Last time: Some things happened!
This time: I don’t know!
Harry tells Michael that they lost four hours of daylight to the whole Micky Malone thing and they need to find Lydia pronto, which will be easier since Murphy arranged to have Harry’s mid-life-crisis-mobile returned to him.
“Harry,” he said, disappointed. “She broke the law to get you your car back?”
I wonder if “Ned Flanders with a sword” is going to be this guy’s only personality trait.
Harry is going to go talk to Bob the talking comedy skull, but we’re mercifully spared from this by the phone ringing. It’s Susan! Again. It seems like we’ve just been getting a lot of Harry talking to the same two people over and over.
She brings up a demon summoner that Harry and Michael apparently took down between book 2 and this one with the awesome name of Leonid Kravos. There’s no way this dude isn’t at least seven feet tall and totally ripped. Susan won’t tell Harry what she needs the guy’s name for, which doesn’t bode well as women who do things in these books tend to end up dead (don’t worry she totally doesn’t get sacrificed in an aztec temple or something stupid like that).
Unfortunately we haven’t escaped the adventures of Bob the talking comedy skull, as Harry meanders down to his lair after talking to Susan. If you can’t remember, Bob’s whole thins is that he’s a giant pervert who talks about sex constantly. This is supposed to be hilarious. It isn’t.
Bob tries to goad Harry into letting him “ride along” next time Susan comes over, but Harry busts out some backstory that I don’t think we’ve seen before to placate him.
“No, no, no,” the skull muttered. “That’s all right.”
“I mean, there’s still that misunderstanding with the Winter Queen, but-“
“All right, I said.”
“You probably don’t need my protection anymore. I’m sure she’d be willing to sit down and work things out, rather than putting you in torment for the next few hundred-“
I’m assuming the Winter Queen is a fairy and the head of the Winter Court, if fairies in Dresden-world are split into Winter and Summer courts (aka Seelie and Unseelie), as is sometimes the custom when writing about fairies.
So hey fun fact, I wrote a first draft of a story involving fairies (it wasn’t very good) that split them into Courts based on the four seasons; at the time I had absolutely no idea that this is a fairly common trope, at last as far as summer and winter go, and thought I was being completely original. I only discovered the contrary when I looked at the Dresden Files wiki, then realizes that Butcher was drawing on established conventions.
Trust me, wizards don’t wear robes for the dramatic effect. They just can’t get warm enough in their labs. I knew some guys in Europe who still operated out of stone towers.
I believe Harry has previously mentioned that any sort of heating system more advanced than a fireplace will trigger his wizard anti-technology field. Why not indoor plumbing then, or windows, or lightbulbs?
Harry describes the behaviour of the Nightmare and Bob gets cagey, insisting that Harry would leave the situation alone and get out of town until shit stops popping off. Harry’s solution to this is to start repeating things about ghosts that Bob already knows.
“Ghosts,” I said. “Ghosts are beings that live in the spirit world. They’re impressions left by a personality at the moment of death.
NEXT I WILL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT DONUTS
Harry manages to semi-trick Bob into sharing his theory, namely that someone or something is provoking spirits with the magic barbed wire into causing enough disturbances in the veil between the living and the dead to allow the Nightmare through.
“Stirring up the Nevernever,” I said thoughtfully. “But who would do that? And why?”
“You got me. Big mystery. We’ll never know. Time for a beer.”
Bob is actually significantly toned down since last time, which is good because the comedy banter between him and Harry was fucking painful to read.
Bob eventually agrees to tell Harry what he knows, but gives an o m n i o u s w a r n i n g that if Harry doesn’t watch his back he’ll be dead before sunrise. And we certainly wouldn’t want that.
Blah blah blah more banter and theorizing.
Maybe a god someone’s dug up. Hecate, Kali, or one of the Old Ones.”
Well hey there goes monotheism. Someone should tell Michael.
Harry rejects the idea that it’s a God since there are apparently people all over the world watching out for that sort of thing, which means it’s likely a spirit managing to do things it shouldn’t within the established spirit rules.
Either way, I think Lydia knows more than she’s admitting.”
“Gee, a woman taking advantage of Captain Chivalry. What are the odds.”
Yeah, that’s the problem with Harry’s “chivalry”. Women taking advantage of him.
Harry is still suspicious that Lydia is working with the Nightmare, so he tells Bob to fly off and locate the talisman that Harry gave her.
“Take Mister,” I said. “He doesn’t mind you riding around. And he could use the exercise.
MISTER TO THE RESCUE
I scowled at Mister and Bob, shrugging into my duster, gathering up my blasting rod and my exorcism bag, an old black doctor’s case full of stuff. “Come on, guys,” I said.
“We’re on the trail. We have the advantage. What could possibly go wrong?”
Did anyone else ever play this really terrible Sega Master System game called Bubsy? At the start of every level he’d say “what could possibly go wrong?” in terrible 16-bit voice recording technology and now every time I read that phrase I automatically hear that playing in my head.
….But yeah! Harry Dresden! Getting more competent, which means instead of entertainingly bad it’s just kind of boring.