Talk radio host and celebrity werewolf Kitty Norville has agreed to appear on TV's first all-supernatural reality show. What she's expecting is cheesy competitions and manufactured drama starring shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. But what begins as a publicity stunt is all too quickly turning into a fight for her life.
Kitty and her fellow housemates arrive at the remote mountain lodge where the show is set, but no sooner does filming start when violence erupts. It doesn't take Kitty long to suspect the show is nothing more than a cover for some nefarious plot. Then the cameras stop rolling, cast members start dying, and Kitty learns she and her monster housemates are not battling for a prize: they are, ironically enough, themselves the ultimate prize, in a very different game. Stranded with no power, no phones, and no way to know who can be trusted, she must find a way to defeat the evil closing in...before it kills them all.
As Cormac faces a parole hearing with Ben, Kitty agrees to take part in a reality TV show which sees her and a werewolf wrestler share a house with vampires and their human blood donor, two psychics, a magician, a talk show host, a wereseal and a paranormal author. The paranormals are to convince the skeptic author of what they are without showing them what they can do, while being filmed in the mountain retreat. Kitty finds herself reunited with Ariel, Tina, Jeffrey and Grant again, but her delight soon turns to fear when they find half the crew dead, half missing and no way of calling for help. Now they have to work together to survive while they try to find a way out, and discover who is targeting them and why.
This is without a doubt my favourite book in the series so far. I loved seeing the characters I liked from previous books coming back into Kitty's life. Jeffrey was the one who helped her find closure over TJ's death by giving her a message from him, Tina was part of the film crew from the previous book, Grant helped her in books 5 and 6 and Ariel was her rival talk show host, who is becoming more of an ally. It was good to see them all interacting together. We also meet new characters, who are all interesting. Anastasia is an old vampire and she and Grant instantly distrust each other. Kitty is fascinated by younger vampire Gemma, and forms a bond with blood doner Dorian. I liked Jerome the werewolf and Leo the wereseal. The other awful character was Conrad the author, but he is meant to bad because he thinks they are all lying about what they are and won't easily be convinced.
Tina is the first one to get the bad feeling about the whole set up and she warns them that something is wrong. The next morning, Kitty wakes up to find the power off, the production team missing and one of her housemates dead on the porch. A search reveals more bodies at the plane which has been drained of fuel and the radio destroyed and no satellite phone. It is clear that the show was a ruse to get them in one place where they can be hunted. It is also obvious that they are being watched. The group have to consider their options. With no way to call for help, they need to risk sending someone in the group outside but whoever they send could be at risk from those hiding in the surrounding woods. If they all decide to sit tight in the house, no help is going to come and they will be at the mercy of their attackers.
This book was very tense! I liked the opening which sets the scene by letting us get to know the new characters as they interact with old favourites. I found the interactions intriguing but knowing what the book plot was, I felt that sense of menace in the lead up to the plan being triggered against Kitty and her friends. The tension slowly builds and from the first death onwards I didn't want to put the book down. The action comes thick and fast as Kitty's group try their first plan and find themselves in trouble. It seems that whatever they do, the body count was getting higher. I also liked the way things switched between the deadly forest attacks and the siege at the house, giving good variety to the deaths of the characters. It was always changing and kept me interested right to the end.
What makes this book work is that I liked all the characters and got very attached to them all, which made it tougher when characters began to die. Even Conrad grows on me as the book progresses. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this is because it is a classic horror scenario that I read about and watch-the people trapped and being killed off one by one. The other good thing is knowing Cormac is coming back into play which is great news! This series is so enjoyable and I hope it keeps the standards up in the books to come.
Read February 2018