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Blood Rites (The Dresden Files book 6) by Jim Butcher

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pub: ROC. 372 page paperback. Price: $ 6.99 (US), $ 9.99 (CAN). ISBN: 0-451-45987-3.

check out website: www.penguin.com
Roc

For a book that starts off with its hero dodging flaming supernatural monkey poo while rescuing sacred mystical puppies, 'Blood Rites' gets surprisingly emotional towards the end. Which is all good.

Harry Dresden (he of the flaming monkey poo) is Chicago's only professional wizard (obviously) and, even not having read the preceding 5 books in this series, it doesn't take much to be thoroughly entertained by number 6, 'Blood Rites'. A complicated friendship with a White Court vampire named Thomas leads him to a new assignment: working out who is trying to kill off the women in Arturo Genosa's life with a death curse. Arturo being a producer of, ahem, adult movies means that Harry has to be undercover on the set of his latest project, trying to work out whom Death is going to hit in some gloriously convoluted way - like being crushed by a whole frozen turkey falling from the sky. It's kind of like being in 'Final Destination', only with a lot more gratuitous nudity involved.

With a carefully constructed world, including every kind of supernatural beastie you can think of (and then some), there's always something around the corner to keep you entertained reading this. In the best tradition of this kind of book, it's very funny in the bargain, mainly thanks to Harry's sardonic narrative voice and the wonderfully absurd situations he manages to get into. Balancing that with the inevitable action scenes and the more emotional moments is hard to do and it's a credit to Jim Butcher's writing that he more than manages to pull it off.

The vampire element of the story/world-building is more complex than usual, which neatly manages to avoid most the usual clichés while drawing from several different sources. This time around, there are three different types of vampires, including Thomas' White Court incubus/succubi, who are quite separate and different to the Bram Stoker inspired Black Court corpses and different again to the shapeshifting Red Court. Naturally, the vampire Courts are fighting amongst themselves at the same time and equally naturally, Harry seems to get caught right in the middle of it every single time.

While this obviously seems to advance the series plot-wise - there's a fairly major familial revelation for Harry halfway through - you won't get entirely lost if you haven't read t

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