Someone, someTHING, is shredding people in Chicago, leaving behind huge doggy footprints painted in the blood of the victims. Oh, and of course, it's round about full moon time. Reluctantly Karrin Murphy, Director of Special Investigations for the Chicago P.D., has had to call in Harry Dresden, professional wizard. Not that she trusts him much anymore after the way he left her hanging the last time they worked together. But he's the only with the knowledge and special skills she'll need if she has to deal with a werewolf on the loose.
In this second volume of his exciting new "Dresden Files" series, Jim Butcher has packaged up another action-filled detective story with a mystical twist. Like any good gumshoe thriller, "Fool Moon" has a plot full of peril, false leads, near misses, and all the usual (and unusual) suspects. Like any good fantasy tale, it has a believable, well-developed mythology. The reader comes away with an arcane education--werewolf lore, potion-cooking, demon-summoning. As narrator, Harry Dresden lets his audience in on all the little trade secrets of the practicing mage. Now, if only he could learn to be so candid with his colleagues and friends....
In the final analysis, "Fool Moon" is more about learning to trust than about foiling werewolves, more about self discovery than arcane knowledge, more about the demons in Harry's heart than those in his summoning circle. In other words, it is about Harry Dresden himself, a hero of pure intention, tremendous power, and courage in the face of unspeakable danger, who just happens to be afraid to meet his own eyes in the mirror. He infers the blackness of his own soul from the reactions of others brash or foolish enough to meet his gaze. And he fears that the kind of knowledge that has so blackened him will be at least as destructive to others. Harry's struggle to come to terms with himself and those he cares about, his faltering advances and all-too-frequent backslides, are what really keep the reader turning the pages. They are also what keep Harry half a step behind the villains until it is almost too late.
If you like action, mystery, magic, or just watching the growth of a compelling character, you'll want to read "Fool Moon."
Actually he is a wizard/gumshoe with the kind of do-gooder streak that is a cinch to cause trouble. In this volume Dresden is trying to solve a serial killer problem which seems to involve several different kinds of werewolves. These range from nasty people who think they are wolves right up to the honest-to-God tear-you-and-all-your-friends-to-pieces loup-garou. Inevitably Harry goes into each struggle well armed with wands, charms, and even guns. And inevitably he drops or loses all of them. In fact your first warning that Harry is going to get flattened again is when he points his magic wand.
One of Harry's skills is the ability to alienate almost everyone. So this time Harry is not only dodging werewolves, he is also being chased by Chicago's number one gangster and all of the local FBI. Nor are the local cops fond of him. After the FBI manages to capture the loup-garou and lock him in a police holding tank, Harry manages to not get to the police station quite on time. Before Harry can do anything most of the occupants of the building are dead. What does Harry finally do? He blasts an invincible werewolf straight through the station's walls and several nearby buildings before setting him down so that the wolf can escape. Not too bright is our Harry.
Sooner or later you give up and start chuckling. Despite Harry's continual insistence that he is one of the 12 best wizards in the U.S., only the gangster really wants Harry on his side, and that's because he thinks Dresden would make good wolf bait. Which is a mistake. Harry's real talent is sheer unmitigated luck, without which he would be a wolf dropping somewhere in the Illinois woods. Everyone else, however, has to fend for themselves.
Despite my sarcasm, this isn't a bad book by a long shot. It just isn't quite what one is lead to expect by the cover. If you can handle occult slapstick and a bit of grim humor you will find "Fool Moon" great light reading. The plot is non-stop, Butcher's narrative abilities have improved, and the characterization is what you would expect from this kind of work. I wish Butcher has spent more time on Harry's oversexed skull assistant, but there's always the next volume for that.