When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin. But being dead doesn’t stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has no body, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own. To save his friends—and his own soul—Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic…
Right, so, in case you haven’t figured things out, the whole story here is one big spoiler for the ending of the previous novel in the Dresden Files series. In case you haven’t read it yet, and you just read the reviews of books in lieu of actually reading the books. In which case, you’re weird. Anyway…
Dresden is a ghost now. After being sniped and falling into Lake Michigan, he’s turned up in a kind of afterlife midway point, being told that his death was highly irregular, and so Harry goes back to Chicago in spirit form to try and find his killer. Since he’s all Casper-like, and reality doesn’t play by the same rules in the spirit realm as it does in the corporal world, he goes to resident (and reluctant) necromancer Mortimer Lindquist for help. Seems that Dresden has been dead for six months now, and his living friends have moved on with their lives in one form or another, some for the better and some for the worse. Also, there’s this thing called the Corpsetaker that ends up kidnapping Mort for the express purpose of possessing his body, presumably not for the most honorable of purposes. Also, his former protege Molly has gone rather batty in the interim since Harry’s death…the reason behind it he discovers after unlocking an erased memory detailing his killer behind his death. But before that, he has to rally the troops together to help him out…which is a bit tough, seeing as how he’s all living impaired and such. Wackiness doth ensue.
At this point in the Dresden Files series, I think we can all agree that the one character that has come a long, long way in terms of character development and and journey would be Butters. Here, it was sheer joy to read the polka-loving former mortician now fighting the supernatural evil by wielding both science and Bob the Skull by the seat of his pants. It was interesting to get a glimpse into the lives of those that either loved Dresden or at the very least had a profound respect for him six months after, trying to forge ahead without their friend, and just how much of an impact Dresden had in all of their lives. Also, did I mention Butters and Bob? That needs to at least have a spinoff comic miniseries or something. The ending I kind of saw coming, but then again the series began as an exercise in urban fantasy tropes to begin with. And, yeah the ending made sense in the overall scheme of things.