Death Masks by Jim Butcher

 

Paranormal MysteryParanormal

Death masks Death MasksJim Butcher; Roc 2003WorldCatHarry Dresden is a wizard in Chicago. It is hard using his magic in a world where most people don’t accept that magic, vampires, fairies, or supernatural powers exist. He reluctantly accepts to appear as a guest on the local Larry Fowler television talk show to debate the presence of magic in today’s world. Harry knows he causes interference problems on electronics, so reigns in his powers with a magic suppression spell.

Two of the other guests, both with the anti-magic stance, accepted to appear on the show just to talk with Harry. The first one, Ortega, is with the Red Vampire Court in South America. He challenges Harry to a duel. If Harry will duel with him, they can end the war between the sorcerers’ White Court and the vampires around the world, especially those of the Red Court. Since Harry was the catalyst that started the war, Ortega chooses Harry for a duel to end the war. Ortega is a vampire – and not to be trusted, not even in an arranged, monitored duel. Harry accepts anyway – there is that slim chance he could win.

The other guest is a Vatican priest. A priest in Chicago had recommended Harry to retrieve a stolen artifact that was smuggled to Chicago. The priest doesn’t believe in magic, but he trusts Father Forthill. When he describes the sacred symbol to Harry, Harry realizes they are discussing the Shroud of Turin. As Harry begins the search, he starts meeting some especially nasty demons, part of one of the most evil demonic groups. It seems they also are after the Shroud. Harry and the demons understand its magical powers even if the Vatican priest doesn’t.

Within 24 hours Harry has ruined a television studio, has a few assassination attempts on his life by both humans and demons, the love of his life who is a partial vampire shows up on his doorstep, and he meets two more Knights of the Cross.

I have enjoyed the Harry Dresden series. But they keep getting darker with each novel. There is too much going in this novel and Harry’s escape from multiple death possibilities is too improbable. Jim Butcher’s writing keeps me pulled in to Death Masks, but at times I had to put it down because it is too dark and the situations too improbable. Butcher has crossed the line from magical fantasy into magical horror. That won’t stop me from reading the next one, but I hope it doesn’t get any darker…

Notice: Non-graphic violence, Suggestive dialogue or situations

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