Detective Karrin Murphy calls in Harry Dresden to help with the investigation of three couples who died in apparent murder/suicide pacts. Based on the photos in their apartment, the latest couple seemed to have become eerily obsessive before dying, leading Harry to surmise that some sort of love spell may be responsible. His side of the investigation turns up nothing, but when Murphy discovers that all the couples attended the state fair, she and Harry head there in search of more clues. After being at the fair for a while, they're pretty sure a suspicious character has been following them, so they turn the tables by pursuing him into the Tunnel of Terror. But in doing so, they themselves fall under the spell and must fight against its pull in order to find the culprits responsible for it.
"Love Hurts" is a short story that falls between Turn Coat and Changes in the Dresden Files series chronology. In this one, Harry is called in to assist Murphy on a case involving multiple couples who appear to have died in some sort of obsessive murder/suicide pact. While there doesn't seem to be any obvious connection between the couples, Harry does sense magic afoot, possibly some sort of love spell. After some good old-fashioned sleuthing, Murphy discovers that all the couples appear to have gone to the state fair, so she and Harry head there looking for more clues. As they pursue a suspicious-looking character who was initially following them, they fall prey to the love spell themselves and must fight against its power in order to find the culprits.
For such a short story, "Love Hurts" was quite satisfying. However, I'm pretty sure that a large part of my enjoyment was mainly due to the fact that Harry and Murphy finally kiss for the first time. Woo-hoo! Sadly, though, they were under the love spell at the time, so I'm still not sure if it's going to mean anything going forward. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will, because IMHO, these two getting together is long overdue. The story was slightly open-ended with Harry and Murphy finding two of the culprits but not the main person who was doing the actual conjuring, so I'll be interested to see if anything comes of that in future stories as well. Overall, this was a very welcome addition to the series that was a fun read. "Love Hurts" was originally published in the multi-author anthology, Songs of Love and Death, and was later reprinted in the single-author anthology, Side Jobs.
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