Ghost Story, book 13 of the Dresden Files was extraordinary. And that is saying something considering the fact that I have yet to read a book by Jim Butcher that wasn’t great. But how often do you get to see the protagonist of a book as a ghost? I was really scared for Harry Dresden, what with the prior book having ended with him sinking into the water after being shot. That’s not exactly a healthy prospect for Chicago’s only practicing wizard detective.
Our story starts six months after the last book ends. Chicago has changed immensely during Harry’s absence… and certainly not for the better. The supernatural creatures that once avoided the town have converged upon the Windy City after it became known that Dresden had disappeared. His friends have done their best to protect the citizens, but they don’t have the resources that he did, certainly not the sheer power that he wielded. A lot of other things have changed as well, like his inability to communicate with virtually everyone around him. Luckily, Harry manages to gain the assistance of some old, and unlikely, acquaintances. Conspicuously absent were Thomas, Michael, Elaine, Marcone, and the entire White Council, though they were all referenced at one point or another. My heart hurt a little for the way Murphy and Molly were portrayed in this book. Those last few months were unkind to them both, unfortunately.
Through both magical and supernatural means, Harry finally starts to unravel the mystery of who killed him. And boy will you be surprised, I know I was stunned…though it made sense afterwards. Along the way, we get to see several smaller stories/plots emerge and be put to bed and alongside of all the death and fear we get to witness Harry’s regrets. Not that he wouldn’t do it all over again, but he does have a very compassionate heart. But neither Hell nor Red Court Vampires will be allowed to hurt his little girl. Ever. The man has stubborn streak the size of a mountain.
The long and short of it is that this book was awesome. It’s the perfect bridge story to introduce the second half of the series, no doubt about it. Of course, it comes with a variety of movie and book quotes and lots of pop-culture references. Butcher will always have those sci-fi and comic book mentions I hope. The Spidey comments are to be expected as he did write a Spider-Man novel a few years back…and who doesn’t love a good Star Wars reference? If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: If you haven’t read this series, you are missing out big time. I, along with many of my friends, am already fiending for the next book.
If Jim Butcher (aka @longshotauthor on Twitter) is reading this, hurry up! Gimme more Dresden. It’s your fault I ever started reading them, thanks to having met you at that Borders/Waldenbooks convention in Dallas eight years ago! Of course, if you wanna slip me some early manuscripts I wouldn’t mind at all…