By: Jim Butcher
Published By: Roc
Publish Date: January 2001
Format: Paperback, 401pgs Mass Market size
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: 2nd in The Dresden Files series; 1st Book ~ Storm Front
Recommendation: Sure, if you enjoy magic and werewolves, there is a whole world drawn here!
Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even 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...
I never used to keep close track of the phases of the moon.
Kim Delaney approaches Harry in McAnally's Pub asking about symbols. Harry refuses to tell her about something that could cause her to be killed. Finally he tells her about most but not of the dangerous inner circle related to demons, demigods or Arch Angels. After Kim leaves pissed to not get her information and Harry feeling as he did wrong with doing right, Murphy shows up. There's been a murder and she needs Harry's help, after all this time. A distorted dead body with pay prints visible in the dust and blood, and a full moon. This case is out of Murphy's jurisdiction but identical to ones four weeks earlier. If things go according to last months murders this is the first night past of four total murders to come. If things don'e work out with Harry on this case, Murphy might lose her job and Harry landing in jail as Internal Affairs is investigating her after the last case Harry helped with.
After the happenings of Storm Front, Harry's work with the Special Investigations unit at Chicago Police Department has tapered down to nothing, which was a big source of income for him. So Harry is broke beyond broke. This is nice to see a wizard that has to fight to make it and not just instantly have money at his disposal. Murphy stayed away as she was being looked at, thinking in kahuts with the mobster Marcone. Murphy is also still holding a grudge against Harry for not letting her know what was up with the case in Storm Front.
I like that this one shows Harry needs to trust in others, or just a select few. He has things they can not know with the council, but they need to know much of his knowledge with the dangers they are crossing, and killing around them that they fight. Harry gets scared and knows it. He's not all brass balls all the time, but he pushes on as he has to get the job done as there is no one else around to do it. Harry does take one heck of a beating in this book, exhausted physically and magically, and keeps going.
I still love Bob, the brilliant skull. I think he might be my favorite character in these books thus far. He's got a sense of humor and sticks out to me when I read these.
This book has much more magic from Harry, which I enjoy seeing. We get into different types of 'werewolves.' I like this classification system and the differences between them. Great setting for the world with this.
Harry works with Special Investigations and the FBI in this round. He also gets himself in trouble with one of the 'werewolf' groups, the mobster drug dealing Marcone is at his door wanting him, and there is another werewolf out on the prowl killing. The story and mystery flow better for me this time around, along with the world building. There are more hints of things to think on in the future. Harry's name to a demon (he has more than just three) and Harry's mothers dark past. There is an opening to the dark magic here, I'm curious to see more of it. And I'm again curious as to why the White Council seems to be cautious with Harry, other than with his troubles with his mentor.
All that being said, I still feel I'm falling short of the awesomeness everyone else sees in these books. Now, I've heard the third book is where it picks up and gets good, so I will continue onto the next book to check it out. But with all the great elements present, thus far I'm not sold on the series yet. Maybe I'm one of those few that doesn't connect with this one, but we will wait and see.
*I read this book for my own enjoyment.