From the author’s website (which again, features excerpts):
Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work — magical or mundane.
But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.
A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses — and the first two don’t count…
As always, beware minor spoilers!
This second installment of Harry’s ‘story’ finds our favorite professional wizard trying to find a brutal killer who strikes on/around the full moon. Not only is he desperately trying to find the killer, but he’s suspected of being the killer!
Can I take this moment to say that while I love Murphy… I really, really do… I want to knock some sense into her from time to time. Her suspicion of Harry in these early books really bugs the hell out of me. During my first marathon read a couple of years ago before the release of book #11, Turn Coat, I didn’t care for her much at all this early on in the series. Of course, I have the benefit, as the reader/listener, of seeing into Harry’s point of view and I’m privy to his thoughts and motivations while she is not, but still… I get really, really bugged by her and her over-the-top anger and suspicion in regards to Harry, who considers her a good friend and would do anything to protect her.
Ahh, I feel better having gotten that off my chest.
Moving right along, we get to see more classic Dresden bad-assery in this book, including but not limited to a couple of very cool potions he makes with Bob’s help. Although, while the results of the potions are amazing, they both have severe drawbacks when Harry uses them, which I find very interesting. In fact, one of them seems to kind of ‘sprain’ his magical ability and we see him facing off with lots of bad guys using nothing but his wit, which is quick as always, and sheer force of will and outright stubbornness, both of which are formidable.
Harry also doesn’t sail through the course of the book unscathed, just as he didn’t in Storm Front. He takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’ and if his magic fails him, then by golly he’ll think of something. Hopefully in time to save his hide.
As with Storm Front, I listed to the audio of this book and James Marsters was enjoyable as ever as the voice of Harry. He’s a bit more animated in his reading of this second book, if not as much as in later books. He’ll get there and I will enjoy every word until and after he does.
Some of my favorite lines from the book: “That was black magic. And it was too easy to use. Easy and fun, like Legos.” “That scared me enough to make a rational man pee, but I only shrugged.” “I can’t be under arrest now, I don’t have time.” This one was also a good one though it showcases Harry’s sense of honor rather than his sense of humor: “It isn’t enough to stand up and fight darkness, you have to stand apart from it, too. You’ve got to be different from it.”
And on that word of wisdom, I look ahead to the next book in the series, Grave Peril which sadly, doesn’t mention Legos that I recall.
Check out my other Dresden Files reviews: