FOOL MOON by Jim Butcher: a Dresden Files reread

Mark Yon has been a reviewer and web administrator at SFFWorld, one of the world’s biggest genre forum sites, for nearly ten years. He has also been on the David Gemmell Awards organisation committee for the last two years. In this series of rereads, Mark will guide us below through the whole of Jim Butcher’s fabulous Dresden Files series as we count down to the new hardback at the end of July.

Fool Moon takes place six months after the events of Storm Front.

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is Chicago’s only professional ‘wizard for hire.’ But he’s not been employed by the Chicago Police Department’s Special Investigations Squad since the events of Storm Front, the previous novel. His friend, police chief Karrin Murphy, has been giving him the cold shoulder because of these events – and because it’s down to him that she’s now under the suspicious watch of Chicago Police’s Internal Affairs.

Then one October night, he gets a visit from Lieutenant Murphy about a murder – one that has been very, very messy and seems to be the latest in a series of gruesome events, which coincidentally happen at full moon. And there are more moonlit nights on the way…  Whereas Storm Front was about wizards and vampires, this is where we meet some of the other denizens of Dresden’s underworld Chicago. Here Harry’s deep in werewolf territory. Or rather, as Harry finds out, not just werewolf territory, but werewolf, hexenwolf, lycanthrope and loup garou territory. (The book explains the difference!)

I began the book really wanting to know how Harry and his motley crew were getting on after the first book. I was pleased to see this book quickly launched me back into Harry’s world and that the second book in the series developed many of the things I enjoyed in the first. There is still the dry commentary and the sense of humour that I loved previously.

However, as this is the second book in a series, a reader usually expects more. And we certainly do get that. Harry’s romance with Susan Rodriguez, a reporter develops nicely, for example. Moreover, in this tale we start to get some development of key themes that evolve though the books, such as trust, responsibility and the importance of blood ties.

And blood is important here, both in the literal and physical sense. The death of one of Harry’s mentors is something which Harry takes very much to heart, not just because he is accused of their murder. Through this event we also begin to discover more about why Harry is so mistrusted by other wizards.

In the literal sense, this story is quite violent and the body count is quite impressive. The beatings that Harry endures are even greater. It is, at times, quite grim, though like many a good page turner, it is clear that good will out nonetheless, but clearly at a price. The prose is straightforward, the pace very fast, which is entertaining and well done, keeping the plot moving without the reader needing to reach for the dictionary.

In summary, then, it was for me a quick and entertaining read. Definitely one for those who like downtrodden detectives with exciting magic thrown in.