Death Masks begins in a setting that you wouldn’t normally picture Harry in, a Jerry Springer-esque talk show. It’s here that Harry is approached by Ortega, a noble vampire with an interesting proposition: a duel to the death. If Harry wins, the Red Court will consider Chicago a safe spot during the war, thereby protecting all of Harry’s loved ones. If he loses, he’ll be dead, something that will make a lot of vampires happy. Since Harry just can’t have one giant mess on his plate, things quickly become more complicated. A Vatican priest approaches him to find the missing Shroud of Turin, another task that will probably cost Harry his life. Then, Harry’s ex girlfriend Susan returns to Chicago with a new purpose in her life, and possibly a new guy. Like any of the Dresden Files, it’s obvious that Harry’s in way over his head from the first pages.
Although Death Masks doesn’t sparkle quite as much as Summer Knight, it’s still a strong addition to the Dresden Files. One of the things I enjoyed about this novel was the link between faith and magic. Paranormal books often focus on vampires, werewolves, faeries, and spell casters. Bringing in the church into the picture was original enough to make the book quite interesting. Michael, a Knight of the Cross we first saw in Grave Peril, is back along with the two other Knights, both who are very interesting characters in their own way. Susan was a welcome edition into the story, and of course Murphy was back as well. The pacing of this novel was quite suspenseful, and it was often very hard for me to put it down. The only drawback I could think of was a few noticeable typos. As someone that doesn’t normally notice this type of thing, I’m surprised they got past both Butcher and the proofreader.
Death Masks is a really fun ride, filled with great characters, and a distractingly suspenseful plot. Although Summer Knight is still my favorite in the series, I really enjoyed reading this one too.
Rating: Four and a half out of Five Stars
Similar Books: The Other Dresden Files Books. Kim Harrison's The Hollows Series (also stars a spell caster that can't stop getting into trouble).
Other books I've read by this author: Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight (my review)
Next I'm reading: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling.