Harry Dresden, the only professional wizard in the Chicago phone book, has grudgingly taken up new responsibilities as a warden for the White Council. One of these new duties is to delve into rumors of black magic. In the course of fulfilling his duties, he takes the pierced and tattooed daughter of an old friend under his wing while investigating a number of strange and violent happenings at SplatterCon, a convention for fans of horror films. Harry inadvertently gets Molly, the friend's daughter, kidnapped by the Winter Court, and in the course of rescuing her, discovers the deep game he's gotten himself involved in.

Harry is an engaging protagonist with a wonderfully dry and sarcastic take on the fantastic events he witnesses and creates. Butcher has a wonderfully light touch with even the goriest of scenes and possesses a vivid imagination that allows him to build the most solid of fantasy worlds. (May, 416 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs