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Harry Dresden is a hapless, down on his luck wizard. In fact, he's the only licensed wizard in the Chicago phone book. Business isn't exactly brisk so from time to time he acts as a consultant with the Chicago Police Department when the cases drift out of the mundane and into the realm of the paranormal. When Karrin Murphy, one of Chicago's finest, is called upon to investigate a series of murders in which the victims appear to have been viciously mauled by a pack of ravenous animals, she knew it was time to call on Harry's unique skills. With the able assistance of his libidinous and wildly amusing skull-friend, Bob, Dresden quickly finds himself up to his amulet encircled neck in the mythology of hexenwolves, shape-shifters, lycanthropes, werewolves and loup-garous.
"Fool Moon" is an enjoyable novel that almost defies genre classification. While Harry Dresden assumes the role of the angst-ridden, hard-boiled detective with the self-sufficient, anti-authority attitude reminiscent of a John Corey or Harry Bosch, he's also a bit of a laughable bumbler. We've got fantasy, blended with comedy, the paranormal, cozy mystery and thriller. Dresden also cautiously but very temptingly treads on the edges of hot and torrid animalistic sexuality by having his well-endowed female protagonists do much of their heavy breathing and shape-shifting in the moon-lit altogether.
As with any venture into the paranormal, a considerable suspension of disbelief is required. But the willing reader will reap abundant rewards - strong character development; gritty, realistic, easy-flowing, natural dialogue that has lots of lightweight comedic moments; good guys and bad guys that will evoke strong reactions; smiles, chuckles and laughs throughout; a new supernatural universe complete with rules governing the use of magic and an over-riding White Council, the government overseeing the appropriate use of magic as it were; a convincing glimpse at the criminal mind's twisted interpretation of honour and respect; and an enjoyable tale that will provide a few hours of pure entertainment.
Toward the end of the novel, I began to think that Mr Butcher was pushing his luck a little on the length of the novel. Frankly, a bit of judicious editorial pruning would have made for a shorter novel with a higher ability to sustain suspense and interest throughout. But, except for this forgivable weakness, Jim Butcher looks like he has created a lovable enjoyable series with a bucketful of fans, myself included.
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