I think this is one of the first of the Dresden Files books that really feels like a more traditional mystery. (Or at least my idea thereof; I don’t read much traditional mystery). Mysterious shadowy figures and murders abound and throughout it’s unclear exactly who/what is responsible. There are a few clues for the reader that Dresden otherwise misses, but for the most part, we learn about happenings as they happen.
One really cool scene: Dresden takes advantage of the fact that you can draw energy from the surrounding environment in order to power a spell. He proceed to shoot off a pillar of fire 2-3 feet wide and 20 stories high into the night sky. Can you imagine being a mortal living in Chicago and seeing that? The best part: He didn’t even need the fire. He just needed to freeze a chunk of Lake Michigan. Love it.
Another great part about this book in the continued characterization. We learn more about Mouse’s magical nature ( A real temple dog! ). We get another cool scene of Marcone saving the day (he’s really starting to make a habit about that). And we get a much better look at House Raith in general and Thomas in specific. For the most ‘human’ of the vampires, they’re still kind of terrifying when they want to be.
So far as larger world building, the stage doesn’t change overly much. There are more details about what exactly happened in Dresden’s past with He Who Walks Behind.Oh and that scene at the end with Lash. I really liked her. I liked seeing how Dresden dealt with the power he had and the power he could stand to gain. It was neat to see how just as she changed him, he changed her in turn. It will be interesting to see what fall out there will be from that (if any) in future books.