by Jim Butcher
4 stars - a 3 star story, but 5 star action
ALR Blue - no animals (except a couple of Hell Hounds)
Here comes another adventure of Harry Dresden, the only professional wizard in the Chicago area phone book. Hey, somebody has to fight all the ghosts, goblins, and nightmare creatures that walk among us.
This time he's struggling with some extraordinary ghost activity. They've gone way beyond the usual spooky stuff and are now causing real trouble in the mortal world. Some fairly yucky activities including chains of barbed wire, visible only with a bit of magic, that bind and torment their victims. Well, ew. And if that isn't bad enough, the local vampires are sniffing around and have even invited Harry to their annual vampire ball. Huh?
Bonus on the vampires in this book. They've got some extra features like slobber that causes their victims to go into a hypnotic state and bat bodies under their skin disguises. Oh, ew again.
As usual, Harry takes a beating and keeps on kicking. Sheesh. I think the entire book takes place during about a week of time and in that time Harry just keeps running into trouble and getting all banged about and robbed of his wizard mojo.
From the dust cover:
Jim Butcher strikes just the right narrative balance between wizard and wise guy, mystic and mobster.
Yup. Because Harry isn't all "I must fight evil!" Actually, his sidekick, Michael the Good, is the straight arrow here. Harry? Well, he has no problem trading insults with demons and giving pretty young ghouls a good whopping.
Mr. Butcher pens some of the best action scenes around. How good? Let's just say that I was mulling over one of the scenes from this book and momentarily forgot whether I had read it or seen it in a movie. It was that vivid. Somehow he is able to give just enough detail that the reader knows what's going on, who is there, the setting, but leaves the right amount out so that you fill in the blanks with your imagination. The result is fantastic.