Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 29-30

The_Dresden_Files_2007_Intertitle

Chapter 29

Harry Dresden is alone!

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.

crime_hoodie

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.

Chapter 30

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

What

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?

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8 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 29-30

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 31 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. Signatus

    If you think that was badly written, wait until you get to book 15 and read “The pain didn’t hurt…” XD.

    Anyways, cliffhangers at the end of each chapter are useless if the book is good enough to keep you going. One of the best books I’ve ever read was El Quijote from Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra. This is XVI century material here, and the book was utter brilliance. I didn’t keep going because of a cliffhanger, but because the story was so good it kept me hooked to the book until I finished.
    Among my favorite writers there is Jack London and Anna Sewell. Both writers were capable of creating magnificent stories, without using such cheap tricks. But there is more, Victor Hugo, Aldous Huxley, Tolstoy, García Márquez, they were capable of creating compelling, proffound stories. When the story is good, you don’t need to resort to cheap tricks.

    I do realize something funny happens with these sort of books. I do enjoy them, like I enjoy a burguer, I know it’s bad for my health but I can’t stop eating them. However, just like the burguer eventually fades, these books fade. I can remember Black Beauty scene by scene, yet all I remember about this book is a very concrete scene that will happen in the next few chapters. Now I’m reading book 15 and they are talking about events I don’t even remember happening. Guess they’re good for some lazy reading but at the end of the day, they don’t sink in like other books did.

    Reply
  3. Alice

    “We can just flip the page and find out what happens next so what’s the point of the big dramatic cliffhanger?”

    I think it’s to convince you to do just that – keep reading. I’ve seen a few writing guides and courses that tell you to put cliffhangers and hooks at the end of each chapter, so the reader feels compelled to go on. Make it a page turner. It’s kinda like the thing they do in tv series, where they’ll have a similar thing just before the advert break, and it’s meant to keep you watching and stop you from changing the channel. Like, “Oh no! How will our intrepid hero get out of this one? Stay tuned to find out!”.

    Of course it helps to be a good writer in order to pull it off. Otherwise it just comes across as cheesy and forced.

    Reply
  4. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

    Butcher chose Chicago because he was told that basing the stories in Kansas City, the closest major city to him, would make the books seem to similar to the Anita Blake series, so it’s all a bunch of publisher deception to trick the readership into not realizing how cookie cutter these books are.

    Reply
    1. Andrea Harris (@SpinsterAndCat)

      I was almost sure that he’d picked Chicago because the series Kolchak: The Night Stalker, which features a gruff rule-breaking reporter who fights magical creatures and is every nerdboy’s of a certain age’s favorite childhood tv show*, was set in that city. Well, maybe that drove his choice of not-Kansas-City. I’d’ve picked St. Louis myself: old history (lots of it French!), big river with lots of legends, Native American sites nearby to appropriate… Hmmm… should I start a money-making UF series of my own? No stealing my setting now! 😉

      *It was one of my favorites too.

      Reply
      1. Austin H. Williams

        Unfortunately, Laurell K. Hamilton already stole it from you.

        Don’t worry. There are still at least a half-dozen metropolitan areas in the U.S. that aren’t the setting for a UF series.

        Reply
      2. Straw Man

        Just a warning for future readers: Laurell K Hamilton is way worse than Butcher. I ran out and got the first Merry Gentry novel (from the library, thank goodness) and OMG is it horrible.

        Reply
  5. Pingback: Let’s Read The Dresden Files: Fool Moon ch. 27-28 | Doing In The Wizard

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