Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Salon - Turn Coat by Jim Butcher

Last Sunday, Jim Butcher's Turn Coat was #1 on the NYTimes Bestseller List. After reading the book, it's number one on my list for the year as well. No one does action, humor, suspense and sensuality as well as Jim Butcher in the Dresden Files. And, Turn Coat, the eleventh book in the series, is the best in the series. I hate the fact that I'll have to wait another year for the next book.

Butcher immediately drags the reader into his books, with an opening such as this. "The summer sun was busy broiling the asphalt from Chicago's streets, the agony in my head had kept me horizontal for half a day, and some idiot was pounding on my apartment door." When Harry Dresden opens the door, he finds one of the Wardens of the White Council bloodied, and begging for asylum. Unfortunately, Morgan has also been of Harry's enemies. As a wizard, Harry has often been on the outside of the White Council, fighting them just as hard as he fights for the innocent and defenseless. Morgan was the sword hanging over his head. Now, Morgan himself brings the fight to Harry's doorstep. If the White Council is hunting Morgan, accusing him of murder, Harry can be convicted of sheltering a killer.

I'm not going to give away much of the plot of Turn Coat. Morgan is suspected of turning on the White Council, killing a wizard. Harry is convinced the Warden would never do that, and he turns all of his resources toward finding the person behind the death. Along the way, he finds more enemies, including a powerful skinwalker. He also finds some unusual allies. Readers of earlier books will be pleased to see the return of Harry's apprentice, Molly; his friend on the police force, Karrin Murphy; his brother, Thomas; the dog, Mouse; and the werewolves. And, for humor, there is Toot-toot and the Wee Folk; the cat, Mister; and Bob, the skull. Harry does use, and abuse, the loyalty of his friends, and finds ways to get his enemies to help him as well.

The Dresden Files are filled with wonderful, brilliantly created characters. But, Harry himself, a lone wizard in Chicago, is the main attraction of this book. His friends reluctantly admire him. "People in hopeless situations come to you for help on a regular basis. And you help them. It's what you do." His enemies see him differently, as one of the vampires snarls at him. "You are a bad case of herpes, wizard. You're inconvenient, embarrassing, no real threat, and you simply will not go away."

So many other books could bring together werewolves, vampires, and wizards. But Butcher is a master at creating stories that compel readers to plunge with all belief suspended into Harry Dresden's world, where all these creatures walk the streets of Chicago, and find places to fight each other in dramatic fashion.

Turn Coat is a book for mystery readers who will appreciate the wizard detective. It's a book for fans of urban fantasy. In fact, if you like fast-paced, action novels with unique characters, try the Dresden Files. Turn Coat is just one of the best books I've read this year.

Jim Butcher's website is

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Turn Coat by Jim Butcher. ROC, ©2009. ISBN 9780451462565 (hardcover), 432p.


Scrap girl said...

I didn't realise that the Dresden files was actually also a series of books. How bad is that! I love the programme and now I will have to investigate the books. Lesa can you possibly tell me what the first one is?

Lesa said...

Oh, Scrap Girl! If you loved the TV series, the books are SO much better. Storm Front is the first book, followed by Fool Moon. I'm almost envious that you're going to be starting at the beginning and have eleven to read.

The books get more involved as the author introduces more characters who continue in the series. They're wonderful books.

Anonymous said...

I've got the first Dresden files book in my to be read stack... I sometimes have trouble with books read in first person pov (to narrow a focus for me to enjoy) but the premise is exactly the kind of thing I like!

Lesa said...

Well, Jen, if you ever get started, I predict you'll be hooked. And, the books just get better and better.

Anonymous said...

I have a good friend/bookseller that was just ecstatic to see Butcher's TURN COAT as the #1 best seller recently.

It seems Harry is getting more popular. :3

Belle said...

I haven't read any of the Dresden Files series - a wizard detective set in an urban fantasy? How did I ever miss this one? The whole series sounds lovely.

Lesa said...


I started reading the Dresden Files years ago when there were only a couple out, and I started a small cult following in my library at the time. I'm with your friend. I was so pleased to see it at number 1. Sorry it was knocked off this week by Mary Higgins Clark.

Lesa said...

The whole series is terrific, Belle. I'm one of those who always thinks of it as crime fiction because of the detective angle. But, I'll admit, urban fantasy is the best description.

Ruth @ Bookish Ruth said...

Okay, it's official, I give in, I said I wasn't going to start another new series this year, but I must make an exception for this one. This one has been calling to me for a long time, and your review just sealed the deal for me.

Lesa said...

And, if anyone read DorothyL today, Abbey gave an outstanding presentation as to the superiority of the books over the TV series. I hope you'll be happy with the series, Ruth. Abbey said her favorite book is the second, and she's rereading the series. I was caught by the first one, or I never would have gone farther. I love Harry Dresden.