Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

I love this series!  It seems like every book just gets better than the last – which is a pretty awesome accomplishment considering I enjoyed all the previous books in the first place.  How can they just keep getting better and better?  Well, I suppose it’s because we find out a little bit more about Harry during every adventure.  A little more about how he got where he is today and what motivates him, so that whilst every story is individual and self contained, they also follow on and link into one another – that just sounds total nonsense but if you’ve read this series you’ll know what I mean!  If you haven’t then – firstly, what are you waiting for? and secondly, get on with it!  This is a really entertaining series with some great characters.  If you’re not already aware Harry is a private detective working out of Chicago.  So far so normal.  However, he’s also a magician and he has fairly regular encounters with a range of unusual creatures ranging from demons to brownies.  He’s got a great sense of snarky humour, a soft spot for a damsel in distress and an ability to very quickly find himself in masses of trouble.

Blood Rites gets off to a fiery start with Harry rescuing a box of puppies from the clutches of some evil demon monkeys – demon monkeys who throw pooh!  In his escape he’s assisted by Thomas, one of the vampires from the White Court who we’ve met in previous instalments.  Thomas seems to show up unexpectedly on a number of occasions and this time he has a request for Harry.  It seems that somebody who he knows may have become the subject of an entropy curse and two unlucky people have already died as a result of getting in the way of this curse and Thomas wants Harry to intercede before its too late.  This involves going undercover a little bit and in this respect Harry poses as an assistant on a movie set.  The person he is assisting (or protecting) is called Arturo, the producer of pornographic movies who has recently broken away from the main studio to go it alone.  The plot quickly branches out from there with more than one thread being explored.

As you’ll know by this point we’ve been introduced to the White, Red and Black courts – all vampires, but all different in terms of their behaviour.  In this particular story the black court are still determined to make Harry pay for his past misdemeanours (at least in their eyes).  The Black Court vampires are particularly nasty!  The White Court on the other hand have always felt somewhat ‘softer’ somehow – that impression is set to change slightly in this story as we become familiar with some more of Thomas’s family and in particular the feared head of the family.  As we do so we get to see a different side of things altogether.

Straight away Harry is thrown in at the deep end.  He has the black court jumping out of dark corners at him at every opportunity and on top of this he’s trying to come to grips with the entropy curse and exactly what the motive is behind it.  He ropes in Murphy to help make discreet enquiries without drawing attention and then further needs her aid in helping to try and destroy a Black Vampires nest that has been established in the town.

Why did I really love this particular story.  Well, although it doesn’t appear to have any out and out wars in this one, more Harry trying to stay alive and solve a case whilst surviving no end of cuts, bumps and bruises, I really enjoyed the extra knowledge that comes with this story.  Thomas gains family in a most unexpected way.  He also finds out a few home truths about his mentor Ebenezer which don’t sit too easily with him.  We get an insight into Murphy and what takes place in her personal live – and OMG – her sister!!!  On top of this Bob obviously makes an appearance and Kincaid also reappears on the scene – and we get to see a different and darker side of him than previously, particularly when Harry uses his ‘sight’ to see what’s really there.

Harry’s adventures are always fast paced, rough and tumble.  There’s always plenty going on.  If you like dark urban fantasy with plenty of humour thrown in for light relief plus a mystery to be solved then you’ll love Harry.  Clearly Jim Butcher, has found in Harry, a character that is going to keep growing with every story thereby endearing him more to his readers and, as is proving to be the case, ensure his longevity.

I love this character and definitely recommend this series.