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Proven Guilty: The Dresden Files, Book 8
Jim Butcher
Narrated by James Marsters, unabridged
Penguin Audio, 16 Hours

Proven Guilty
Jim Butcher
A martial arts enthusiast whose resume includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago, Jim Butcher turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He lives with his wife, his son and a ferocious guard dog.

The Jim Butcher Fan Attic
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Turn Coat
SF Site Review: Princeps' Fury
SF Site Review: Cursor's Fury
SF Site Review: Academ's Fury
SF Site Review: Furies of Calderon
SF Site Review: Small Favor
SF Site Review: Captain's Fury
SF Site Review: White Night
SF Site Review: Proven Guilty
SF Site Review: Dead Beat
SF Site Review: Blood Rites
SF Site Interview: Jim Butcher
SF Site Review: Death Masks
SF Site Review: Grave Peril
SF Site Review: Fool Moon
SF Site Review: Storm Front

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

Things just never get easy for Harry Dresden. The White Council, who always had it out for him, has recently made Harry a Warden for the White Council (basically the police force for the wizarding community). You'd think with this promotion, the intrepid wizard/private investigator would be more accepted. But at the beginning of this book, a trial is being held for a young man that has used magic to influence the mind of a human. This not only breaks one of the seven laws of magic, but also uses black magic -- which can bring harm to the user. As with most trials conducted by the White Council, the youth is found guilty, declared a warlock and sentenced quickly. There is only one sentence for breaking the laws; death.

The White Council held this trial in Chicago to make sure Harry saw the outcome. Harry remarks how blood does not stain the gray cloaks of the wardens as he is forced to watch the beheading of the warlock. With this impression made, Harry and the rest of the council depart. Most go off to continue the war with the Red Court Vampires and others simply continue their regular duties. In the meantime, Harry is contacted by The Gatekeeper, a higher-up Council member. Through some mysterious method of sending a message from the future, this individual asks Harry to investigate some black magic going on in Chicago.

Before I go too much further I would like to talk about The Dresden Files series in general. One of the things that makes these books so good is they always start out with some big event to grab you and you have no choice but to hang on and enjoy the ride. Proven Guilty is no exception. Without giving too much of a spoiler here, I will point out that the story comes full circle and offers some great life lessons along the way. One example is the way Jim Butcher, through Harry Dresden. turns the Parable of the Talents from the Holy Bible into the catch phrase of Stan Lee's Spider-Man, "With great power comes great responsibility."

The producers have cast the voice of James Marsters (Spike from the TV series Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as the reader. His voice flows so easily as Harry Dresden that you almost forget you are listening to an audiobook and may think you are listening to Harry Dresden tell you the story. It also helps that the book is written in first person and the mesh between words and audiobook is seamless.

Back to the story... the black magic Harry has to track down seems to be occurring at "Splatter-Con" -- a convention held in Downtown Chicago celebrating the art of horror movies. Creatures from the movies are coming to life and attacking the patrons of Splatter-Con. One of the many talents of the author is to be able to write some wit and humor into these stories. In fact, Harry Dresden wouldn't be worth reading about if it weren't for the quality of "wise-assness" which he regularly exhibits. During some of the magical battle scenes with the more popular monsters, Harry quotes lines from the movies with great tact and fun reactions.

The creatures creating the monsters are known as fetches. They are from the "Nevernever" and they feed off fear. The fetches have come for the daughter of Michael Carpenter, who is a Knight of the Cross... yes THE CROSS... and is God's swordsman (one of 2 left). It seems that Michael's daughter, Molly, has some magic abilities and the fetches abduct her. Now it is up to Harry to rescue her.

For some great action, thrills, chases and everything that makes a great read, The Dresden Files is the perfect series. And Proven Guilty fits perfectly into the series, offering even better action, thrills, chases and everything mythical and magical you'd expect from Jim Butcher.

Copyright © 2009 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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