Plot: Witches of middling power are being murdered in Chicago and the murders are disguised as suicides. Harry and Murphy see the crimes for what they are but their investigation is hampered by mistrust: the female practitioners most at risk don’t trust the White Council and it’s wardens like Harry. His investigations will lead him deep into the politics of the vampire courts.
This review is based on the audiobook narrated by James Marsters.
The 9th Harry Dresden book begins as a murder mystery, one that seems tied to many of Harry’s friends and former foes. Witness accounts and the manner of least one of the deaths ties Harry’s brother Thomas, a vampire of the white court, to the killings. And Thomas’ recent behaviour worries even Harry. He wants to trust his brother, but he has been looking remarkably well fed of late. Meanwhile, a group of witches has taken refuge from the serial killer with Harry’s first love, Elaine.
But as Harry digs deeper into the murders, he finds that they are tied both to a tragic young warden training session that he led (the cut to this particular flashback was unpleasantly jarring in the audiobook version; I thought I’d blacked out for 20 minutes or something) and to power struggles within the white court of vampires.This is when the action goes into high gear: political manipulation, high stakes battles worthy of Hollywood action flics and startling revelations.
We also learn a lot of interesting new things about Thomas, about Marcone and about Elaine which add real depth to their characters. But there is one revelation that I felt really overdone: someone, I won’t tell you who, is a vigin. <sarcasm>Hahaha, despite his bluster, he has never had sex! Hilarious! </sarcasm> No really, this joke is old, boring and perpetuates the myth that sex is a rite of passage that men need to become true men. I probably could have forgotten about it if it hadn’t been dragged out for so long. As it is I couldn’t roll my eyes enough.
Still, that is my only real complaint. There is some cheesiness and the number of foes thrown at Harry at once is, as usual, nearly ludicrous… but I think those my be half the reason I enjoy the series. It is a pulpy, action-packed, occasionally silly magical romp and I wouldn’t have it any other way.