Review of TURN COAT by Jim Butcher (see his website)
A NOVEL OF THE DRESDEN FILES
ROC, April 2009
Harry Dresden doesn't like Morgan--a wizard who's often expressed the desire to execute Harry. But when Morgan shows up on Harry's doorstep with a story about being framed for the murder of a senior member of the White Council, Harry doesn't have to think much before offering to help. Morgan would do a lot of things, but he'd never go against the Council. But if Morgan didn't do it, someone with the power to frame him, with the desire to launch a destructive war between the Council and the Vampire courts, and with more power than anyone should have is responsible.
Harry has long believed that what he calls a 'Black Council' exists--determined to wipe out the White Council and its rules. Could Morgan's problems give him the clues he needs to find the Black Council, to expose its members to the sunshine? As Harry starts looking for evidence, though, he runs into an ancient skinwalker so powerful Harry can hardly stand the true-sight of him.
Author Jim Butcher (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Butcher) continues his DRESDEN FILES series with an action-filled adventure. Harry's love life gets ever-more complicated as his injuries mount up. He finds himself in trouble with the Vampire White Court, with the skinchanger, with the Council that should be his strongest ally, and with a host of demonic creatures from nevernever. Butcher blends elements of urban fantasy with those from hardboiled detective novels to create an enjoyable style all his own.
Where Butcher is describing action, TURN COAT is strong. I did have some problems with the mystery side of the story--I found it too easy to guess the traitor's identity. A bigger plot problem, for me, was the whole issue of the skinchanger. What, exactly, was he after? What relationship did he have to the traitor? Why did he want Morgan? How did he know kidnapping Harry's brother, Thomas, would work so effectively when most of the White Council hate all vampires and Harry has been careful to keep his relationship a secret? These didn't keep me from enjoying the story, but I would have liked to see a bit more integration.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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