Fool Moon

~Jim Butcher

After having Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series recommended to me by several different sources, I picked up the first book, Storm Front, to give it a try. While it didn't blow me away, I did enjoy the quick, light read and was intrigued enough to go on to read the second book. Fool Moon continues the pleasant mix of detective fiction and urban fantasy. And although the dry humor is still present, Fool Moon is a touch more graphic and violent than the first book.

Once again, Harry Dresden--Wizard for Hire--finds himself without many cases and therefore without much cash; a troublesome state of affairs, especially when trying to make rent. Despite, or maybe because of, having helped the Chicago police Special Investigations unit solve a particularly nasty case last spring, he hasn't been brought in to consult on any more. Other people haven't been clamoring for his unique talents as the city's only professional wizard, either. Finally, a case comes along that the police can't handle alone. Dozens of people are being found mauled to death all over Chicago and the surrounding areas, always around the time of the full moon. The FBI is in charge, but that doesn't stop Murphy, the lieutenant and head of Special Investigations, from asking Harry to do some investigating on the sly for her. Even though he doesn't know much, he does know that they've got a serious problem on their hands--werewolves.

Despite reading several reviewers opinions that Fool Moon is the weakest book in the series, I thought it did quite well for itself. The plot and pacing were more cohesive and consistent than in Storm Front, although Harry does have an annoying habit of getting arrested on a fairly regular basis. And speaking of annoying--as much as I like Harry, there are some personality traits I hope he grows out of sooner rather than later; I can deal with his over-protectiveness (and can even understand it to some extent--magic isn't always pretty) but he somehow manages to spin every single bad thing that happens as his fault (even when it obviously isn't), which can wear thin pretty quick.

Fool Moon is written in such a way that having read the first book is not absolutely necessary. References are made to the events in Storm Front, which adds a nice bit of depth, but they are not critical to understanding and enjoying Fool Moon. Some scenes, particularly those dealing with Harry's past and family history, were obviously included in anticipation of the rest of the series, but felt a bit out of place in this novel. One of the things I particularity enjoyed about Fool Moon are the different types of werewolves encountered and explained throughout the book (including a brief mention of the Beast of Gévaudan, which I was very excited about), although it was barely credible that Harry would end up meeting all of them (Chicago is apparently a pretty crazy place). But, it was very interesting to see how the various groups interacted with one another. I can safely say that I am enjoying the Dresden Files, and while I'm not in a tremendous rush, I will be picking up the third book, Grave Peril, from the library.

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