Roc, Apr 2008, $23.95
Finally a respite for Chicago's only openly practicing professional wizard Harry Dresden as no one has tried to kill in quite a while. However, Harry’s serenity abruptly ends when the Queen of the Winter Court of the Sidhe and Queen of Air and Darkness Mab arrives to call in his IOU. Harry prayed this day would never come when he asked her for a favor years ago, but he now owes the ever dangerous Mab two favors.
Harry is relieved when all Mab asks of him is to rescue crime boss John Marcone, who was recently kidnapped. He figures how hard this can be as dealing with a mundane mob killers seems easier than some of the supernatural soul stealers he normally contends with. Still he is confused why Mab wants this done and bewildering him further she does not know why. Harry investigates to understand better the scenario as he finds it difficult to fathom how John was abducted from a highly guarded safehouse. He asks his friend Michael Carpenter, father of his apprentice Molly, to help him, but the “Knight of the Sword” hesitates as he distrusts Harry since the wizard was exposed to a curse. However, Harry soon realizes that by abetting Mab, he has brought onto him and his friends, the most powerful adversary of the Queen of the Winter Court, the Queen of Summer.
Dresden is at his best in this private investigative urban fantasy as his R&R ends with paying his debt. Fans will appreciate the hero as the favor seems simple enough, but soon spirals into soul threatening danger that would have hard core sleuths like Marlowe peeing in their pants. Dresden’s inquiries are cleverly done to set the stage for the usual lethal fantasy spin. Readers will relish Jim Butcher’s latest tour of Chicago’s underground as the sunny skies abruptly twist into deadly tornadoes.