In this novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files, Chicago's only professional wizard takes on a case for a vampire and becomes the prime suspect in a series of ghastly murders.
Harry Dresden has had worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Like fleeing a burning building full of enraged demon-monkeys, for instance. Or going toe-to-leaf with a walking plant monster. Still, there’s something more troubling than usual about his newest case. The film’s producer believes he’s the target of a sinister curse—but it’s the women around him who are dying, in increasingly spectacular ways.
Harry’s doubly frustrated because he only got involved with this bizarre mystery as a favor to Thomas—his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity. Thomas has a personal stake in the case Harry can’t quite figure out, until his investigation leads him straight to the vampire’s oversexed, bite-happy family. Now, Harry’s about to discover that Thomas’ family tree has been hiding a shocking secret: a revelation that will change Harry’s life forever.
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The Family Theme
Quite the masterful plotter, Butcher once again pulls out supposedly benign details from the past installments boldly into the forefront, making his faithful readers feel that pertinent information has been in front of us all along but cleverly disguised. This makes us feel very much like the characters--discovering as we go along--and draws us deeper into the writing. This book, much like his others, is masterfully written with his trademark irreverence and wit that is completely endearing.
It is obvious that Butcher is starting to reach his stride as a writer. As the series progresses, the books start to have much more obvious themes, and this one is no exception. It's about the importance of Family. The previous book, Summer Knight, was overtly about personal motivation and life choices. This one is about heart. As Harry Dresden develops as a character, we learn more and more about what kind of person he is along with him as he grows. Finally, as has been alluded to in the past, we feel the deep satisfaction that come to us vicariously as readers as Harry learns he may not be an only child.
The only downside to the audio recording of this book is the directorial choice to slightly change the tone of the character Thomas's voice. Marsters' previous interpretation of the character seemed to be lighter, irreverent, and punkish. Suddenly, even in the first words Thomas speaks, the vocal register is deeper, much more mature, and very unlike our first encounters with the character. It is a bit off-putting, but if you go along with choice it eventually starts to feel more natural. In fact, Marsters reads the entire book with a much tighter vocal range and subtlety, requiring the listener to pay much more attention. While it could be interpreted as more intimate, in the end it feels less dynamic. So make sure you listen closely! : )
Overall, another sparkling installment in Harry Dresden's saga, and one that contains several plot points for supporting characters that are laden with potential for more in-depth storytelling. Again, Butcher regales us with yet another tale that you just can't stop listening to. Well written, superbly interpreted, and ripping good yarn that speaks it's lessons with honesty and sincerity. It twists the heart in several places. Very very good!
Harry Dresden is the best character ever BORN. Marster's voice fits perfectly but I'd prefer Nolan North to do it.