REVIEW by Beth: Death Masks (Harry Dresden #5) by Jim Butcher (@longshotauthor, @BunnyBethA)

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But now he’s getting more than he bargained for: A duel with the Red Court of Vampires’ champion, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards …Professional hit men using Harry for target practice …The missing Shroud of Turin …A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified …Not to mention the return of Harry’s ex-girlfriend Susan, who’s still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature. And who seems to have a new man in her life. Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you’re charging. 

Death Masks is book five in the Harry Dresden series, and it’s a corker.

This is an audio book, narrated by actor James Marsters (vampire Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

In the good old days (when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was an ongoing television series), I never missed an episode, and one reason was Spike. My Mom was alive then, in her seventies, and she thought Spike (actor James Marsters) was hot. And she was right! Marsters has an amazing voice–deep and rich, oozing with sex appeal and bad boy sarcasm. Buffy used to pound the crap out of Spike (when she wasn’t kissing him, that is).  I had to love Spike, even when I thought he acted like an asshole.

So James Marsters is a perfect choice to narrate The Dresden Files, because wizard Harry Dresden is a sarcastic, annoying, sexy, and really likable wizard. He pisses people off, especially the women closest to him, with his biases and his smart mouth. Dresden is a male chauvinist; he’s surrounded by women who take no prisoners (they kick booty, on a regular basis), and all he wants to do is protect them. But there’s more to Harry’s character than his desire to be the champion of the “weaker sex.”  Harry is a hero, a guy fighting the good fight against vampires, demons, and other evil entities. Harry can’t always pay his rent, but he steps up to the plate when it’s time to do battle. Harry Dresden is a wonderfully crafted character–a marvelous mixture of human frailties and strengths with a healthy dose of warrior boy thrown in.

Death Masks is an excellent edition to the Dresden series. Harry’s in mortal danger, because the Red Court has ordered his death. Harry’s love Susan is going through some major shit (she’s a half-vampire), and Harry’s once again putting his friend Michael Carpenter in danger (ensuring that Michael’s wife Charity continues to loathe Harry). Chicago police office Karrin Murphy does not have a lot of action in this story, which I found a trifle disappointing. But there’s one hilarious scene with White Court vampire Thomas Raith that I played over and over again as I sat on the commuter bus (people sitting close to me turned away, averting their eyes, as they heard me chuckling).

There’s lots of blood and gore in Death Masks, because the villains are evil, horrible creatures. The vampires are not vegetarians, and fallen angel Nicodemus is one disgusting piece of goods. Ugh. It’s the classic battle, once again, between good and evil. 

I won’t give away any more details, so I’m giving Death Masks the audiobook 5 stars, an amazing addition to my audiobook collection and a solid entry in the Harry Dresden series. 

And now I’m moving on to book six, Blood Rites, which I’ve decided will be my October audiobook, so I can continue to be enthralled by the voice of James Marsters.

Click here to purchase your Death Masks Kindle book!

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