The Dresden Files: Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
When it comes to entertainment, I try to cut down on anything that I would normally see on TV. This means films that are just interesting enough to keep you watching, series that are funny, but more or less commonplace ... you know the type. I try to save my TV hours for productions like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and the like.
As a result, when I am feeling lazy and not in the mood for doing something productive, I still have the urge to entertain myself. I have found the perfect solution: the Dresden Files. It's reading, so it is guilt free, but gods and glory, I would take one of these books over any movie, regardless of how much eye-candy CGI you can pack into it.
The Dresden Files' protagonist is Harry Dresden, a consultant for the Chicago Police Department, and a wizard-for-hire. Although he is laughed at, mocked, and ridiculed for his craft, he is still the key to solving local crimes that provoke more than the average number of questions. Anything preternatural or covered in ectoplasm, it has his name on it.
Maybe it's his ego, or perhaps he's just brave in a kind of stupid way, but Jim Butcher faces the stereotypes of magic, werewolves, vampires, and makes them spin on their supernatural skulls, and he does it with a flare of tongue-and-cheek humor. Once again, you are willing to read a murder-mystery novel, once again you are falling for the protagonist with the failing love life, and you cringe while he gets bruised and beaten as he tries to keep everything together. Why? Because it's Harry; he's lovable, hilarious, brave, sometimes stupid, sly in all the right areas, and way too irresistible to ignore. He's Chicago's local wizard.
Even if Fool Moon was a story with a predictable plot (it's not), I would still read it, just to see more of Harry Dresden.
Fool Moon is the second book in the series. Since I got it at a garage sale, and unpopular writers cannot be choosers, I had to start here. Regardless, I heard from a trusted source that the series can be read out of order, considering each story, although containing some ties to the previous one, can be read independently and will make perfect sense. Gotta love Mr. Butcher for cutting down on our homework. Gold star!
The writing is incredibly entertaining; it follows Harry in a tangled mess with a local mobster, several different species of werewolves, bad cops, and a plethora of both classic and magical violence. When Harry slings spells, things explode, more often than not to his own detriment.
I ate through the book in a few days, (much to my sadness), then promptly drove to a local bookstore in order to purchase the sequel. On multiple occasions, Butcher made an idiot out of myself; due to the music in my headphones, and the lack of awareness of my evidently quiet surroundings, I was made to laugh out loud at something he'd written, only to look up and feel blood rush to my face after seeing all the stares. This is not an exaggerated account, and yes, 'multiple,' was the correct modifier.
Beyond the superficially entertaining, funny, and slapstick humor, Butcher's got some wisdom and touching moments that really come through when you least expect it. If you've got a few spare dollars, or know someone with a copy, it is definitely not a waste of time nor energy to go through the trouble of picking up this book.
Happy reading, friends!