Dresden Files #3: Grave Peril
By Jim Butcher
Harry Dresden, professional wizard, has surely seen his fair share of vengeful spirits...but he's never seen this many of them, and he's never seen them this vengeful. Something has been getting the spirit world all riled up as of late, which has kept Harry and his new pal Michael Carpenter quite busy on the ghostbusting front. When they learn that a demon-like creature they call the Nightmare has been tormenting these already-tormented spirits, they set out to discover what is the Nightmare's endgame.
There are a number of side-plots here as well, including Harry's (literal) fairy godmother trying to cash in on a long-owed contract for Harry's soul, Harry's increasingly-serious relationship with tabloid journalist Susan Rodriguez, and political intrigue and upheaval in the Vampire Court. It's a lot to squeeze into a single novel, but Jim Butcher weaves it together with a deft hand, making it a cohesive story with multiple solid branches.
Detective Karrin "Murph" Murphy is here again, but she doesn't play as important of a role as she has previously, which is fine. I enjoy Murph as a character, but her taking a backseat allowed for the introduction of Michael, who is a welcome addition to the stable of characters. Michael is a Christian Knight, wielding one of three swords bestowed with Holy power to vanquish evil. His beliefs are often at odds with Harry's but the two make a great team, kind of like a magical odd couple. And, as always, Bob the Skull is a pleasure to behold.
There is a standout scene in the novel where Harry and Michael attend a vampire masquerade ball. It lasts for multiple chapters and was simply outstanding, and I'm wishing that the SyFy Channel would bring back The Dresden Files as a series of TV movies so that I could see it play out on screen.
This is far and away the best novel in the series so far, and after the disappointment of Fool Moon, I'm glad to see that Butcher is out of the sophomore slump and back in the saddle. The end of Grave Peril should have definite repercussions in the series, so I'm looking forward to moving on to book four.