“Turn Coat” is the Dresden Files at their very best.
The first week of April is no longer just the time of year to look forward to silly pranks. Now it’s the time of year to look forward to our annual check-in with Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden.
I’ve said before that I believe Butcher’s series about Chicago-based wizard Harry Dresden to be the best on-going fantasy series on the market today. I’ve even gone out on a limb and said that I think the series is better than a certain other best-selling series about a wizard named Harry.
And with the latest entry, “Turn Coat,” Butcher once again reinforces those assumptions.
When his old nemesis, Morgan turns up on his doorstep, wounded and fleeing the Wizard’s Council, Harry Dresden is caught in a dilemma. Morgan is wanted for a murder he insists he didn’t commit and is asking Harry for his help. Morgan is clearly counting on the fact that Harry will know the horrors of being wrongly accused of a crime and assist him. Morgan is right and before long Harry finds himself drawn into a web of conspiracy at the heart of the Wizard’s Council and battling a shape-shifting monster with supernatural powers far beyond anything he’s encountered before.
In short, it’s just another day at the office for wizard and Warden Harry Dresden.
“Turn Coat” is the Dresden Files at their very best. It’s got equal portions of character development, expansion of the universe and hints about the overall plot arc that has bubbled under the surface since our first meeting with Dresden back in “Storm Front.” Butcher’s strength is that he’s able to take all the recurring storylines and keep them firmly in the reader’s mind without bogging the story down in huge passages of info-dumps. The cues and call backs to previous novels are done well enough that new readers will be able to follow the storyline (though I don’t recommend you start here if you’ve not read the series before. Start at the beginning and savor the journey) while long-time readers will be given a richer and deeper understanding of Dresden and his universe.
All that and I defy you to read put this book down in the last 100 pages. The final fourth of the novel, when events all culminate is some of the most entertaining I’ve read all year. There are a number of fascinating revelations in the final quarter of this book–not just about the central mystery, but also about some long-term storyline events.
It all leads up to one thing–one of the most satisfying Dresden Files novels yet. And a huge empty feeling as I realize I will have to wait until next April for the next installment….
“Turn Coat” by Jim Butcher
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published: April 7, 2009
Slice of SciFi Rating: 5 out of 5 stars