The Dark Herald Recommends The Law
This one took me by surprise. At first, I just assumed that it was something from an anthology that Butcher’s publisher decided to run up on Amazon as a one off, but I called it wrong. This 99 page novella is Butcher finally dipping his toes in Indy waters.
This story takes place after Battleground and references it heavily. So, if you are planning to read it and haven’t yet, bail now.
The Law opens a month after the Battle of Chicago, which puts it a few months before Little Things and Christmas Presents.
Harry Dresden is still in a pretty bad place. Karen Murphy’s death (*I warned you*) is a raw and seeping wound to his heart.
Harry’s heart matches his city. Thousands were killed during the Last Titan’s attack, the fires have only just been put out and the cleanup has barely started. The aftermath is like 9-11 on steroids.
Harry himself has now moved into the castle that he rooked away from Chicago’s demon-infested crime lord, John Marcone. Will, the leader of the Alphas has moved in as well to help look after him and has effectively become his castellan. We run into Bob the Skull, who now runs the castle’s magical defenses. I’m not sure how he got there.
Bob passed into Waldo Butter’s care six books ago but apparently Harry has custody of him again. I think Butcher may have given up on trying to come up with valid reasons why Harry would be given access to Bob the Skull. I can understand why he wanted to separate the two of them but at the end of the day Harry without Bob just didn’t work. So they are back together again.
Harry’s daughter, Maggie isn’t in this story at all. Neither is Harry’s other “daughter” Bonita. Pity, I’m interested in the relationship Maggie has with disembodied sister. And no, Mouse isn’t in this book either.
Okay, that’s the background. Harry starts his day and runs over the day’s schedule with Will. He is negotiating his first date with this future wife, Lara the queen of the sex vampires. He’s not cool about his upcoming wedding but it is eleven months away, so getting out of it is currently on a back burner. Harry has always been a poor man until the end of Skin Game because Dresden has to meet the parameters of a gumshoe as laid down by Raymond Chandler. But now that he is rich, Harry immediately found a whole bunch of ways to hopelessly tie up his money, so he is effectively poor again.
One of the items on the to do list turns out to be a dame in trouble. Because “it always starts with a dame.”
This story is a rather welcome return of Harry Dresden the wizard private eye from the first eleven books. Jim Butcher has stated from the start that the Dresden Files would have a beginning, middle, and end. Past a certain point the private eye stuff was going to have to go on a shelf. But it is nice to have it taken off the shelf here.
The Dame had a shady past that she thought she’d put behind her. She has built up a business that helps poor kids. But now a guy with some ironclad paper on her has shown up after pulling a dime at Pontiac. The knucklehead is demanding she turn over everything she owns to him including the business. The paper is legit but if you just need help with the law you calls a lawyer but if you need a miracle, you call Harry Dresden.
The knucklehead in question is nothing by himself but his mouthpiece is somebody from Harry’s world. And Law is very important indeed once you have brought beings from the Never-Never into the equation.
Unsurprisingly, The Law is a well constructed and tightly crafted narrative. There are couple of new characters joining the Dresden Files in this story so it’s worth a read if you want to stay up to speed when he finishes the next book.
The audio version was a little surprising to me because Butcher read it himself. His primary reader for years has been James Marsters (Spike from Buffy). I was curious as to why Butcher was being his own reader, so I looked up the publisher, which was Imaginary Empire LLC. This is Butcher’s own LLC. Meaning, Jim is now moving into becoming a hybrid author. No surprise there. After Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter came in at $42 million, all of the trad pub authors who had been sneering at the self-published authors, suddenly figured out they were leaving money on the table by staying strictly trad pub.
The Law appears to be an Amazon exclusive. It is definitely an Audible exclusive. It is also on Kindle unlimited.
The Dark Herald Recommends With Enthusiasm