Friday, May 1, 2015

Review of Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (Orbit, 2001)

After his last bloody escapade business has been slow for Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only wizard listed in the phone book.  Somewhat reluctantly Karrin Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigations unit enlists his help in solving a handful of murders.  The victims have all been savaged, there are large paw prints at the scene, and the attacks occur on a full moon.  It doesn’t take a genius to determine what is committing the murders, the problem is identifying and capturing the culprit.  Especially when the FBI is intent on conducting the investigation without the interference of the Chicago PD or a wizard, and other forces also seem intent on making them walk away from the case.  However, Dresden has little respect for rules and Murphy is used to infringing on jurisdiction, and despite a fractious relationship they continue to poke their noses where they’re not wanted, determined to halt the spate of deaths.

Fool Moon is the second book in the Harry Dresden series about a PI wizard in Chicago who consults with the police on supernatural cases.  I thought the first book in the series was a wonderful hoot.  Fool Moon, in contrast, felt flatter, more contrived, and relied too much on plot devices to drive the story forward.  At several points, Harry makes some very poor decisions, and the judgement of his cop buddy, Karrin Murphy, spins like a compass in an electrical storm.  There’s certainly plenty of action and tension, a couple of nice twists, and some good contextualisation about varieties of werewolves, but there was little sense of place, the characterisation somewhat one dimensional beyond Harry, the plot creaked at times, and the story lacked the humour of the first book.  Overall, a reasonably solid second instalment that’s entertaining without being captivating.


Anonymous said...

Rob, I agree and this book stalled me on the series, despite friends assurances that the series gets better. Do you plan to give Butcher another chance?

Chris Enstad

Rob Kitchin said...

I probably will. I was given the next few books in the series. I've also been told they get more consistently good from book 3 or 4 on.