The ninth Harry Dresden novel is the series riches and most densely plotted to date–and the first in the series I can’t recommend to someone coming to the series cold.
Not that this is a bad thing. It’s a great thing for readers of the Dresden Files. While Jim Butcher does deliver payoffs and resolutions in his previous eight books, here in “White Night” he steps that up a notch, bringing back old friends and enemies to Harry Dresden’s world all while building on several key plotlines from the last several novels as the war between the various supernatural factions begins to reach a boiling point and Harry Dresden is, once again, at the center of it all.
If you’re coming into this cold, you’ll be thorougly confused. If you’ve read the previous eight books, you’re probably going to eat this up with a spoon, eagerly turning the pages, waiting for the next development to hit.
Murphy calls Harry in on a case that may or may not have supernatural undercurrents. Harry discovers a message that only he could find and begins to look into a series of similar deaths. Finding the same message, hidden in the same way, Harry suspects a serial killer is on the loose in the supernatural community. The problem: the number one suspect is his half-brother Thomas.
Harry is convinced Thomas isn’t the killer, but the evidence is pretty damning. Harry begins to pull at the threads and uncovers someone or something targeting women of a Wiccan order. They’ve already asked for help from Harry’s first love, Elaine, who is now a private eye in Los Angeles who investigates the supernatural.
All of this we find in the first hundred or so pages and that’s just when it gets interesting. Butcher weaves together a complex, fascinating story with Harry firmly at the center, trying to find the pieces of the puzzle and prove the innocence of his half-brother. In the midst of al this, we learn about the politics of the current battle between the Red Court and the White Council and how Harry fits into a plan to possibly tip the balance. Along the way, we meet old enemies and have call backs to the first novel in the series.
About the only thing I found frustrating about this novel is that in the last book, Harry determined a secret group was plotting within the power ranks of the White Council. And while this development is brought up, we never get any movement toward discovering who or what is behind this and what their agenda is. I realize that Butcher may be setting up some things for future installments, but a revelation this big seems a bit difficult to only pay lip service to in the story.
But that’s the only detraction I can find in this superb entry in the Dresden series. Butcher keeps getting better and better, continuing to keep the Dresden Files as one of the must reads on my bookshelf.