Note: The previous book (Death Masks, Book 5) is where reading this series out of order starts to do you an injustice. This book does work as a stand alone to some extend, but you will get major spoilers for the previous books in the series and it also pulls in characters we have met before. So I recommend reading the previous books before you jump into this one.
Many years ago, a friend lent me her old Kindle in an attempt to bring me into the 21st century and this book was one of the first books listed and so I jumped right into it not knowing it was Book 6 in this series by some author I had never heard of. I absolutely loved it and went back and read the previous books. Now, finally, I have recently read the first 6 in order and I’m glad I did. Each book definitely builds upon the others and the larger story arc that holds them all together is much more apparent when the books are read in order.
Chicago’s only phone-book listed wizard is about to get pulled into a very odd job. Thomas Wraith, a White Court vampire, has helped Harry more than once and Harry isn’t too sure why. But now Thomas calls in a favor – he wants Harry to help his friend, a movie producer. He believes he is at the center of a curse, the Evil Eye. And since Thomas just helped him rescue a litter of Temple dogs from monkey poo flinging demons, Harry can’t say no. However, Thomas failed to mention that his friend works in the adult film industry. Harry is in for an education!
As Harry digs into the Evil Eye mystery, he is attacked by a vampire. It looks like he has to deal with a nesting Black Court vampire in the area and he suspects Mavra. Harry starts building his team of vampire hunters even as he narrows in on the cause of the Evil Eye. He taps Karrin Murphy for this hunt which is great. She was mostly absent in the last book. He also calls in Ebeneezer McCoy, his old mentor, and Kincaide, the bodyguard of the Archive. This mix leads to some interesting revelations about Ebeneezar and Kincaide. Pretty serious stuff!
Another reason I really enjoyed this story is that it introduces Mouse, Harry’s dog. In this book, he’s just a puppy and he gets snuggles from everyone, whether they be a police detective, a porn star, or a vampire. Everyone loves a floppy-eared pup. There’s also this dynamic between Harry and Thomas. They aren’t quite friends but they do have some mutual trust going on. Yet Harry still wonders why Thomas has helped him out as often as he has. In this book, Harry finds out. It’s pretty intense and we get to see the darker side to the White Court, which up to this point has been a rather mild bad guy organization of incubi.
There’s plenty of Harry’s snarky humor flung about in this book. I recognized some favorite movie references as well. While Harry works the Evil Eye case, he makes some interesting observations about the adult film industry, like how it’s not all that sexy to have someone yelling directions as you get busy. It’s done really well without being raunchy. By the end, Harry has suffered a serious physical injury and he’s also learned some truths that are hard to swallow. While the humor is great in this book, I enjoyed the serious parts more. I definitely feel like Dresden is being prepped by something (fate? a twisted author?) for something bigger.
The Narration: James Marsters is a continued win for the voice of Harry. He also did a Greek accent for the movie producer that was well done. I really liked the screaming of Harry and Thomas as they attempted to avoid the demons in the opening scenes. His regional accent for Ebeneezar was great and his ultra-spooky voice for Mavra was hair raising!