2-2 - Book Review: Dresden Files 2 - Fool MoonJim Butcher
Roc Publications

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment. Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work–magical or mundane.But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses–and the first two don’t count…

The second book in The Dresden Files series manages to get one of my least favorite supernatural monsters out of the way: Werewolves. Yeah, not a big fan of werewolves in horror fiction, and I really don’t know why, other than they never really clicked with me. Maybe it’s because I never enjoyed having to read The Call of the Wild in elementary school and was given never-ending grief for being reluctant to read it. Oh, yeah, and the fact that wolves don’t scare me.. Seriously, growing up on a farm where your Uncles preferred large dogs, some Malamutes and Huskies, tends to sap your fear of wolves in literature and other fiction media. Anyway…

In Fool Moon, we open with Dresden unsuccessfully trying to convince a protege’ that messing with building a Three Magic Circle trap is not a good idea for someone so young (or at all, for that matter). Then he’s called to help investigate the mauling death of one of “Gentleman” Johnnie Marcone’s men, some wolfish paw prints found near his body. Dresden follows the blood scent (with magic, natch) to a gang of college-age werewolves that are being lead by a chillingly cold lady by the name of Tera West and go by the name The Alphas. The FBI get involved, send Dresden to check out a biker gang called the Streetwolves about the murder, which turns out to be a setup, as the bikers are also werewolves. Dresden then receives a tip that the killings are connected to one Harley MacFinn, and just as he’s about to check things out, he’s arrested due to there being a murder found at MacFinn’s place…the body of which just happens to be the protege’ from the beginning of the story. Dresden is then busted out by Tera West, who turns out to be MacFinn’s fiance’, and tells him that he needs to get MacFinn in the containment circle, as he’s not just any kind of werewolf, he’s a loup-garou, which is French for “Scary Werewolf the Other Scary Werewolves Are Afraid Of”. Unfortunately, ignoring his pleas to the contrary, the police arrest and jails MacFinn, meaning he’s there when the moon rises and he super-wolfs out and kills most of the police force unfortunate enough to be working the night shift. So now Dresden has to A) evade capture by the cops and clear his name, B) evade also the Streetwolves, who have a death mark on him, C) convince the Alphas that he’s trying to help them, D) somehow manage to find, capture and contain MacFinn without getting shredded to bits…oh, yeah, and E) prove that the FBI that’s been “helping” aren’t on the up-and-up. That just about takes care of that, I think.

Overall, I think that, even with the whole werewolf angle, Fool Moon was a rather good story. Certainly a bit better than the first book (which is not a slam, by the way); there were a lot of red herrings and twists in the story, certain characters got a bit more development, we’re introduced to The Alphas (who do feature in future stories), and I think the biggest twist isn’t the reveal of the FBI’s shenanigans, but with just what Tera West is in relation to her nature. Hint: you’re never going to figure it out…unless you read the spoiler on the Wikipedia page. So don’t. Anyway, very good read, and a bit of an improvement. On to the next one, then.