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by Jim Butcher
In the eighth novel of The Dresden Files, Chicago’s number-one wizard detective experiences the downside of being forced (due to wizard losses in their ongoing war with the vampires) to become one of the Wardens. It’s hard to fight the law when you’re it, even if that means standing by and watching teenaged warlocks being executed for doing dark magic when no one has ever taught them any other kind.
The arterial blood of just such a warlock is still wet on Dresden’s face when a fellow member of the White Council hands him a note hinting that he should look into evidence of even more dark magic being done in his jurisdiction. Look into it Dresden does, especially when a horror film fan convention turns into a series of scenes out of its own preferred genre. Someone has been doing dark magic, tampering with the minds of young people connected with the event. The resulting aura of fear and suffering has drawn a nasty class of fairy from the Nevernever, creatures that inflict death and madness while feeding off the terror that they cause.
But they’re not Dresden’s biggest worry. A little higher on the list is the fact that the teenaged warlock to blame for all this is the eldest daughter of his best friend, the angelic knight Michael Carpenter. Little Molly has grown up into a tattooed, pierced, dayglo-haired, and completely untrained magic user, thanks to a power inherited from her tough but magically repressed mother Charity. Now the most vicious denizens of fairyland have Molly, and Dresden must go after her into the heart of Queen Mab’s Winter Court, backed up by a deceptively cute Chicago Police detective, a sex vampire who happens to be his half-brother, and an armed-for-bear Charity Carpenter who, when it comes to defending her brood, often seems the scariest of the lot.
But even if they can make it back from a frozen fairyland full of trolls, fetches, and other gruesome apparitions, Dresden must face his biggest worry of all: bringing Molly before the White Council to be judged for her crimes against the laws of magic. The only way to save her life may be to put his own life on the line.
So, it’s just another case for a hardboiled sleuth whose mysteries always come packed with magic, action, tantalizing hints of romance, and multiple threats attacking from different directions at the same time. I mean, I don’t even have room to discuss who it is that captures Dresden and tries to sell him on eBay. Or how Harry allows himself to be played in order to give his side a slight advantage in its war with the blood-sucking Red Court. Or how many ways it can help to have a furry friend like Dresden’s Tibetan temple dog, Mouse. You’ll just have to read the book to find all that out. And then you’ll find it hard to resist the temptation to follow it up with Book 9, White Night.