Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 12- 13


[Programming note: Dark Souls 2 comes out on Friday, and then I’m off college for a week. If I mysteriously vanish from the internet for roughly that amount of time you’ll know why]

Chapter 12

Harry Dresden is here to kick ass and take names!

Eight eighty-eight Ralston was a townhouse in the Gold Coast, the richest area of Chicago

If the address was six sixty-six I would have hurled myself through the nearest window. Also, photos of the actual Gold Coast show a lot of old stone townhouses crowded together with very little space for gardens or other greenery. I really don’t see why Butcher didn’t just make up a fictional city to set these books in.

The moon was riding high overhead, barely visible through the city’s haze of pollution.

I know big cities often have poor air quality, but is it actually this bad?

Harry encounters Carmicheal, Murphy’s second in command.

Carmichael was a skeptic, a doubter, and a razor-sharp cop

Once again: just show him some fucking magic.

He tells Harry to go inside while he distracts “the feds” from interfering. I’m not sure Butcher is actually aware of what the FBI do, because I’m pretty sure their mandate isn’t to drive around the country racing local law enforcement to crime scenes.

I turned to go and saw Murphy standing at the head of the stairs in a crisp grey business jacket and slacks, with sensible low heels and jewelry the color of steel.

233 terminator-vision


 Murphy’s earlobes were cute.

God shut the fuck up Harry.

She’d kill me, just for thinking it.

Yes, I wonder why this woman working in an extremely male-dominated field who is clearly trying hard to project a professional appearance to avoid societal stereotypes would have a problem with you viewing her like a child. IT’S SUCH A FUCKING MYSTERY.

Anyway, Harry follows Murphy and her cute earlobes into a fancy rich-guy apartment that smells like blood.

Blood has a sweet sort of metallic odor.

Yeah, we know. Thanks for the heads up, Harry.

In the center of the room were the remains of a greater circle of summoning

So remember Harry’s mysterious protege who was never mentioned in the first book for some reason? It turns out she’s been gruesomely murdered. That was her only function in the book- show up and get killed. Harry hasn’t even thought about her since the first chapter.

We get a stomach-churningly graphic description of Kim’s pulped throat and disemboweled torso, because it makes sense to have that in a book that also features a comedy skull named Bob. Of course this is just in there so Harry can have badly-written manpain.

Something went “click” in my head

Jim Butcher is such a great writer, you guys.

Murphy theorizes that Kim was trying to contain Harley McFinn inside the circle when he transformed and failed to do so, which is interesting since Murphy shouldn’t actually know what the circle is or what it does.

She also shows Harry a photo of McFinn standing next to the leader of the goth kids from earlier, so I guess the many threads of the plot are being woven together in beguiling ways. During all this time Murphy acts all weird and moody. Maybe she saw Harry staring at her earlobes.

She leads him to a spooky secret chamber with another, fancier magic circle that’s been deliberately disabled. So maybe McFinn’s circle was broken and he hired Kim to make him a new one? Still doesn’t explain why she was naked.

The circle, as it was, was nonfunctional and worthless-but whole, it would have served to contain Harley MacFinn when he shifted into his beast form.

Wait, up until like yesterday Harry didn’t think this sort of circle was even possible and didn’t know anything about werewolves, so how is he making these confident pronouncements/

It turns out that Murphy picked up the sketch of the circle that Harry made back in the wizard pub and that’s why she’s pissed at him because she thinks he’s involved in the killings. Then we get THE BEST SCENE IN THE BOOK as Murphy punches the shit out of him and he realizes what a colossal toolbox he’s been.

Kim was dead because I had refused to share my knowledge with her, because I hadn’t given her my help. I had been so secure in my knowledge and wisdom; withholding such secrets from her had been the action of a concerned and reasoned adult speaking to an overeager child

I’d be more inclined to take this serious if Harry hadn’t faced the exact same problem in the first book and apparently learned nothing from it.

“Harry,” she said, in a calm tone. “You lying bastard, ” and on the word she drove her fist into my stomach, hard, doubling me over. The motion put my head within easy reach, and her fist took me across the jaw in a right cross that sent me to the floor like a lump of wet pasta, stars dancing in my vision.


Although Murphy is actually angry because she thinks Harry was involved in this werewolf business and he lied to her, as opposed to all of the stuff he actually deserves to be blamed for.

But OH WELL let’s watch Harry get the shit beaten out of him some more.

She grabbed my hair, jerked my head back, and slammed me across the jaw again, near-berserk anger lending her strength. My head swam, and blackness closed over my vision for several seconds.

And then she arrests him!

This book is really starting to improve.

Chapter 13

At the start of this chapter Harry is utterly humiliated as Murphy perp-walks him past all of her colleagues. My emotional state upon reading this is represented by the following image:


Do they by any chance have the death penalty in Chicago? I’m usually firmly against it but I’m willing to make a special exception.

Denton is harassing Carmicheal at the front of the house, because as we’ve established in this setting the FBI exist solely to get in people’s way and different law enforcement organizations don’t cooperate at all.

I have felt low before in my life, have experienced events that left me broken and groveling and wishing I was dead. That was pretty much how I felt now, too

Excellent. Let’s celebrate. Who wants pizza?

(In the middle of all this rapturous celebration I can’t help but point out that the one time Harry is getting in trouble it’s not actually for something he did wrong- he’s morally culpable for Kim’s death, but that’s not why Murphy is arresting him)

While he’s sitting in the back of a police car he suddenly realizes that McFinn couldn’t have been responsible for the earlier deaths because he was cursed (by saint Paddy, remember) to become a wuffle at the full moon and the other killings took place the day before or after. So it’s looking like there are several different werewolves running around committing different murders, all of whom operate on different rules. This is probably going to get complicated.

Harry thinks he feels someone watching him, and realizes that Harley McFinn might still be wolfing it up somewhere nearby. Since they’re in a large, crowded city I think my first instinct would be to get the army out with plenty of silver bullets.

I broke out in a cold sweat and looked out the other window.

Directly into a pair of brilliant, feral, amber eyes.

Turns out it’s the woman who was leading the goth kids, and she’s here to rescue Harry (try not to be too crushed with disappointment).

“I am Harley MacFinn’s fiancée, Miss West,” she said. “I am called Tera.”

Tera West. Hold on to you hair people, we’re in anime country.

Tera wants Harry to stop her rampaging lawfully wedded werewolf. It was her who attacked Harry in the department store, although I had been more or less assuming this was the case so I’m not sure why it’s supposed to come as a surprise.

I studied her face. She had clean, striking features, exceptional more than attractive.

Now is not the fucking time Harry.

After a bit of pointless back and forth Tera asks Harry to try and contain McFinn in a circle like Kim was trying to do.

“She who was called Kim Delaney said the same thing,” Tera West said

Why the fuck is she talking like that?

Someone shouted in surprise, somewhere behind me. Then there was a cry of “Stop!”

I just stood and ran, as fast as I could, to get out of the lights and the line of sight of any possible shooters.

Apparently, the one shout was all the warning I was going to get. Gunfire erupted behind me as I ran.

I’m fairly certain the police aren’t actually allowed to shoot people in the back just for running away. Harry gets hit in the shoulder, which as we all know is made out of an invincible self-healing substance and he’s therefore fine. He and Tera manage to lose the cops in the apparently enormous garden (I’m starting to see why Butcher had to bend Chicago’s spatial dimensions for this scene) and she lifts Harry over a fence since his shoulder is starting to hurt now (it didn’t before because of endorphins, which are also magical).

Tera is about to be cornered by the fuzz so Harry does some magic to make the blood that’s been oozing out of his bullet wound steam up and obscure their view. That’s kind of a cool visual, I guess.

There was a whisper of sound, a creak of wrought metal, and then a light thump as Tera West landed beside me, invisible in the fog though she was only a few feet away.

Can we get a book series about her instead? She seems cool.

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13 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 12- 13

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 14 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. Signatus

    No, pollution is not THAT bad. I mean, when I have to go down to the city (around 4-5 million inhabitants), in clear days you can see a sort of brownish pollution cap lingering right over the city (which is pretty depressing). Once inside, tho, the sky is as blue as everywhere else, and the moon shines just as bright. There are way less stars than, say, when I go up the mountain (which isn’t too far), but that’s mostly due to the fact that light pollution is a real thing.

  3. halikon

    “The moon was riding high overhead, barely visible through the city’s haze of pollution.”

    Only for “big cities” in China. And Seoul actually, because they’re downwind from China.

  4. Austin H. Williams

    I know big cities often have poor air quality, but is it actually this bad?

    Not since engines started getting built for mileage and the EPA put a lockdown on lead in fuels, no. Not at all.

    1. Reveen

      Hey, maybe all the ambient magic in the air is doing something to all the catalytic converters or something? And in talking about those things that I have only a vague understanding of I have put more though into this than Butcher did.

      Actually, that would make Harry’s whinging about the “religion of science” kinda bullshit (or moreso) huh?

  5. braak

    “I’m fairly certain the police aren’t actually allowed to shoot people in the back just for running away.”

    No, no, they can. It’s fine.

      1. braak

        Hey, man, I am not saying it happens regularly, or that there isn’t institutional violence that disproportionately affects minorities and is motived by both personal and systemic racism.

        I am saying that here in America, no cop is losing his job for shooting a guy criminal in the back if he’s running away fleeing the scene.

    1. Straw Man

      Sounds a bit cynical. The actual law (Tennessee v Gardner) is that a fleeing suspect CAN be shot IF the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a “significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

      So if the cops saw the hideous corpse, and believed that Harry was arrested for killing her, and could articulate why they believed he was going to kill again, they might get away with shooting at him.

  6. Seth Ellis

    Hi, I’ve been sporadically enjoying these Let’s Reads. I’m not sure why this is the day I feel motivated to comment, but here I am.

    I know a bit about Chicago, and Butcher’s version is locally famous for being off, even further off than a New York crime show filmed in Toronto. He knows some place names, but that’s about it. Here’s a complaint about it; here’s another, less indignant one.

    The Gold Coast does have gardens, and indeed there’s a garden tour, but they’re largely pocket spaces cleverly tucked around townhouses. A chase scene in one would amount to dodging around the flower arrangement.

    I gave up after two chapters of this book, the only Dresden book I tried; I’m glad to know I didn’t miss anything.

    I don’t know about Chicago, but if was Florida or Texas I could buy it.

    Not white guys you can’t. If Dresden were black in Chicago, sure.

  7. Reveen

    Okay, first off. Earlobes?! Bad touch, bad touch!

    Also, photos of the actual Gold Coast show a lot of old stone townhouses crowded together with very little space for gardens or other greenery.

    I don’t know, that reminds me of the Annex in Toronto and that’s a pretty affluent area. Hell, Gold Coast looks a lot less dumpy than the annex does.It looks like there’s a lot of condos there too.

    I’m fairly certain the police aren’t actually allowed to shoot people in the back just for running away.

    I don’t know about Chicago, but if was Florida or Texas I could buy it.

  8. Pingback: Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 10 – 11 | Doing In The Wizard

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