Grave Peril

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Grave Peril (The Dresden Files #3) by Jim Butcher

So Harry Dresden has had a tough year. First a crazy wizard blowing people up from the inside out,

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To werewolves of all types ravaging the city:

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And now we have the spirit world going crazy!

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Yep, he’s had to team up with old pal, Michael Carpenter, Catholic and a Knight of the Cross.

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Spirits have been riled up all over, are acting out and no longer tethered to special spots, etc.

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As Harry goes back to the office the next day, he is approached by a young woman, Lydia, a practitioner who begs for protection. Harry offers to give her some help, as he knows she is hiding something from him. This seems to happen a lot Harry what with with Monica and the werewolf guy.

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That night Harry and Michael decide the only way to stop some of these things from happening, is for Harry to risk heading over the border from our world to the supernatural one. A very scary thing to do when most of them hate you or are after you.

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In fact he is trying to stay away from his fairy godmother (actual fairy) Lea who wants him as her slave. As she starts to spin her fairy magic, he just manages to overcome her spell and Michael luckily saves him before she takes his blood.

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However, the work they do doesn’t always fly with the police as they get arrested. Michael’s wife, Charity, comes for Michael and reads Harry the riot act. Susan also comes for Harry, in a slightly better mood as with her man she has another story for the newspaper she works for, The Arcane.

As the two head back to Harry’s place they encounter something they weren’t expecting, Vampires.

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But these vampires promise no attacks. They were sent by Madame Bianca to invite Harry to the Vampire Court, as Bianca is elevated to the rank of Margravine of the Vampire Court.

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Susan wants to go to the Vampire Ball, but Harry is not interested. Bianca is still angry about what happened in Storm Front, and has threatened to kill him. While the invitation protects him from any vampire harm such as sucking of blood or direct killing, they could use a loophole and find a way to destroy him. Better watch out Harry, non-magical people don’t always understand everything and Susan is tenacious. She’ll find a way to get into that party, even if it becomes the death of her.

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The two spend the night together, but are awoken early by Michael. Michael has heard from the priest of the church Harry placed Lydia. Something tried to attack her last night, but was kept out. She started freaking out going through withdrawal (from either a mortal or magical substance) and tried to go out to the creature. The priest was able to protect her during the night by reading the scriptures. But in the morning she disappeared.

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Harry decides the only thing to do next os to go to a psychic in Oldtown, Mortimer Lindquist. When Harry comes upon him packing, he knows Mortimer must know something he’s not telling. When Harry questions him further, Mortimer brings up an old book of his, They Shall Rise. He’s convinced the border between our world and the magical Nevernever is constantly eroding, new ghosts are coming over, and that there is something even eviler, a Nightmare.

Things go from bad to worse as he is called in by the Chicago Police Department for an old friend, Mickey Malone. Before Harry can enter a true “home, he has to be invited in by a family member. Mrs. Malone complies, he comes in to see Mickey chained up as he is a madman.

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When he uses his Sight, he sees that Mickey’s soul and mind have been torn apart as if he was attacked by a wild animal. To top it off he has “spiritual” barbed wire curled around him, just like he saw in the other ghosts he’d been fighting. Who is trying to control these ghosts and people? Why?

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Harry is able to destroy it, but through great pain. What is this Nightmare? And can Harry stop it?

There is only one thing left for Harry to do in order to get his answers. He must go to the Vampire ball, but will he manage to survive it?

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*Spoliers*

As always Butcher presents a powerful, thrilling, and suspenseful story.

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Burt let me worn you, this one is full of pain, angst, and was pretty harsh. I’m on a Jim Butcher break after reading this as it was heart wrenching.

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The hardest thing was what happened to Susan. Now I may never have been a fan of her and Harry together, but I never wanted her turned into a vampire. Super intense ending, totally heart crushing, yet powerful.

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For more Dresden Files, go to Fool Moon

For more private investigators, go to A is for Alibi

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

For more mystery reviews, go to The Midwife’s Tale

Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

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Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher

So I was first introduced to this series by my friend. She was an avid reader, and you know how when you have something you like, you try to get all of your friends into it.

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Anyways, we had gone on a road trip and were on our way back to our apartment, but were so tired. Halfway, we realized we wouldn’t make it unless we had something to boost us. She decided now was the perfect time to introduce me to the book series. We listened to 1/3-1/2 of the book, and by then it was too late. I was hooked and had to head to library to check out a copy to read now.

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The Review:

So Harry Dresden is a wizard.

What?

Yes, you heard correctly. He is a wizard in modern day Chicago, and has his own P.I. office, HARRY DRESDEN-WIZARD. Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. NO Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, or Other Entertainment.

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Things have been really slow for Harry these past few months. The last thing he’s done was investigate a country singer’s “haunted house”. It turned out to be nothing but the singer’s drug addiction, but when Harry told him that, he fired him and then hired some shyster who did an “exorcism”. It seems some people just don’t want the truth.

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This day Harry was planning on going through a new box of books, as there was nothing else to do, when he gets a call.

A woman, Monica, is looking for her husband. He asks her to check with the police or a regular private investigator, but she refuses saying she needs a wizard’s help. They make an appointment, an hour later.

Immediately the phone rings again, and it’s Lt. Karrin Murphy from the Chicago Police Department (CPD). She’s the director of Special Investigations, set to investigate anything unusual.

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Vampire attacks, troll marauding, and faery abductions of children, etc.

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Murphy’s found some bodies and wants Harry there now. Harry tells her she has an appointment, but Murphy tells him he needs to come her NOW, and to not eat lunch. It’s ugly.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

Harry leaves  note and heads on his way.

Murphy is short and petite but tough as nails. She has to be in order to succeed as a female cop.

She and Harry get along but have their differences. Murphy is a modern women, while much of Harry’s morals, values, and manners are, in her view, dated. He likes to open doors for women, pick up the check, protect them; etc. Murphy also doesn’t like his look of a leather duster, she thinks is also dated. However, she believes what he says is the truth and not crazy, and is one of the few willing to look into his eyes and do a Soul Gaze.

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Soul Gaze is when you look into a wizard’s eyes directly, and when you do so you see a window into their soul. It doesn’t relay specific information (you can’t use it to interrogate someone), but it does give one a vague impression on whether they’re trustworthy or not, or if they’ve been psychically harmed, etc. A lot of people don’t like it, so not many dare meet his eyes.

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They go into the suite, where they meet up with Detective Carmichael, Murphy’s partner, and the most unbelieving soul you will ever meet.

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The two people had obviously met for sex, and they find them in the bed. The creepy part? Their chests have exploded, as if they had a bomb in their chest.

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Harry feels like throwing up, but tries to stay strong. The only way to do something like this is to use magic to wreak harm, in violation of the First Law, established by the White Council, the people who police Wizards.

The only way to accomplish such a feat is through Thaumaturgy. Thaumaturgy is when you make something happen on a small scale, and give it enough energy to happen on a large scale; but to do something like that you would need something that connected to the victims like hair, fingernails, or blood.

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To do this you need really strong emotions, revenge most likely. She or He choose the moment when the two would be having sex, as this extremely angered her or him, making the killer most likely a spouse or ex-lover.

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It turns out the girl is Jennifer Stanton, a prostitute who at the Velvet Room for Bianca. Bianca is a Vampiress. Not good. And the man? Tommy Tomm, Gangster “Gentleman” Johnny Marcone. Ouch. Not good and a WIDE suspect pool.

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Uh-oh

Murphy wants Harry to investigate how this could have happened, but Harry really doesn’t want to. You see Murphy doesn’t know everything about Harry. Harry has a dark past and the Doom of Damocles hanging over his head. If he is found guilty of violating one of the Seven Laws of Magic, the Doom would drop. If he started putting together a murder spell, that’s all that’s needed for those who dislike him to push for the Doom to start.

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Murphy yells at him, and it makes him feel bad so he agrees. He just hopes that the Council will understand.

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Harry runs back to the office for his appointment, when he is approached by two giant men who force him into the limo. In the back he sees a handsome, unassuming man, in casual clothes. Who are you? Johnny Marcone.

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“Gentleman” Johnny Marcone is a blessing and a curse to the Chicago area. On one hand he deals in everything from drugs, to robbers, etc. On the other hand, with him in charge, everything is controlled. He runs his organization tiptop, and if anybody new comes on the scene, they get taken out.

Marcone wants Harry to not investigate the case. He’s willing to pay him for two weeks, $16800, to take a vacation. It intrigues Harry, but he is even more curious about why he doesn’t want Harry looking into the deaths.

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He refuses.

Marcone stares Harry right in the face, never flinching, extremely scary. But Harry stays firm, and Marcone warns Harry not to upset him. He drops Harry off at his office, and Harry feels a bit grim about everything, but at least he’s on time for Monica.

Monica is very uneasy and unsure about being here. Her husband, Victor Sells, has been missing for three days, and she came to Harry because she thinks that he might be able to help as her husband was very into magic.

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After careful waiting, Monica tells Harry a few clues. They have a lake house he could check out and she’s willing to pay the money. So they strike a deal and she heads on her way.

Harry checks his mail and discovers a dried out scorpion. Scorpions are very powerful symbols and could be dangerous. It creeps Harry out, but he thinks he’s overreacting and dumps it in his desk.

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Harry decides to reward his good fortune of two jobs, and head down to McAnally’s Pub, an old fashioned restaurant. Mac is Harry’s best friend and seemingly the only one he can talk to. Today the hot news is the Third Eye drug ravaging the city. The Third Eye is a powerful drug that gives you temporary abilities, and is extremely addictive. People will do anything in order to get it. It is really hurting the city.

Susan Rodriguez comes into the pub to talk to Harry. She is a journalist for the Arcane, a tabloid, and is always trying to get something out of Harry. She is very sexy and uses her appeal to get things out of others. So far it hasn’t worked on Harry, his past has kept him from getting close to anyone, but it’s been a long time and a date with Susan sounds great.

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That night Harry heads over to the lake house with ingredients. Time to do some spell casting.

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Harry sets a trap to catch a faery so that he can question him. When Toot arrives he’s quite angry with Harry, but after some bargaining, Harry gets him calmed down.

Toot tells Harry that pizza arrived the other night and the humans were “sporting”. “Sporting” to fairies means sex. And a lot of it, there must have been an orgy or something.

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Harry is thinking about what it all means, when his worst nightmare shows up. Morgan, a member of the White Council, who wants Harry dead. He tries to get at Harry, saying that he was the one who killed the two people. Sadly, Morgan won’t stop until he has proof that Harry killed them.

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Harry is too keyed up after talking with Morgan, and heads down in his basement to work. There also lives his cat Mister, and Bob, an extremely old wizard trapped in a skull, the wizard computer. Harry needs Bob’s help to make an escape potion, but Bob won’t assist unless they do something fun, like make a love potion.

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The next night Harry goes to see Bianca. To prepare himself, he wears a silver pentacle on a silver chain and a folded white cloth.

When he gets there, the guards remove some of Harry’s items, his cane and knife. But they stupidly let him pass with the cloth and pentacle.

Harry asks Biamca about Jennifer and she freaks out trying to kill him. Luckily he has that cloth, which contains a sunlight potion, releasing it on her. From there the beautiful woman is gone, and this ugly winged creature remains.

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Harry also uses the pentacle to protect himself, leaving the two at a draw. Bianca doesn’t trust him and he doesn’t trust her. He is trying to find Jennifer’s killer, but Bianca thinks he is the real murderer.

Eventually, Harry convinces Bianca to sit and talk. Bianca liked Tommy Tomm, he treated the girls nice. He sent Jennifer that night, but has no idea who would want them dead. She sends him to go after Linda Randall, old friend of Jennifer.

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Harry has to leave quickly, as he is bleeding and hungering Bianca. He calls Linda, but she won’t speak to him. So he goes to find her.

Linda works as a driver now, but in the past was a prostitute too, and she is very sexual in everything. Last time she spoke to Jennifer was on her birthday, she wanted to get with Tommy and her, but Linda had to work.

Harry decides that gleaning zero leads from there, it is best to look up the pizza place. He finds out that there was more than one person there, an orgy, and that there was another guy taking pictures.

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That night Harry gets attacked by a man with a bat, later a man high on the Third Eye also threatens him, that his master will kill him. While Harry isn’t sure he is closer to the truth, it appears he is right on their tale.

Things get really heated, when in the middle of his date with Susan, a demon appears, and the two have to fight it off.

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Will Harry solve the crime? Or will he be taken down; either by the White Council or this mysterious opponent. You have to read to find out.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!

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It was extremely well written and I couldn’t put it down.

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Check it our for yourself!

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For more supernatural mysteries, go to The Barter

For more books featuring a private investigator, go to One for the Money

For more fantasy-mysteries, go to The Emperor’s Edge