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It's almost required in urban fantasy series that you have werewolves. Big, small, aggressive or angsty -- its expected.

But Jim Butcher must win some kind of prize for jamming so many kinds of werewolf into a single novel. "Fool Moon," the second novel in the Dresden Files series, features four different breeds of werewolf, all of whom are potentially dangerous for our wizardly hero. It's a rather simple storyline, but Butcher manages to keep the story interesting.

After a woman tries to get some magical information from him, Harry is called in to consult on a series of mystery killings -- the victims were torn apart by an animal, and a canine paw print is the only clue. Smells like werewolf spirit. Unfortunately, investigating this crime brings him into contact with Gentleman Johnny Marcone's mob -- and even thrown in jail after Murphy goes postal on him.

But Harry has some unusual allies on his side in the search for the murderer -- gang of teenage werewolves and a mysterious wild woman who wants to save her fiancee. Unfortunately, Harry's quest to stop the murders brings him between a deadly cursed werewolf and a government conspiracy. And getting rid of this problem might not be so easy, even with werewolves on his side.

"Fool Moon" was only Jim Butcher's second novel, and it shows. It's a rather simple story compared to his later work -- one main plot, one kind of supernatural threat, presented in a straightforward fashion. But it's still a solid piece of urban fantasy, especially given the different colourful kinds of werewolf that Butcher introduces.

And he does a solid job mixing dark'n'rainy noir atmosphere with lots of magic spells and talismans, as well as a veiled conflict between the Mafia and the FBI. The story rolls along at a gradual pace, with Harry picking up clues and new allies along the way, before erupting into a dark, bloody conflict with some very nasty secret enemies.

Butcher's writing strikes a nice balance between stripped-down Chanderlian prose, with plenty of blood and violence and some gloriously creepy moments (such as Harry being cornered by the lyncanthrope biker gang). Yet there's also a pared-down beauty to scenes like Tera dancing nude in the street.

Harry's reputation is at something of a low in this book -- not only does a newspaper call him a "charlatan psychic," but he also gets in hot water with Murphy after a student of his gets killed. And Tera West makes an intriguing female lead -- although it's pretty obvious what she is, her love for MacFinn and her wild, deadly nature give her an unearthly edge.

"Fool Moon" still sees Jim Butcher growing into his urban fantasy series, but this adventure/horror/mystery story is a worthwhile little read. Especially for those who like their werewolves in a variety of flavours.
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If you take this as the popcorn fiction that it's intended to be, it's fast-paced, fairly well written and entertaining. If however you like your fantasy to have a little more depth, then you'll find the female characters frustratingly two-dimensional and find yourself wishing that Butcher took a little more time to write them to get rid of the clunky dialogue, exposition and plot signposting. It's cheeseburger fiction - you'll enjoy it but sometimes you wish you'd gone for something more substantial.
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on 1 February 2014
The second book in the Dresden Files follows Chicago's only wizard detective as he investigates some suspicious wolf-like attacks. Like the first book, the narrative is quite informal first-person, which I find takes a while to get used to compared to the more formal tone taken by most novels.

The plot is strong and builds tension throughout, although I often found my mind had wandered slightly and events had overtaken me - I had to turn back a page to get back on track. The narrative is enriched by occasional hints of things to come and backstory which is drop-fed without much explanation, teasing future books in the series.

I felt as I read though that I couldn't detect much in the way of direction to the story and was just going along for the ride rather than being guided through events. Other than Dresden himself, the characters are more bluntly mysterious than ever deep, and I found that sightly frustrating, though it may be designed as an artefact of seeing the world through the wizard's eyes.

Over all, I feel the same about this book as I did the first entry - I'm still not convinced that the series is going to keep my attention throughout, but I'm also not ready to abandon it by any means. I look forward to reading more and hope it starts to really grip me in the next book.
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on 6 February 2012
As a school librarian I really cherish a series that is adult enough to stop me feel like I never read for myself but fast enough pace that I don't feel I am reading an "adult" book.
The main characters are loveable, largely honorable and make me will them on - my equivalent of a soap. The magic is believable enough for major fantasy readers without getting too technical and wordy.
In short, lovely series, looking forward to the next one to come out! A good read.
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on 17 April 2004
From the book description I was expecting a cross between Philip Marlowe and Thraxas but Harry Dresden, the hero of this book, is a very powerful wizard who also happens to be a private detective in modern day Chicago.
Once I realised that he was not a bumbler I really enjoyed the story which revolves around some extremely unpleasant murders perpetrated by a variety of werewolves.
I look forward to reading more books in the series...
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on 29 July 2014
After reading the first book in the series based on several friends recommendations and really enjoying it, which was a surprise to me.

When I read the synopsis of this book and was promised werewolves, magic and generally a fun time, I couldn’t help but smile to myself, it definitely sounded like my kind of book. It did not disappoint. Harry Dresden is a really fun and interesting character, I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the story, how he gets himself into these situations is beyond me, but deep down, wizard or not, he has a heart of gold. I like that in a character, that makes me care about what happens and allows me to become invested in the story. Jim Butcher really know to write a good story and he does it so well. Jim does a fabulous job of keeping characters grounded even with all the magical aspects of the story, really it’s a book about people and what makes them tick and how far they are willing to go for the people they care about…or maybe I’m reading too much into it, either way, it was a fun book.

Overall I would highly recommend this book to others that enjoy a well written, fun story.
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on 14 November 2015
This is the second Harry Dresden book and it's just as good as the first. Harry's been out of work for a while, so is desperate for a case that will bring in some money. Then there's a murder. With strange paw prints at the scene. It's exactly the sort of case for Chicago's only wizard. Except there isn't just one werewolf in Chicago, there are several packs of them and Harry has to find who's responsible before he becomes their next victim.

Harry's a great character and his relationship with Karrin Murphy is brilliant, even if we do side with her on the whole chivalry/chauvinistic thing. She is a fantastic character in her own right and we like the fact she's short, rather than being a leggy blonde. At 5'1, we like to see shorter characters in books. It's not all about you average height people! The only character we haven't taken to yet is Susan Rodriguez. We may warm to her as the books go on, but at the moment, we just find her a tad irritating.

But we will definitely buy the rest of the series and can't wait to read the next one.
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on 5 November 2011
If Butcher was still finding his feet with his first book, with this second attempt he absolutely nails it. Harry's back, and this time he's got werewolf trouble.

Kudos to Butcher for working every possible variation on the werewolf into this story; it keeps you guessing as to the culprit, as well as making sure that the only cliches are the ones the author is skewering on purpose.

Harry continues to be a thoroughly engaging character, and this time around his relationships with the supporting cast (which gains a few new regulars) are explored more deeply.

Butcher really knows his way around a setpiece, as well; the sequence in the police station is among the best I've read in any genre. Harry doesn't just use magic, he uses it with wit and style.

This second installment really cements Jim's talent as a writer, and you can tell he's only going to get better with experience. Hopefully, there will be many more Dresden Files to come!
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on 3 May 2015
Fool Moon is the second book in the Harry Dresden series about a PI wizard in Chicago who consults with the police on supernatural cases. I thought the first book in the series was a wonderful hoot. Fool Moon, in contrast, felt flatter, more contrived, and relied too much on plot devices to drive the story forward. At several points, Harry makes some very poor decisions, and the judgement of his cop buddy, Karrin Murphy, spins like a compass in an electrical storm. There’s certainly plenty of action and tension, a couple of nice twists, and some good contextualisation about varieties of werewolves, but there was little sense of place, the characterisation somewhat one dimensional beyond Harry, the plot creaked at times, and the story lacked the humour of the first book. Overall, a reasonably solid second instalment that’s entertaining without being captivating.
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on 17 October 2011
Second book of the Dresden Files, I found it a very fine quality sequel to Storm Front. As the title might suggest, this one is all to do with werewolves and the different type they come in. Now, I'm not a big fan of werewolves, as they seem too mindless and weak most of the time. They don't seem to have anything to do with wolves at all. Yet, as I read this book, I was more and more in awe of Jim Butcher's work building. Half a dozen different forms of werewolf, with fascinating lore behind each one.

There was still something a little off about the characters, but it was easily forgivable, as the dialogue - internal and external - was very fun to read. I've yet to be really wowed by this series, but of what I've read, it's one of the strongest ones I've come across.

Characters: 8/10
Setting: 6/10
Plot: 7/10
Dialogue: 8/10
Overall: 7.5/10
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