Corrupt Hick: Sheriff Marks
  • Cosmic Horror: Found within/beyond Grant's cabinet.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Vampires are immortal, powerful, dominate the minds of other people, and can recover from all but the most destructive attacks. Werewolves almost never get sick, have impressive senses, heal from nearly anything, and move faster than humans can. Kitty still treats the conditions are a chronic disease... although there are downsides made clear.
    • Vampires need blood (not necessarily to kill people, just to drink blood, but even that is a fairly big downside) and burst into flame in sunlight. They have other weaknesses as well, but sunlight is the big one. Werewolves shapeshift involuntarily once a month and have to work to suppress it whenever they simply get frightened or stressed. When they do shift, they take on the mentality of their alternate form, which is inconvenient at best and sometimes dangerous to themselves or others. They are also severely allergic to silver. We see plenty of characters who don't think of the conditions as diseases, but Kitty's attitude is both a way to help maintain her self-control and a sign that she's clinging to normalcy.
      • Werewolves also have to put up with their animal instinct even in human form. Kitty is shown to have taken subtle "wolf" clues from non-were(wolf)s and misinterpret them, and is also shown to have made the same mistake in reverse to non-weres.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: A repeated theme within the series, especially during the radio show segments. While vampires and werewolves are described as sufferers of a chronic disease that no one should go looking to get, there are both heroic and monstrous examples of both.
  • Disappearing Box: Grant uses his to hide Kitty, it seems to take her to another world/dimension.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: This is the plan Kitty and the military cook up in Kitty Goes to War to catch the renegade wolf-soldiers, using herself and Becky as bait. It doesn't work...or perhaps it does, only too well.
  • Domino Revelation: We meet werewolves, vampires, and various other members of the supernatural by the second and third books.
  • Emergency Transformation: offered as a solution to Kitty's cancer-stricken mother; declined.
    • Played straight with T.J.'s backstory.
  • The Fair Folk: The faith healer.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: The call that puts Kitty on the map as a talk show host comes from a vampire who wants to talk about being Catholic when he literally can't enter a church, at least not without physical pain. Kitty advises him to read Paradise Lost. Drawing on her English major background, she argues that Lucifer's real sin wasn't the rebellion against God itself, but his belief afterwards that he was beyond redemption. She advises her caller not to make the same mistake. By her reasoning, a vampire could still be a good Catholic, he'd just have to work harder at it than most people.
    • The stakes are upped when, in book 9 Kitty meets what appear to be gods. It leads to quite the existential crisis when she has to wonder if this truly means All Myths Are True and what she believes is called into question.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Fey, psychics, skinwalkers, chaos-worshipers, Cthulhu, ifrit, weather wizards, and the list is still growing...
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Nick and the vampire priestess
  • First-Person Smartass
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Most people in the series take the existence of the supernatural in stride; Kitty remarks that she wonders if her parents think of it as a fad or affectation on her part, but even they are willing to take her lycanthropy at face value. The seventh book, Kitty's House of Horrors, introduces what might be the first determined skeptic of the series: the author Conrad Garrett, who believes that alleged supernatural people are frauds or crazy, that video footage of a werewolf shapeshifting is CGI, and that CDC reports on were-people and vampires are the result of collusion with drug companies who want to make money off the conditions. It's arguably justified, though, since The Masquerade only was broken in the first book of the series, so there would still be a fair amount of skeptics around.
  • Follow the Leader: In-universe example with "Ariel, Priestess of the Night". Kitty wants to sue her until it comes out that Ariel's actually a huge Midnight Hour fangirl.
  • For Science!: to an extent, Dr. Flemming. Also, somewhat, Dr. Schumacher.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: Kitty's Big Trouble is largely set in San Francisco's.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires : Alette, Rick, and to some degree every good character. Staying sane requires werewolves and vampires to keep some semblance of a normal civilized life.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Ben recommends/threatens these as a Running Gag throughout book 2.
  • Fur Against Fang: Werewolves and vampires do work together, with the werewolves usually operating as servants, but the situation is unfriendly at best.
  • Happily Married: Kitty and Ben, eventually.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: Walters.
  • Hermetic Magic: Franklin's weather summoning definitely has flavors of this. Being from the Victorian era, so do Amelia Parker's spells.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A couple. TJ, as well as Walters. Damn it.
  • The High Queen: Alette
  • Hijacked by Ganon: with the appearance of Big Bad Roman, combined with comments made by Leo and Mercedes, it's a very strong possibility that he's responsible for almost every threat Kitty has so far faced down.
  • Hilarity Sues (subverted)
  • Hitman with a Heart: Cormac, the quasi-friendly werewolf hunter. He usually only goes after werewolves or vampires that went out of control, but is introduced when he's trying to take down Kitty. After that, he sticks with just werewolves or vampires that went out of control. Has a lot of mental issues, a lotta firearms, and a good lawyer. That happened to be his cousin. A bit of a Death Seeker.
  • The Hunter: Cormac! And Ben, sort of.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: The motivation of one minor villain. I Hate You Werewolf Alpha is (justly) one of Kitty's major motivations up til the end of the fourth book.
    • Also the root of the conflict between Li Hua and Gaius Albinus AKA Anastasia and Dux Bellorum, respectively.
  • I Have Your Mother: In book 4, a very chilling scene has Arturo seem to try this on Kitty in order to end the war or her participation in it (and with a mother with cancer, no less). Subverted, however, in that he only used the threat to get her to talk to him, offered her mother an Emergency Transformation to save her life (and praised the wisdom of the decision to refuse), then departs peacefully, the first hint that he is still the Anti-Villain he appeared to be in book 1 and is not the true Big Bad of book 4 either.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Kitty expresses this general thought as early as the first book, and says it out loud several times in the sixth and seventh books. She is a successful radio talk show host and a publically acknowledged werewolf, so naturally everyone laughs at her. Admittedly, it's not the celebrity that bothers her so much as the Fantastic Racism, her own Weirdness Magnet nature and the epic battle of Order Versus Chaos she seems to be be stumbling into, but still, if the weirdness really bothered her so much, getting a desk job would help a lot...
  • Ironic Name: The main character is a werewolf named Kitty. Whenever anyone comments on it, she says the name came first.
  • I See Dead People: well, maybe not quite see, but Tina has Psychic Powers that extend to being a trance medium and doing automatic writing, so she at least communicates with them at times.
  • Karma Houdini: Magnificent Bitch Mercedes Cook, as well as Sheriff Marks to a point.
    • And the guy Kitty dated in college, and the fake vampire master of Las Vegas, although you'd expect it from him. Also probably Senator Duke and Dr. Flemming. We know that they lost a lawsuit, but they kidnapped someone and were party to murder; losing a lawsuit seems like a poor substitute for jail time. Justified in their case, of course.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Her first experience with vampire feeding makes Kitty question her sexuality. That good.
  • Latin Lover: Luis, the drop-dead gorgeous Brazilian were-jaguar
  • Lesbian Vampire: Subverted with Alette. While she can and does magically seduce women before feeding, she's straight, and had kids. Really.
  • Living MacGuffin: After a while, Henry.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Werewolves do not do well without a pack.
    • Averted with Rick, however, who turns out to do better (and is on the side of good) precisely because he has a been a lone vampire for so long, outside the influence of the Families, Roman, and the Long Game.
  • Love Triangle: Between Kitty, Ben, and Cormac, sort of. Though Kitty and Cormac flirt with the notion of getting involved in the very first book, he can't at that point bring himself to overcome his What Measure Is a Non-Human? thinking. By the time he can do so and seriously considers a relationship with her, Kitty and his cousin are already bonding as werewolves, then he gets locked up for killing the skinwalker. During visiting hours, they briefly discuss whether things could have gone differently, and while they conclude that maybe it might have worked for them, they'll never really know and it's too late by then. Kitty and Ben are Happily Married, and after Cormac gets parole, he seems to have accepted this and is just happy to be their friend and an unofficial third member of the pack.
  • Magical Native American: Tony (although he's a damn cool one)
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Odysseus Grant
  • The Man Behind the Man: almost every book, but especially books 4 through 6 (complete with an inversion from book 5 revealed in book 6)
  • Manipulative Bitch: Mercedes Cook.
  • Mars Needs Women Pack Needs Bitches: How Kitty's plan to capture the renegade wolves in book eight, via Distracted by the Sexy, almost goes horribly wrong. Filled with all kinds of Unfortunate Implications, which are acknowledged by both Ben and Kitty.
  • Mauve Shirt: A large majority of the characters in Kitty's House of Horrors are this. Dorian, Jerome Macy, Ariel, Lee, Gemma, and Jeffrey Miles all die after the reader has become attached to them. Although Conrad Garrett tempts fate by mentioning his wife and kids, he survives. (Maybe because he didn't start showing Kitty family photos till afterward in the hospital and through e-mails to keep in touch.)
    • Henry in book 9. Despite the fact he is sent along just to spy and "help", gets put under Mind Control fairly quickly, and is constantly in danger of dying, he makes it out all right in the end.
  • The Maze: The tunnels underneath San Francisco in book 9. They don't appear to be a Mobile Maze, but thanks to their magic it is pretty much impossible to navigate them without Grace's lantern. There are also a number of traps (some, possibly all, set up and watched over by the Monkey King).
  • Meaningful Name: Kitty, the werewolf. Lampshaded to the point of being a Running Gag. (Also, Roman.)
    • Odysseus Grant is probably a subversion of this trope. He deals with things that aren't from around here, but he himself is apparently a normal human. A powerful and mysterious human, but still, from around here. As far as we know he's never made any odysseys of his own, or if he did, he's already come back safely.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: The other reason T.J. kicked the bucket.
  • Meta Girl: Kitty, on many an occasion.
  • The Men in Black: The men who "escort" Kitty to Alette's house in Book 2.
    • After their introduction, The Men in Black get played for laughs. Once Kitty has seen behind the mask, she's willing to use them to intimidate people who haven't. At first they are ignorant of the effect they have on people until Kitty points it out to them.
  • Mind Control: While all vampires have the ability to hypnotize and influence the will with their gaze, the Big Bad of book 6 is able to do this, as well as induce the Change, through arcane, Vancian magic.
    • This is shown more explicitly with what he does to Henry in book 9.
  • Monster Mash: Vampires and werewolves tend to work together, albeit not in a friendly manner. Book 4 includes a war between two separate groups, each of which have both creatures of the night. Kitty makes more vampire allies than enemies, though.
    • The best example of a Monster Mash in this series is book 7, Kitty's House of Horrors, which begins with reality TV show producers assembling all the supernatural celebrities they can: Kitty the werewolf talk radio host, a werewolf pro wrestler, a were-seal Alaska state legislator, a TV medium and stage magician who are both the real thing, a vampire beauty pageant winner, and someone from a supernatural investigation TV show who has psychic powers herself.
  • Mundane Utility: Given the existence of werewolves, it's not surprising that one of them would be a pro wrestler; it's surprising that only one would be. What a huge advantage. And it hasn't come up during the narrative yet, but presumably Ben's enhanced senses come in handy in the courtroom.
    • They certainly do come in handy at a poker table.
  • Myth Arc: Beginning with book four, every story has tied in somehow to an ongoing conflict that apparently is an extension of vampire politics, called the Long Game. As publicly-acknowledged supernatural person, a diplomatic-minded werewolf, and for that matter as a leader for werewolves at all, Kitty is a wildcard in that.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Dux Bellorum ("leader/general of wars")
  • Necromancer: Odysseus Grant proves to be one of these in book 7, and while it comes across as more of an I See Dead People moment, the arcane sigils and ceremonial magic suggests he may be capable of more than that. Which, since he is firmly against the forces of chaos and darkness, makes him the rare good (or at least neutral) example of this trope.
  • Never Split the Party: Kitty learns this the hard way in book 9 when, in an attempt to keep Grace safe, she sends her away from where they're fighting Roman's werewolf cohorts...which causes them all to become horribly lost, since the lantern Grace carries is the key to getting them out of the tunnels.
  • Ninja Zombie Pirate Robot: Ben, the werewolf lawyer ex-part-time-bounty hunter. Cormac, the ex-bounty hunter possessed by the ghost of a witch. Tyler, the werewolf Green Beret.
    • The final showdown in book 9 takes this to quite the high level: two werewolves, an 800 year old vampire, a bounty hunter possessed by the ghost of a wizard, and a modern-day magician/videostore owner take on a 2,000 year old vampire, his mind-controlled slave Henry, and the Chinese god of chaos, Hundun with the assistance of the Monkey King and the Queen Mother of the West.
  • Noodle Incident: A number of stories from Ben and Cormac's past seem to count as this, but in particular the tale of how Brenda and Ben ended up hunting Cormac (complete with Ben falling and injuring his knee) is never explained.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Break out in hives and die from exposure to sunlight, crosses, and holy water. Wooden stake through the chest kills. Need blood to regenerate injuries, can hypnotize anyone that looks directly into their eyes. If you're drained dry, you come back as a vampire later. Much faster than humans, and can teleport through shadows. They can show up in mirrors and photos, or decide not to.
    • Teleport? I got the impression that just they use their speed and/or mesmerism to make it look like they vanish. It's frequently stated that most vampires are melodramatic. I remember at least a few scenes, like Arturo in the hospital in Kitty and the Silver Bullet, where Kitty expects a vampire to vanish but he actually just walks away.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Many different varieties of werebeasts have been seen so far. In addition to Werewolves, there are also weretigers, were-jaguars, were-African wild dogs, and were-seals. Kitty says that as far as she knows, no were-varieties exist of herbivorous species, only predators. Werebeasts are infected through bites. They change into big animals, observing conservation of mass. They can change when they want, and have to change once a month at the full moon, and don't always remember what they did as an animal. They have a Healing Factor and are pretty much immune to any sort of normal illness. Silver is nasty for 'em, though. Female werebeasts can't have children.
    • The old traditional "female werewolves are always subservient to men because they are stronger and bigger" trope has been subverted. Heck, Kitty becomes pack leader in book 4, and nobody once tells her that because she's a girl she can't do it. Nobody expects her mate to run the whole show, either.
      • In the sixth book there is some resistance to the idea, and Kitty's husband does have to push someone around, but the would-be challenger gets conveniently killed soon by the Big Bad. Overall, though, it's clear since the second book that lycanthrope social dynamics vary greatly.
  • Paranormal Investigation: the Paradox PI show/crew.
  • Part-Time Hero: Kitty herself is a borderline version; while she does hero work and it interferes with her real life, her job is pretty willing to put up with it. Ben is a better example, lawyer by day, werewolf and vampire hunter when necessary. And werewolf, too. He doesn't get enough sleep.
    • As of book 7, despite her protests of I Just Want to Be Normal and Refusal of the Call, she may have to become a fulltime hero and even a leader, just to protect the world, both her allies and innocent humans, from the forces of darkness and chaos. As of book 9, she has actually been given the call directly, and seems to be ready to accept it. See Passing the Torch.
  • Passing the Torch: In book six ( five, technically, but it's not apparent until later) Kitty meets Dux Bellorum ( a.k.a. Roman, a.k.a. Gaius Albinus, but Dux Bellorum is a name given after it's clear he's a villain, so that will do for the unspoilered version), who seems to be a Big Bad Hidden Agenda Villain. In book seven, she meets someone who seems to be a Big Good. Kitty was refusing the call even before she had someone to refuse it to explicitly, but she's been gradually growing into responsibility all along. By the time the Big Good rides off into the sunset in book 9, Kitty almost seems eager to take over.
  • Physical God: The Monkey King and the Queen Mother of the West.
  • Plot Coupon: The Dragon's Pearl.
  • The Pornomancer: Balthasar, to judge by Kitty's reaction, complete with some Unfortunate Implications
  • Post-Modern Magik: Vampires are blurry on film, unless they decide to not be. Police officers end up carrying spray bottles of holy water and pistol crossbows that fire wooden quarrels. Silver paint isn't just a chrome-like color scheme. Faeries wards work just fine if the herbs come in pill form. Vampires can enter commercial property without asking. There's a DNA test for lycanthropy and vampirism. A police officer wonders whether sunglasses protect against mental domination, and suggests that a vampire's life sentence be one day.
    • At one point, Kitty sees Rick, a nearly four-hundred-year-old vampire, with a laptop and is surprised; she jokes that she thought vampires were allergic to modern technology. She asks him what he's doing, and he says he's correcting the Wikipedia entries of historical figures he has known. When she's told that was just a joke, Kitty replies that he should.
    • Thanks to werewolf superimmunity, nothing foreign will remain in their bodies. After being turned, the werewolf soldiers of Captain Gordon's squad wake up to find their tattoos have become ink staining their sheets, and the microchips the military try to use to track them get ejected. Kitty then notes this means she couldn't get breast implants.
    • Mystical runes work just fine when they're used in corporate logos.
  • Prison: In the third book, Cormac goes to jail and so far, it isn't a Cardboard Prison.
    • The author has specifically stated that the character will get out...in the amount of time specified in his plea bargain.
      • As of Kitty's House of Horrors, he's out on parole for good behavior, although Word of God has stated he did something pretty bad whilst in prison...
  • Psychic Powers: Tina, as well as Jeffrey Miles
  • Pyrrhic Victory (lampshaded): Of all the men in Gordon's platoon, every one but Tyler ends up dead, whether having killed each other or been brought down with silver bullets by Tyler himself. He does get rehabilitated and in a pack of his own, but still...
    • Despite all getting out alive, getting the Dragon's Pearl away from Roman, and Anastasia finally getting to have some peace as a handmaiden of Xiwangmu, Cormac has to wonder at the end of book 9 if they won. Considering what lies ahead of Kitty and her allies if she accepts Anastasia's charge, he may be right to worry.
  • Rape as Backstory: Date Rape in the backstory.
    • In addition, it's implied or threatened several other times. Kitty fears rape from both Leo and Balthasar in their respective books. After she is forced to change on TV, she compares the experience - getting kidnapped, watching an acquaintance get killed, thrown in a cell with walls painted silver, and watched as she transforms - to being raped. And like in many settings, vampiric feeding and being converted to a vampire has sexual connotations, so this basically happens to Alette's descendant and maid.
  • Red Herring: A lot, but most notably Arturo, the Master Vampire of Denver, despite a genuinely moving scene trying to save one of his people from Elijah Smith, is made out to be the Big Bad in book 4. In actuality, he's just a patsy, victim of someone else's Plan.
    • A secondary example: a significant portion of Dead Man's Hand is spent building up Evan and Brenda as Ax Crazy bounty hunters who believe the best prey is werewolves. But, while they certainly fall into Anti-Hero camp and are hardly the most trustworthy people, in the end it turns out that they're not really after Kitty at all, it's Sylvia and Boris who are the bounty hunters she should fear. And they even help rescue Kitty from the Band of Tiamat, and see to it that Boris and Sylvia go to jail.
  • Religion of Evil: the Band of Tiamat, which gets extra points for (possibly) being based on a real, Babylonian Cult if mythology is to be believed
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: In Kitty's House of Horrors, the bad guys are just as willing to hunt mediums, gothy women with tattoos and maybe a little knowledge of folk magic, and atheists as they are willing to hunt vampires and werewolves. The atheist in the story points this out.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: Kitty meets a wereseal in Kitty's House of Horrors.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Averted; werewolves obey conservation of mass. Since a wild wolf weighs about 80 pounds or so, this means that adult male werewolves can be more than twice the size of natural wolves, while a hypothetical werebear would probably be comically tiny.
  • Shout-Out: There are a number of these, but one of the most humorous is in book 7, when Kitty questions a vampire's very attractive and young human servant:

 Kitty: So now that you're talking can I ask you a question, Dorian? You have a portrait in the attic or what?

(Dorian groans; Anastasia throws a pillow at her)

Gemma: What's so funny?

Anastasia: Oh, I forget how young you are. Never mind, I'll have a book for you to read later.

    • Book 9 takes place for the most part in San Francisco's Chinatown. Its title? Kitty's Big Trouble.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: This has been a major theme of the series all along, with Kitty daring to believe lycanthropes can live peaceful, halfway-normal lives and be productive members of society, while everyone from Cormac and Ben, to Detective Hardin, to Ahmed and Alette, and even Rick tell her with varying degrees of certainty and sympathy that she is far too optimistic. Nowhere is this philosophy better articulated though than here:

 I couldn't save everyone; I'd had that demonstrated to me all too clearly. But if you didn't try, you might end up not saving anyone. I had to try.

Ben: Sometimes you can't fix everything. You can argue your best case in front of the most sympathetic judge and jury in the world--and sometimes you still won't win.

Kitty: I'm not sure this is about winning. It's about proving that we're human. That we deserve a chance.

And in the end, despite losing all of the soldiers but one, and him coming this close to being Driven to Suicide, she is right, and idealism wins.

  • Smug Snake: Harold Franklin.
  • Strawman Political: Senator Duke is essentially McCarthy on crack.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side
  • Take That: In book 7, Kitty's House of Horrors, Kitty takes a phone call from an arrogant, self-absorbed bounty hunter in Kansas City who's almost certainly supposed to be Anita Blake.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: Something like this plays out in Kitty's House of Horrors. It's all a subversion. The panicky, incompetent, suspiciously underinformed person isn't the mole, but survives anyway. The competent but high-strung person who constantly accuses someone else of being the mole isn't the mole, and also survives. The helpful, amiable person with lots of useful abilities isn't the mole either. No one is. However, almost everyone besides those three and the narrator dies. Everyone in the house was an intended victim.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Fritz's backstory
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Kitty has always made this her unspoken (and sometimes spoken) rule, killing only in self-defense, when her back was to the wall, to protect those she loves, and when she has no choice. However, as of book 7 she has now killed three people, and almost killed or endangered the life of many others either directly or through her allies. And if she accepts Anastasia's charge, she may have to do so on a more offensive and proactive basis. As far as Roman is concerned, she seems to have no compunctions.
  • Turncoat: Roger Stockton, Leo, and Dack. (Yes, it happens a lot.)
  • The Unmasqued World: the initial background has a Masquerade, albeit one run poorly enough that the existence of werewolves and vampires is an open secret kept only because too few people care. There are actually government groups writing unclassified papers on the subject, although most normal people think the matter is a joke. Between the Midnight Hour radio show and said government groups making a fuss when their funding went under review, though, and the concept becomes so commonplace that the first live television werewolf transformation gains little more than an FFC fine for flashing the audience.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: A senator was willing to commit kidnapping and false imprisonment to get footage of the Savage Monster that Kitty Norville truly is... too bad she only cowered in a corner once she changed.
    • Also, most of the plot of Kitty's House of Horrors. The whole reality show was a setup to get some supernatural people trapped and videotape their murders to show the world that they could and should be killed. It was basically an inversion of a horror movie where the so-called monsters are being hunted and have to work together to survive, lampshaded several times in the story.
  • Vampires Are Rich: Played straight and averted. Vampires in this series range from those own skyscrapers outright to those that work graveyard shift at a convenience store to pay rent on windowless apartments.
  • Vampires Own Nightclubs
  • Viva Las Vegas: Dead Man's Hand takes place there (with a short return in Raises Hell.)
  • Weirdness Magnet: Kitty, probably because she's also an Intrepid Reporter. "I bet you don't go a month without getting into trouble."
    • Because of this fact, in addition to their feelings for her, Ben and Cormac insist on staying near her--they know whether she plans it or not, whether it even seems possible or not, danger will be drawn to her and she'll need their help.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A pretty common theme. Senator McCarthy Duke treats werewolves and vampires as something less than human, and a lot of the less admirable vampires treat humans and werewolves like bugs.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kitty calls herself out, briefly, near the end of Kitty Raises Hell when she learns that the ifrit's final message to her had been a plea for mercy for the sake of his wife and children, and that he had only been terrorizing her because the vampire priestess made him do it. And she had helped consign him to the world of an Eldritch Abomination. She immediately tries to convince herself and the Paradox PI team that it was only a play for sympathy, that he had still killed people, and the ifrit's fury, malice, and insulting words to her did seem a little too genuine to be a compelled act. Still, the reader can't be sure she was right...
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The view of some vampires. Or as Rick puts it, "The end of the world is all some vampires have to look forward to."
  • Wizard Duel: Between Harold Franklin and possessed Cormac. Thanks to Franklin making the mistake of meddling with powers he did not comprehend, and assuming he could simply call on all the deities of thunder and storms simultaneously (because after all they're all the same, right? And more is better?), the fight is short but oh so sweet.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Both Mercedes and Roman are good at these. One of the best would be setting up Arturo, the Master Vampire of Denver who, even in book 1, had turned out to be something of a Noble Demon or even an Anti-Villain, to look like he was responsible for the vampire war with Rick when really he was as much a victim and dupe as anything else--if Rick went up against Arturo and lost, Arturo would be beholden to Mercedes and Roman, thus giving them even more power in the Long Game; if instead Rick wins, they were confident in their ability to get him under their control too. The plan was only ruined because of Kitty's return to deal with her mother's cancer, something they could not have foreseen, and her usage of Detective Hardin as an ally. The con set up in book 6 via the ifrit to be banished certainly counts as well: if Kitty capitulates to Roman, he will remove the ifrit threatening her and she will then be beholden to him within the Long Game; if she stays in Denver and tries to ride it out, her pack will either all be slain or turn on her; and if she tries to face the Band of Tiamat, she will be sacrificed for their dark chaotic cult. Again, the plan is only ruined by surprises from the outside--the Paradox PI crew (specifically, Tina), T.J.'s brother Peter, and Odysseus Grant.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That: A self-inflicted version applies to Kitty, in which she continually believes she is not cut out to be an alpha, to be given so much responsibility, to be believed an expert in the supernatural, to give therapy to her fellow "monsters", to be a spokesperson once The Masquerade is broken, and certainly not to be some grand leader in the fight to save everyone from the Long Game. "It was all an act, but it seemed to fool people--they kept asking me for advice. One of these days, everyone was going to see right through it."
  • You Called Me "X" - It Must Be Serious: All the way through the first book, Kitty's best friend is called TJ. We only find out what TJ stands for after Carl has killed him, basically to stroke his own ego and she has to think how to answer Hardin's questions about him.
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