GHOST STORY by Jim Butcher

As I’ve pointed out before in these webpages, I like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books. They’re fast, imaginative, funny and laconic: typical urban fantasy revved up by a whole world dreamed up by Butcher over the years, and lots of weirdly magical violence.
   Ghost Story picks up the tale after Harry Dresden was shot and supposedly killed at the end of the last book. Oh, right, we all think. No way can he be really dead, or there goes the franchise. So that’s one problem which no amount of obfuscating plot can cover up.
   And because Harry is now some sort of ghost, he’s got a whole lot of different physical laws to get to grips with, master, and of course eventually use for his own purposes. Given that he’s fighting a whole lot of different magical entities, a whole lot of explanation is needed… and I started to think uh-oh, there’s a lot of information being dumped here. When I started looking for it, it sort of climbed out of the pages at me.
   And another and. Unlike in most previous Dresden books, in this one I got the distinct impression that Butcher forced his hero into ever more unlikely situations, and then found – bingo – some hitherto unknown magical something to get him out of it. With one mighty spell…
   Oh, it’s fun. It rattles along and many of the one-liners are great. But at the end of the day it didn’t do for me what the earlier books did. If Ghost Story had been the first Butcher novel I’d picked up, instead of the last, then I might not have picked up any of the others.
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