Jim Butcher,
The Dresden Files #3: Grave Peril
(Roc, 2001)

Jim Butcher ramps up the tension level for Grave Peril, the third book in his ongoing occult-mystery series, The Dresden Files.

Harry Dresden, a wizard for hire in downtown Chicago, has plenty to deal with right from the start, beginning with a restless ghost that wants to snuff the lives of newborn babies. But ghosts are the least of Harry's worries; before this book wraps up, he mixes it up with a frightening array of demons, vampires, spectral traps, dead wizards, possessed bodies and possessive sidhe.

At the same time, he gains a new ally: Michael, one of the mortal world's three Fists of God, a steadfast man wielding a powerful sword and unshakeable faith. Thomas, a sensual member of the White Clan of vampire courts, is a possible ally as well, but anyone who bites people for sustenance is high on Harry's list of suspicions.

Special Investigations, a branch of the Chicago police force headed by usual ally Karrin Murphy, is sidelined pretty early in this one. The method by which some of its members are taken out of the action is, well, tense. Meanwhile, Harry's ongoing relationship with occult reporter Susan Rodriguez goes off on several new, distressing tangents.

I am late to The Dresden Files and am only now catching up on this long-running series. Butcher has a keen grasp of supernatural suspense, and he keeps his readers turning pages with white-knuckled intensity. His characters will grab you, and Dresden himself is the epitome of the flawed hero, brave despite his fears and often wracked by guilt over his failures and poor choices.

I look forward to seeing where this series takes us next. Be sure I'll be coming along.

review by
Tom Knapp

23 May 2009

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