Fool Moon, by Jim Butcher
“If it was a louper, you’d know,” Bob said wisely. “In the middle of this town, you’d have a dozen people dead every time the full moon came around. What’s going on?”
“A dozen people are dying every time the full moon comes around.”
Paperback: 342 pages
Series: The Dresden Files (book 2)
First published: January 2001
Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn’t been able to dredge up any kind of work—magical or mundane.
But just when it looks like he can’t afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.
A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses—and the first two don’t count… (Goodreads)
I’m really starting to enjoy the urban fantasy genre. The idea of magic and supernatural forces let loose in the modern world can be very entertaining if implemented correctly, and Fool Moon does. One important factor in keeping things interesting is not having too big of a gap between the power of magic users and normal people. By not making Harry too powerful, Butcher gives non-magic users a chance against him and makes his job difficult enough for us to actually fear for his safety. A gun can apparently kill just as easily as a fireball, if not easier. If Harry were to be as powerful as, say, any one of Steven Erikson’s magic users, Fool Moon would have ended a lot sooner than it did. Of course, for the most part Harry’s opponents are either magic users themselves or, in Fool Moon’s case, supernatural beings with extraordinary strength and even magic resistance.
Speaking of Dresden’s enemies, the werewolves are really well portrayed. Ferocious and bloodthirsty, they make the action scenes very entertaining—and gory. They reminded me of the ones in the Underworld movies, with their savagery and impressive strength. Butcher stays really close to the classical werewolf mythos, including the vulnerability to silver bullets (which, by the way, has its origins somewhere in the 19th century, a lot later than the werewolf myth itself).
I have to say, I’m starting to be annoyed by the Murphy character, from a literary standpoint. She has gone from trusting Harry with her life to considering him a criminal and murderer in what feels like a lot less time than it would normally take for a person to radically change her opinion about someone else, especially when everything that someone does proves their loyalty and innocence, and especially when Murphy is supposed to be an extremely intuitive and experienced detective. The tension introduced between them feels forced because of this, and robs the characters of some of their realism and believability.
Hints are being dropped here and there that the events that take place in Fool Moon are related to the ones in the previous book and that perhaps there is a single entity behind both, which would give the series a common plot, because otherwise there is very little to tie up the individual installments.
Even though I enjoyed Storm Front a little more than Fool Moon, I have heard that the series only gets better, so I will definitely continue reading it.