Harry Dresden is alone!
Wizards of my level of skill and strength (well, my usual levels) are few and far between-maybe no more than two dozen in the United States, with a slightly higher concentration of them in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Can we read about one of them instead?
Harry gets into view of Marcone’s gangster mansion, which is improbably huge.
You could have put a small golf course in Marcone’s backyard
Harry sure does seem to be stumbling onto a lot of huge, spacious estates in the middle of this densely populated city. Maybe I’m wrong, but that just seems unlikely. I’ve been told before that while writing the early Dresden books Butcher had never actually visited Chicago, which makes me wonder why he decided to use it as a setting.
Standing stately sentinel toward the center of the vale was a ring of evergreens
Written ridiculously wrongly was an awkwardly phrased sentence
And they say that crime doesn’t pay.
Actually, many forms of crime don’t pay well! For example, people involved with drug trafficking and distribution often make no more (or sometimes less) than minimum wage.
Billy comes tearing out of some trees in wuffle form, only to get immediately tranquilized by someone off-screen.
Denton comes ambling out of the trees and now he’s all swole and badass, which means his restraint is gone and he has become the predator or whatever. Turns out he also tranquilized all of the other weregoths and Tera. That strikes me as kind of unlikely unless they were just strolling out of the trees in a line but whatever, let’s go with it.
Harry is about to try and shoot all of the wereagents when Marcone arrives and PLOT TWIST it turns out he doesn’t know that Denton and the others are out to get him and seems to think they’re working together. Marcone dissuades the wereagents from killing the weregoths immediately on the grounds that it will make for a neater and more believable story if they just let MacFinn do it. I’m sure that won’t backfire later or anything.
Anyway the wereagents decide to start looking for Harry and Marcone just happens to point them to exactly where he’s hiding due to a hilarious coincidence.
Harry makes a run for it and the wereagents start to give chase, for some reason not activating their wuffle-belts. Harry hides, then lets them walk past and gets Denton at gunpoint. Instead of taking the belt and going Full Werewolf he tells Denton to get everyone back out into the light.
“Go ahead, bitch,” growled Harris. His big ears created little half-moon shadows of blackness on the sides of his head
Unfortunately the wereagents take this opportunity to start furiously bask-stabbing each other. It looks like Benn and what’s-his-face are going to murder each other and frankly it seems like it would be in Harry’s best interest to let them- they take each other out, he shoots the other guy (apparently there are four of them? I thought there were three) and then he’s already taken Denton’s belt so he’s no longer a threat.
Anyway this scene would work a lot better if the wereagents were actually fleshed out at all. This is where we really see the consequences of cramming too many characters and plot threads into he book.
That Marcone was out of sight did not mean that he was out of mind, either. Where was he?Crouched somewhere, aiming that rifle at me? I kept an eye out for bright red dots.
Yes, all long range rifles have laser sights. No that wouldn’t totally render them useless, why do you ask. I kind of assumed this was one of those things that had passed on to common knowledge, even if it’s only due to snarky assholes on the internet pointing it out.
The agents drop their guns and werebelts but then Denton launches a clever ruse:
“Yes,” Denton said. “Harris, Wilson. Step back to the trees and bring out what we left there.”
Denton explains (talking is a free action remember) that Harry can’t shoot at any of them because then he’d have to take his gun off Denton. The obvious solution to this would be to just shoot Denton and then shoot the other three before they can grab their weapons but whatever, I’m not the wizard here.
Denton and Harry have a little moral arguing while the other agents walk (apparently very slowly) to deploy Denton’s master plan. During this time Denton confirms what we pretty much already knew: he wanted to take Marcone out, things got out of hand and innocent people died, he destroyed MacFinn’s ring to lay the blame on him after learning about the White Council (wizard police). He mistakenly thought that Harry works for the council though, which is why he dragged him into it (in the first book we see that Harry is teetering on the brink of being executed by them).
Denton’s Clever Ruse turns out to be Murphy, who they apparently kidnapped earlier. Dammit book, just let Murphy be awesome! She’s too good for this shit.
“Kill me, Mr. Dresden,” Denton said quietly, “and Harris will cut the Lieutenant’s throat.
You really should have just shot him when you had the chance, Harry.
Harry tries to shot Benn, Denton uses FBI-fu to disable him and because this is the end of a chapter we get a stupid little smarmy one-liner.
‘And I’ll huff. And I’ll puff. And I’ll blow your house down.’ Good-bye, wizard.”
Death by nursery tale. Hell’s bells.
The way these are written it’s almost like they were intended to be serialized or something. We can just flip the page and find out what happens next so what’s the point of the big dramatic cliffhanger?