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Fool Moon
Jim Butcher
Roc Books, 350 pages

Lee Macleod
Fool Moon
Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher lives in Oklahoma with his wife and son and a houseful of computers. He's the author of Storm Front, Book One of The Dresden Files.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Storm Front
The Jim Butcher Fan Attic
Excerpt: Storm Front

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Victoria Strauss

Wizard gumshoe Harry Dresden returns, in style, in this second installment of The Dresden Files.

Things have not been good lately for Chicago's only professional wizard. His previous case, in which he worked with the Chicago PD to solve a series of gruesome murders committed by a mad warlock turned druglord, brought him a lot of publicity, but not the helpful kind: the press has dubbed him a charlatan, and his contact on the police force, Lieutenant Karrin Murphy, has come in for some heavy criticism for using public money to hire him. To make matters worse, he's been linked with Gentleman Johnny Marcone, the city's top crime boss -- at whose behest, it's said, he terminated the warlock-druglord.

When another set of brutal killings comes to light, Karrin is the only one who makes the connection between the timing of the killings and the full moon. Realizing she has something supernatural on her hands, she turns to Harry, though she's reluctant to trust him after the near-debacle of their last case.

It turns out that werewolves are alive and well and ripping out people's throats in Chicago. But where did they come from? Are they lycanthropes, Hexenwolves, or loup-garou? And why are so many of their victims connected to Johnny Marcone? The search for answers pulls Harry and Karrin into a terrifying world of shapeshifters and supernatural curses, and brings them face-to-face with some very ugly human magic -- which they won't survive if they can't learn to trust each other again.

Storm Front was one of the most enjoyable books I read last year, and Fool Moon is even better. Butcher keeps the thrills coming, with plenty of mystery, suspense, and edge-of-your-seat action scenes. The subject matter is very dark, with a compelling evocation of the dehumanizing influence of shapeshifting magic, and a tragic figure in the form of the central werewolf, a man labouring under the influence of an ancient curse, whose efforts to contain his supernatural savagery are foiled by people whose entirely human motives are much uglier than his involuntary evil. But Harry's wry narrative voice provides a nicely-judged contrast to grim events he chronicles, interjecting welcome notes of humour throughout.

Harry is developing into a memorable character -- honest and honourable enough to be likeable, flawed and unpredictable enough to be interesting. He's entirely believable both as a man and as a wizard. In fact, Butcher's intelligently-crafted explanations of the whys and hows of Harry's wizardry are one of the best things about this series, an unusually convincing portrayal of the power of magic, and its limitations.

Fool Moon wraps up its story in a satisfying way, while sowing seeds of mystery for future volumes. Dresden Files fans can rejoice: in addition to Book Three, Grave Peril, coming in 2001, Butcher has sold two additional installments in the series. It looks, happily, as if Harry Dresden will be around for some time to come.

Copyright © 2001 Victoria Strauss

Victoria Strauss is a novelist, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and science fiction. Her most recent fantasy novel The Garden of the Stone is currently available from HarperCollins EOS. For details, visit her website.

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