The second book in the urban fantasy series about Chicago wizard Harry Dresden.
This time Dresden entangles with werewolves. Lieutenant Murphy of Chicago Special Investigations asks Dresden’s help in a case where several people have been killed brutally, supposedly by dogs. They head to a crime scene a little bit outside Chicago where Dresden declares that perpetrator is a werewolf. However, a team of FBI agents declares the crime scene theirs and drives the duo off.
After the ending of the previous book, which was about six months ago, Murphy and Dresden aren’t on the best of terms but Murphy doesn’t have a choice. She has to consult a supernatural expert and Dresden is the only one she knows. Dresden doesn’t know much about werewolves but he gets to work. First, he uses magic to trace a blood splatter from the crime scene to the person. She turns out to be a leader of a group collage students/werewolves.
Later, he finds out that there are several kind of werewolves but it seems likely, of course, that the one rampaging in Chicago is the most dangerous kind: a loup-garou.
He gets a visit from the local kingpin of crime, Marcone, who tries to convince Dresden to work for him. Dresden refuses. However, Marcone seems to be quite afraid of the killer and gives Dresden a clue anyway.
Dresden also manages to piss of a leader of a fierce werewolfgang who are now hunting for Dresden’s blood.
The plot is really fast-paced. Dresden doesn’t have a moment to rest, except when he’s unconscious, or think. There is, however, a cheesy scene when Dresden talks with his subconscious self and tries to work out the who-dunnit part. Alas, there a few little bit too convenient coincidences such as the one that makes Murphy suspect that Dresden is related to the killings.
When get some interesting hints about Dresden’s parents. Both theirs lives and deaths might be related to things that Dresden doesn’t know about. Of course, the hints come from a demon so they might not be accurate.
Bob makes the werewolf – where wolf – there wolf joke from the movie Young Frankenstein which cracked me up. The joke part is completely untranslatable, of course, at least to Finnish. Now I almost want to get the movie just to see what the hapless subtitler came up with.
I was a bit surprised that the werewolves here didn’t seem to have any of the famous wolf sense of smell or hearing. They were “just” very good in a fight and had pack loyalty to each other.
Dresden seems to have superhuman strength. After being shot, his foot mauled by a supernatural creature, and beaten unconscious, he can still run, sneak around, and fight supernatural baddies. Granted, he feels occasionally pain and is tired but still…
Unfortunately, the book has quite a few “stupid” moments. Dresden has dangerous info on a piece of paper and yet he just throws it away for anyone to find. Murphy and a FBI woman get into a fight in the middle of a crime scene. Dresden shoots off his mouth to both a crime kingpin and a leader of a werewolf gang, and manages to make them both his enemies. He withholds information from Murphy, and other women. When Dresden escapes police custody, he’s unarmed and in handcuffs and just running away. Yet, the police *shoot* at him.
Also, at least in this book, the supernatural people aren’t really trying to hide the existence of the supernatural world. It also seems to me, that there already are quite a lot of people in Chicago who either are supernaturals themselves or know about it. IMHO, Dresden should have a lot more clients at the very least from people who want to protect themselves from it.
I don’t really understand why Dresden is so very protective towards Murphy. After all, she’s a grown woman and a police officer but Dresden thinks of her like she’s a helpless ten year old girl. She’s not his lover or daughter and she treats him pretty badly most of the time. In fact, Susan is Dresden’s lover. Granted, Dresden is pretty protective towards Susan as well but IMHO not as much. While he’s ready to sacrifice his life to protect Murphy, when Susan wants to drive the getaway car, he’s a bit worried but doesn’t even say anything. I think it was mentioned somewhere that Murphy and Dresden are old friends but it just doesn’t show. Murphy is cold towards Dresden and is suspicious of everything he says. Also, Dresden’s chivalry turns out to be counterproductive. At the start of the book he refused to tell what he knows to his student. Alas, she can’t protect herself from dangers she doesn’t know about.
All in all, a nice quick read but nothing special.