Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Death Masks (The Dresden Files #5)

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

Death Masks, by Jim Butcher, is the fifth novel in the Dresden Files series. Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professionally-trained wizard, finds himself in a deep bind. It is the middle of winter, and he desperately needs money. The producer of the Larry Fowler Show is paying double Dresden's usual fee to appear live on the show. Strangely, the other guests on the show also want to meet Dresden. Mortimer Lindquist, a local psychic spiritualist, tells Harry that his former lover Susan is alive and lives in Latin America. Father Vincent, a Vatican priest, wants to hire Dresden to recover the stolen Shroud of Turin. São Paulo University professor Ortega, a Red Vampire Duke, wants to kill him to end the war between the White Council and the Red Court. Sometimes, Dresden just can't seem to catch a break among the madness in the Windy City.

Susan Rodriguez, who is still struggling with her semi-vampire powers, contacts Dresden. However, Murphy reports a headless corpse with plague-like symptoms that Dresden must see at the morgue. Before he can investigate, he is attacked by a Denarian, a fallen angel-turned-monster attached to a mortal host. Michael Carpenter and two other Knights of the Cross, Shiro and Sanya, rescue Dresden and ask him to drop his case. Instead, Dresden consults an oracle spirit: according to the prophecy, if Dresden is involved, he will die. If Dresden is not involved, all the Knights will die, as will everyone in the city of Chicago. With little to lose, Dresden faces the biggest test in his life. The question remains can he survive to tell it.

Death Masks was a riveting action story that almost gave me goosebumps. I wasn't sure if Dresden would make it alive in one piece in this case. He was marked for death by both vampires and ancient fallen angels. It took faith and courage for him to survive another day. Jim Butcher has used more darker imagery in his plots to highlight the dangers that await for Dresden. At the same time, I definitely look forward to more adventures and the secrets behind Dresden's past. Can he find a cure for Susan and defeat the Red Court vampires? Can he develop more self-confidence in his abilities as a professional wizard? More of all, can he protect his friends and loved ones now that a new evil has arrived in town? Only time will tell. Stay tuned for the next novel in the Dresden Files series, Blood Rites.

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