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#99: Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

By Brian Prisco | Books | June 26, 2009 |

By Brian Prisco | Books | June 26, 2009 |

Aaaaaaaaggggh! I couldn’t wait any longer! With serious apologies to Fyodor Dosteofvsky, especially since I can never spell his fucking name right, I had to put aside Demons so that I could read the latest Harry Dresden. I’ve never been one to put off delights, and frankly this came out almost two months ago. It didn’t help matters that Lizzieborden’s been pushing me.

Butcher’s outstanding. Again, another amazing novel where he advances the entire mythos and series while still keeping a solid buttoned down story intact. And he’s got no easy task. He’s juggling about 17 flavors of supernatural, and in this one he basically says, “Throw me another flaming chainsaw, kid.” He’s doing magic, werewolves, vampires, faeries, angels and demons, with a cast of at least 12 solid characters, and he decides to center this novel around a skinwalker — so let’s add Native American folklore to the stack. I know, after the dreadful film Skinwalkers, I was nervous, but it fucking killed.

The book starts off with a motherfucking punch in the face. Morgan, Dresden’s archnemesis on the Wardens, who’s been waiting for him to screw up so he could decapitate him for crimes against wizardry, essentially shows up on his doorstep covered in blood asking for sanctuary from his own people. Essentially, Morgan’s been framed for the murder of one of the White Council, and Dresden’s gotta figure out what happened. In two days. Or Morgan, and quite possibly Harry, are dead meat.

What follows is almost boilerplate murder mystery, but it’s totally couched in the tension of the entire overarching supernatural civil war waiting to erupt. Butcher’s at the top of his game, and this was a sound and killer book this deep in the mythos. According to Butcher, he’s going into the deep twenties, and at this rate, he has established that he can pretty much go anywhere with this. It’s like a great television drama which you know can still run another three or four seasons easy. The only other book series that I feel has managed to stay as fresh is probably the Sookie Stackhouse stuff — even though I hate the living fuck out of the television series.

But this raises an interesting point. How do you make a television series based on a series that’s still in print and active? Does the television stuff start to influence the progression of the books? If the TV series craps out, does that mean the books will go the way of the buffalo as well? Thankfully, the terrible fucked-up series they made out of the Dresden Files is dead, and can possibly be revived later down the road. I’m more curious about something like “Dexter,” which diverges so strongly from Jeff Lindsay’s shitty books. Are they going to just go wherever they want and ignore the books? And even moreso with the Sookie Stackhouse books? For those of you who’ve read the novels deep in the series, do you see where this is quite possibly going to fuck junk up?

Regardless, Butcher’s still kicking ass, and Turn Coat was terrific. If you’ve been waiting to read this series, get the fuck on it. You’re missing out, kids.

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. For more of Brian’s reviews, check his blog, The Gospel According to Prisco.

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