The third entry into Jim Butcher’s paranormal-fantasy-detective series continues with another fresh entry. Well, this particular story isn’t “fresh” per-say as it deals with undead ghosts and vampires, but you know, good writing and whatnot.
This time around, Harry’s partner in crime Murphy is replaced with the modern templar Michael Carpenter (heh). The stories I heard about Butcher being an avid Dungeons and Dragons player are clearly true. Michael is quite literally a classic Dungeons and Dragons lawful good paladin stuck in modern day America. Place Michael with the agnostic Harry as they battle a supernatural threat, and Butcher can virtually abandon any plans he has for this series and make his own fun version of hit-TV show Supernatural.
There’s also Susan, Harry’s new beau with whom I am sadly forced to dock a star. Chalk it up to a classic case of rushed relationship pacing if you will, but the chemistry between Susan and Harry simply wasn’t up to par with the chemistry between Harry and pretty much every other character. Even two-scene-wonder Thomas, who would have stolen the show in any other book.
In the Harry Dresden universe, assertion is meaningless unless you have the skills to back it up. Perhaps Butcher realized this as well because…well…let’s just say I don’t share Harry’s state of mind at the end of the book. For me it’s more of a “Thank Go-err goodness that’s over with.” (Sorry Michael) Speaking of moving on, Butcher continues subtly laying the groundwork for a grand story arc in what appears to be pretty stand-alone stories at first glance.