Harry Dresden's Chicago PD friend, Karrin Murphy, brings him in on a case that the police believe is a suicide. But Harry finds an ominous supernatural calling card at the scene, leaving no doubt in his mind that it was actually murder. His investigation leads to the discovery that many of Chicago's magic practitioners, the underclass of the magical world who don't have enough power to become full-fledged wizards are being targeted. Some are merely disappearing, while others are turning up dead of apparent suicides. As Harry sets out to find the killers, all the evidence seems to be pointing in one direction, toward his own half-brother, Thomas, someone Harry knows in his gut can't be guilty. But in order to clear Thomas' name, Harry must delve into a dangerous world of vampire political intrigue and must form alliances with both old friends and former enemies alike in order to defeat those who could cause even more chaos if they are allowed to come to power. But even still, it's a fight that he may not be able to win, because those on the opposing side have a mysterious wizard who is even more powerful than Harry backing them up.
White Night was another thrilling adventure for our intrepid private detective wizard, Harry Dresden. This case was pretty much tailor-made for a chivalrous guy like Harry, because women in the magical community, mid-level practitioners who mostly fly under the radar, are being attacked. They're either going missing or turning up dead of apparent suicides, but it only takes Harry a few minutes investigating the scene where one of these ladies died to know something supernatural is afoot. Then all signs start leading him back to his own brother, Thomas, as the prime suspect, even though Harry is certain Thomas would never do such a thing. It's a mystery that takes him right into the heart of vampire politics, where he discovers that someone may be trying to sabotage peace talks between the White Council and the Red Court. And it all culminates in an epic battle with supercharged ghouls that appear to be controlled by the entity Harry calls Cowl, who may be a traitor within the ranks of the White Council. Like I said, it was another exciting installment of the Dresden Files that really kept me on the edge of my seat.
Harry has been a wonderful character for me from the start. He's pretty much everything I look for in a male lead of any novel, and it didn't take me long to understand why my romance-reading friends kept recommending this series to me. I'm so glad they convinced me to give the Dresden Files a try, because they were all right, and he just keeps getting better and better as the series goes on. He's daring and courageous, never afraid to try something that sounds crazy in an attempt to save the day, even though doing so in the past always seems to lead to a death-defying moment, which of course, is half the fun of the stories. And while he may be a little rough around the edges, he's a kind soul who really cares about people and is loyal to a fault when it comes to his friends. He's also strong, always putting himself in harm's way to save others. He's simply awesome, and with each new book, he seems to discover something new about himself. In this one, he encounters some unexpected anger issues that appear to be related to his uneasy alliance with Lasciel. I love how he handled that situation, which showed that he hadn't allowed himself to become corrupted by her presence. Then how things ended between them leaves me wondering how he might be different in future books of the series. But before that all happened, Lash (as he nicknamed her) let him in on a secret about himself that he didn't know and that I suspect will also lead to some additional changes for him. In any case, I can't wait to find out what those changes might be.
As always, Harry has an incredible cast of supporting characters to back him up, some of whom appear in most of the books and others we may only see occasionally, but I love them all. At the top of the list in White Night is Thomas. Like Harry, I knew he couldn't possibly be guilty of killing the magical women, but he has been pretty secretive, not only in this book, but the previous one as well. All I can say is that I loved Thomas before, and when his secrets came out, I loved him even more. He's another character who could easily be a romance novel lead. Right alongside him would be Warden Carlos Ramirez, another strong, courageous young wizard. When this guy's big secret came out, I was laughing right along with Harry, but in a delighted way. I can't help wondering if he might become a possible love interest for Harry's apprentice, Molly, who is still youthfully stubborn but learns some valuable lessons in this story. Murphy is right there by Harry's side, too. This petite woman packs a huge punch when she has to, and I love how she's become completely accepting of Harry's crazy world. She's also there to call him on the mat when his rage goes a little too far. I still don't know if anything romantic is going to happen between these two, but I'll be eagerly waiting to find out. Another possible contender is Harry's ex, Elaine, who shows up again. I admit it's been so long since I last saw her, I don't recall much about her previous appearance, except that they were on opposing sides. But this time, they're fighting on the same side with her trying to protect the women as well. It's obvious that she and Harry still have chemistry, although she lives in LA where she also works as a PI, so I don't know how likely it is for a romantic reunion between them. If something did happen, I wouldn't be averse to the idea, because I liked her here. She has enough power to be a Warden, but chooses to avoid that life, although she does want to make a difference and cares deeply about her clients. Then there's Mouse, who shows some new powers of his own in this book. These are the most important of the good guys.
On the side of Harry's frenemies, those people with whom Harry has a tentative working relationship in the interest of fighting a common enemy, we have Marcone, the Chicago crime boss who's been there from the start. Even though he's a criminal who's generally only looking our for his own interests and can't entirely be trusted, I've always kind of liked him. He has his own sense of honor. It seems that he can be taken at his word, and he's gotten Harry out of a few tight spots even though there's usually a price attached. It's looking like Marcone is going to be taking on an even greater role on the supernatural side of Chicago. Helen Beckitt, one of the secondary baddies from the very first book, Storm Front, resurfaces, but isn't entirely all that she seems. Then there's Thomas' older sister, Lara, and with her having control over their father, Lord Raith, the leader of the White Court, she is now really their de facto leader. This means that when other vampires try to sabotage the peace talks, she and Harry find themselves mostly on the same side, although she proves craftier in the whole process than it seems at first glance. The real baddies are a total mystery at first, but they turn out to be a combination of new characters and one old character we've met before. As a whole, they cause a boatload of trouble for Harry to clean up.
Overall, White Night was another great installment in the Dresden Files. There were maybe a few places where I thought perhaps the descriptive prose could have been pared down just a bit, because my mind wandered a little. Also, the vampire politics got just a tad confusing, but by the end, I think I'd gotten a pretty good handle on everything. Because of these two things, the book was running around a 4.5 on my star meter until I got to the nail-biting conclusion. That kept my attention fully engaged wondering exactly how Harry and company were going to get out of yet another extremely dangerous situation and it didn't disappoint. Not to mention, there were a few things revealed in the final pages that made it more than worth the wait to get there. So, I decided that White Night was worth the full five stars. I can't wait to keep reading about our intrepid hero and all his friends to find out what happens next in their lives.
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