“Ghost Story”
The Dresden Files, Book 13
by Jim Butcher
read by John Glover
Produced by Penguin Audiobooks
Approx. 18 hours.

Whew! I just finished the latest novel in the Dresden Files series from Jim Butcher, and let me tell you I’m relieved.  In the last book, “Changes,” Harry Dresden died, worse yet, he was assassinated.  I, along with many other Dresden fans, were left hanging.  I mean, c’mon, it can’t end this way…Harry can’t die!  Okay, he’s not immortal, but really, it IS called the “DRESDEN Files.”  I had to wait about a whole year to find out what happened.  I know in comic books they sometimes bring back heroes from the dead, but I really didn’t know how Jim Butcher was going to get by with this one.  Sure he’s written a novel about Spider-Man and knows the tricks, but with the Wizard Harry Dresden, that’s not the same.

Finally I got to put the audiobook on and sit back and listen.  But wait, the publishers threw another curve at us fans.  Really it wasn’t the publisher’s fault but, Wow! it was a big problem.  James Marsters, who has become the voice of Harry Dresden in the audio books, was not available for the production.  If you don’t know, all these novels are told in first person, and Marsters made Dresden POP!  Marsters became Dresden and vice versa.  So who do we get now?  John Glover.  To give Glover some cred, he did portray Lionel Luther in the TV series of Smallville, and he knew the kind of superhero attitude that lives within Harry Dresden.  Okay, I’ll give him that.  I can’t say that he did a bad job of this, because he didn’t, in fact when voicing the other characters in the story, Glover shined, but it just wasn’t Marsters voice behind Harry.  It seemed more of an inconvenience but as the story progressed, Glover did a great job, I just have a thing for Marsters’ voice as Harry.  Had I never heard the Marsters version I would say Glover was awesome, but for right now Marsters is my favorite, just like Tom Baker is my favorite Doctor from the Doctor Who series.   Sure other actors do a great job, but I will always hold my favorite.  Maybe I can look back later and say Marsters was a great Harry Dresden and Glover was a great Harry Dresden’s Ghost.

We start out this story with Chicago’s resident wizard, Harry Dresden, contemplating his death.  He sees the light down the tunnel, but lo’ and behold, the light is a train.  Harry is ready to take this head on when he is whisked away from the tracks from Carmichael, a former Chicago Police Officer that specialized in paranormal type of crimes.  Harry saw Carmichael ripped to shreds by a loup garou years ago, so he knew he was still dead, the problem is what is going on.  Carmichael takes Harry to the police station in the “In Between” Chicago, where Harry is told that before he moves on he must find out who killed him.  If Harry doesn’t do this 3 people in Harry’s life will be hurt.

Harry had just recently found out he had a daughter and was assassinated just after he saved her by wiping out the entire race of Red Court Vampires.  This genocidal act was done by pulling some favors from some unsavory characters and created a void in the supernatural power struggle of the world.  When Harry is sent back to Chicago (as a ghost) 6 months have passed since his death and the world has changed reflecting that void trying to be filled.  His first stop is at the home of Morty the Ectomancer (one who can communicate with spirits).  He finds Morty’s home under attack by wraiths and being guarded by ghosts of Morty’s ancestors.

After a very cool battle Harry learns some of the secrets of being a ghost.  First off ghosts’ power comes from memories, and in order to fight one must expend that memory energy, but the cost is that with each expended memory the ghost loses a little of itself until it becomes a murderous wraith.  Harry’s magic as a wizard is no longer effective against the living and he becomes a beginner in relearning the magicks of the ghost world.

Harry then learns what has happened to his old friends, Karrin Murphy, a former Chicago cop who now fight against the supernatural threat with a team of werewolves, vikings (courtesy of the mob boss Gentleman John Marcone) and Waldo Butters, former coroner now the owner of Bob, the spirit form of a former wizard now the supernatural equivalent of the internet.  Occasionally they get the help of Harry’s former apprentice, Molly, who seems to have lost a bit of her mind in the battle against the Red Court and now goes by the name of “The Rag Lady.”

Helping his former friends now becomes a priority and Harry seems to have forgotten his task of solving his murder.  But leave it to Harry (via the great writing of Jim Butcher) to manage to work the two into the same task.    Throughout the story Harry gets hints as to who his murderer is but can’t seem to grasp the answer.  Here’s where I was a bit miffed, because I had it figured out at the first hint.  But through the twists and turns that make the Dresden Files stories so great we find out why Harry doesn’t get it.  (Thank you Jim Butcher for the awesome storytelling.)

Another thing that grabbed me at first was why wasn’t Harry’s Brother, Thomas, not involved? What Happened!?!?  But alas Butcher had that figured out as well.  Yep, this is one of those books that you have to get to the very end before it all soaks in.  Great Stuff.

But what happens next?  I think I’ve got it figured out, and yes it looks like Butcher will be releasing a new book in the series, “Cold Days,” so it looks like we’ll get more.  Again, I say, “Whew!”

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