I’m going to keep this (relatively) short because I’m about 7 gajillion reviews behind, but this series just keeps getting better and better. There aren’t many series that I’ve read that up the ante like this as they go along. In fact, most start out really promising and then totally biff it along the way. The Dresden Files just keeps getting more interesting and exciting and emotionally complex. I think a lot of that might have something do with Butcher having started this series as a formulaic urban fantasy noir, but he’s taken it to another place in the decade plus since. It’s definitely not ‘epic fantasy’ but one might choose to use the phrase EPIC when describing it, if only because starting a new Dresden book lately makes me want to get on the floor and roll around and maybe squeal for a little bit.
Turn Coat is the culmination of the series-long feud between Harry and the Warden known as Donald Morgan, a hundred year old wizard who is also the de facto executioner for the White Council, and who’s had it out for Harry ever since he was sixteen years old. But this time, Morgan’s in trouble. He’s being framed for the murder of a member of the senior council, a murder which would also implicate him as a traitor, and he wants Harry’s help to find the real murderer. Why Harry? Because Morgan knows Harry has experience in being unjustly vilified, and also he would literally rather die than see an innocent man condemned. And yes, the irony in this situation is delicious, for Harry and for us as readers. On top of that whole situation, Harry is being chased by a scary-ass monster called a Skinwalker, and his involvement in the case threatens not only his own safety, but that of his friends and family.
I didn’t like this one as much as I liked Small Favor or as much as I’m liking Changes, but it’s pretty damn good. Morgan has always been a frustrating character for me, and he remained so for most of this book, but his arc wraps up nicely by the end. The flavor and intensity of the plot movement in this book hints that big stuff is coming, and Harry takes some pretty significant losses. The fact that these losses seem to largely be foreshadowing is a frightening thought. (And if some of them don’t get, um, fixed, I’m going to throw a shit fit.)
On to book twelve.