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    Review of DEATH MASKS by Jim Butcher


    Roc, November 2009 (Original edition 2003)

    Harry Dresden's day starts bad and gets worse. First, there's the TV show where his magic manages to break down the cameras and put a quick end to things. Then there's the red court vampire challenging him to a duel. The priest claims to be a skeptic, but he hires Harry to help find the Shroud of Turin which has been stolen, possibly in association with Chicago's crimelord. Not to mention the attempted assassination as Harry leaves the studio or the arrival of ex-girlfriend Susan who 'wants to talk.' As Murphy points out,, women don't have to set you up for a happy-talk.

    As Chicago's only Yellow-Pages wizard, Harry Dresden gets his share of weird cases. All of this happening at once, though, strains the realm of coincidence. When a fallen angel joins the attack, Dresden knows there's a connection. What, exactly, lies at the heart of the danger, though, is hard to figure.

    Author Jim Butcher (see more reviews of fantasy by Butcher) combines an interesting and conflicted character (can't keep a girlfriend, lives in a cellar, his best friend's wife hates him, he talks more to a skull than women), a dark-side of Chicago world, vampire wars and mythology to write a compelling urban fantasy. DEATH MASKS is a reprint of an earlier Harry Dresden and it's interesting to see where he's been as Butcher continues to develop both the character and the world in which he lives. DEATH MASKS is a strong effort with plenty of action, enough character angst to keep us interested in the people, and a nice dose of magic.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 1/16/10

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