Monday, November 30, 2009

Review: Death Masks by Jim Butcher

One of the things I love about the Dresden files is that with every novel you can see how both Jim Butcher’s writing and the protagonist Harry Dresden mature just a little bit more. Death Masks, book five in the series, is no exception.

As usual Harry finds himself knee deep in trouble. He is challenged to a duel to the death by Ortega a duke of the red court. If Harry loses the war between the council and the court will be over if he wins Chicago will become a safe zone. If he doesn’t accept the challenge assassins will begin picking off everyone he cares about one by one. On the same day Harry is hired to find the missing Shroud of Turin which is believed to have been spirited away to Chicago. A few minutes later he is shot at by a few of Marcone’s, the Chicago crime lord who he thought he had an understanding with, thugs. To cap it all off his ex-girlfriend and semi-vampire Susan shows up and says ‘the two of them need to talk’.

One thing that stood out for me was the motivations of some of the ‘bad guys’ were explored quite nicely. Harry has always been a bit of a morally complex character but the bad guys have tended to be a bit simplified so this is a nice touch. In fact a few of the ‘good guys’ get the same treatment with equally interesting results. Otherwise Death Masks does all the things that we have come to expect from a Dresden novel and does them well. 8/10.

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