I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Harry Dresden has faced some pretty terrifying foes during his career. Giant scorpions. Oversexed vampires. Psychotic werewolves. It comes with the territory when you're the only professional wizard in the Chicago-area phone book.
But in all Harry's years of supernatural sleuthing, he's never faced anything like this: The spirit world has gone postal. All over Chicago, ghosts are causing trouble - and not just of the door-slamming, boo-shouting variety. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone - or something - is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? And why do so many of the victims have ties to Harry? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself....
For me this is the most enjoyable installment in the Dresden series thus far. I think Butcher has finally solidified Harry’s character to where he feels comfortable with it and he is defining Harry’s Chicago in more detail.
Also appreciated: Harry isn’t going it all alone in this book. He has several partners—Michael, a righteous knight; Murphy, his police contact; and Thomas, a vampiric conspirator.
I was glad to see more women in this book and that they were assigned more substantial roles. Including some awesome evil women, Harry’s godmother & the queen of the Red Vampire court. That makes up for poor old Susan, who as usual is pushed aside while Harry fights ghosties (until she needs rescuing right on cue).
Michael has potential to be a great foil for Harry. He kind of gets dumped into the narrative early in the book and we have to figure him out as we go, but he lends strength & courage to the partnership. Maybe some of Michael’s goodness gets rubbed off on Bob, the skull, as even he seems more supportive of Harry this time out.
I do have to wonder is poor old Harry is going to get the shit beat out of him in absolutely every chapter of every book? Even if he heals quickly, he’s going to be moving like a hundred year old man in no time, if that’s the case. More companions = less physical abuse, Harry. You may wear a western duster, but there’s no reason to go it alone like an outlaw.