FOOL MOON by Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series has been around a long time. I’d read the first book years ago and intended to get back to the series, but somehow just didn’t. My wife and I really enjoyed the Dresden Files series when it was on Netflix, and I intended to get back to the series then. I didn’t.
However, over the last couple days, I remembered the books and went back to grab the second novel in the series. Fool Moon focuses on werewolves and has some nice noir elements to it: the femme fatale who turns out to be more than we thought, a dead partner (kind of), and mob boss John Marcone back for a return visit.
The action opens with Harry’s rebellious student asking him about a particular piece of magic that Harry doesn’t want to explain, because it’s way beyond her ability to handle. He tells her that and she leaves in a huff, and we know bad things are sure to happen. It doesn’t take long.
Harry’s relationship with Chicago PD Special Investigations lieutenant Karrin Murphy is rocky at best at the moment, but she ends up consulting him regarding a series of murders.
It doesn’t take Harry long to get into the thick of things, and pretty soon he’s being hunted by the FBI, Marcone, a band of werewolves, a weird woman who’s not quite human, and a murderer. Oh yeah, and the Chicago cops want Harry too.
Butcher’s story this time out runs long on action, with one exciting scrape after another to keep a reader turning the pages. There’s a lot of magic, a lot of worldbuilding that will take more novels to cover (like the mysteries regarding Harry’s mom and dad, who may have been mysteriously murdered and not dead by natural causes after all).
Butcher’s take on his wizard character isn’t far removed from a traditional private eye. Take away the magic, swap out the Blue Beetle for a Pontiac Firebird, and you’d be close to a Jim Rockford character. Hmmm, Rockford Files, Dresden Files.
The magic in this one is pretty nice and Harry gets to be supreme, now and again for short-lived moments that are fun. Harry’s friends are around and useful, but some of the regulars don’t end up making it to the third book in the series, proving that Butcher isn’t concerned about taking chances or changing up the mix in his books.
This one is a fun read and filled with enough casework and villains to keep a private eye (magical or not) unable to tell if he’s coming or going.