Fool Moon (The Dresden Files #2)

Fool Moon Book Cover Fool Moon
The Dresden Files
Jim Butcher
January 9, 2001

Harry Dresden--Wizard
Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn't been able to dredge up any kind of work--magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can't afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses--and the first two don't count...


Harry Dresden is back for his second adventure as Chicago’s top and only private investigator wizard. In my review of the first book, I mentioned a friend convinced me to give this series a shot. That same friend warned me that Fool Moon and book #3 do not hold up to Storm Front. But that the series does pick back up again if you stick with it for a bit. That being said, do not go into Fool Moon with the expectations set by Storm Front. If anything, be happy the series only skimmed shark-infested waters instead of jumping over those sharks this early on.

So, back to the modern-day pulp fiction at hand. Fool Moon was early in Jim Butcher’s career and that “budding author” writing style is apparent here. The characters are a bit 2D in this story, swaying towards being tropes instead of people. Some of them are almost insufferable, particularly Harry and Murphey’s currently strained relationship. The new bad guys were pretty staple villains, although Marcone pops up again and remains interesting. But while the characterization is a bit plain in that “developing talent” sense, other aspects of the story improve.

The mystery the plot revolves around is much more fleshed out in Fool Moon. This time around it is a murder mystery, with multiple suspects and twists and turns as more evidence is uncovered. And while Fool Moon can be read as a standalone story, an overarching plot starts to develop here. We start to learn a bit more about Harry’s past, including things Harry himself was unaware of. The epilogue also works on pushing the main plot forward; while a series of “adventure of the week” stories can work, the Dresden Files would probably not be as popular as it is if it had the same structure and pacing as a 90s sci-fi/fantasy TV show.

Another key thing here is this book showcasing just how powerful Harry is as a wizard. The first book mentions it but it is more explained than shown. This time around, we get a show-of-force example of how crazy powerful Harry can be when he needs to be. It is always fun to see the protagonist be a badass.

On the whole, this was a good book. Not great, but good. And if this level of quality qualifies as a “bad” book in the Dresden Files series, the great ones should be pretty phenomenal.

May 12, 2019

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