White Night, by Jim Butcher
White Night is the ninth book in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. The series follows Harry Dresden, a modern-day wizard living in Chicago. In this book, Harry investigates a string of murders and missing persons where the victims are all magic practitioners. After meeting up with Elaine, who has come from California to help the organization most of the victims belonged to, Harry finds footage of some of the missing girls leaving with someone who looks an awful lot like Thomas…
Warning: Spoilers follow here.
Harry immediately goes to Thomas’s apartment to talk to him, but Thomas is gone and Harry has to improvise with what is possibly the best scene ever in a Dresden novel and pretend to be Thomas’s lover. While in the apartment, Harry notices a wall in one of the rooms completely covered in photos and notes of the missing girls. Evidence is not looking good for Thomas. After meeting the surviving women of the Ordo, the group that the missing women belonged to, Lasciel informs Harry that a veiled presence was at the meeting. This veiled presence turns out to be Elaine, who has been hired to help the Ordo. After discovering Elaine’s veil, the building is set on fire. Mouse starts barking to wake people up and everyone seems to escape the fire. Harry sees a gray-cloaked figure running away from the scene, and follows him until he gets into a car and drives away. Harry follows Gray Cloak using a spell and through eavesdropping finds out that not only is the real killer a Skavis vampire, Gray Cloak also works for Cowl – the mean villain who was supposed to die at the end of Dead Beat. Cowl finds out that Harry is listening and disrupts his spell. Harry deduces that the Skavis must have had an informant to give him info about the victims, and he automatically suspects Helen Beckitt, whom you may remember from the first novel. Helen is a member of the Ordo, and would still presumably be a bad guy, so Harry’s first thought is her. Helen convinces everyone that she isn’t a spy, and that’s when Harry is shown footage of one of the girls walking away with Thomas. Everyone heads to Thomas’s boat for answers. They find Thomas there, along with all of the missing people, who Thomas was protecting and smuggling to a safe place. Everyone is suddenly attacked by Madrigal, Thomas’s cousin, and a huge group of ghouls. Everyone cleanly escapes, except for Harry, who falls into the water and is knocked unconscious. After Harry comes to and everyone appears to be unharmed, he finds Anna, a girl from the Ordo, dead in a hotel bathroom – an apparent suicide. Helen is missing at this point. More research tells Murphy that one of the victims was a prostitute for the new Velvet Room, which is now owned by Marcone. Harry asks Marcone to let him speak to the Madam, and is given Helen Beckitt. It is revealed after their meeting with Helen that a girl from the Ordo named Priscilla is actually the Skavis, parading around as a girl, and that she is actually the killer. After a showdown at the hotel where the remaining members and the Skavis are staying, Elaine winds up in the hospital. Harry devises a plan to fight Madrigal and Gray Cloak, otherwise known as Vitto, and asks Ramirez to help him. Molly drives them to the Raith mansion where the fight will take place, and stays with Mouse in the car, waiting on further instructions. Harry and Ramirez are greeted by Lara Raith and led to the Deeps, the same place Thomas almost met his doom in Blood Rites. Madrigal and Vitto agree to a duel to the death and the battle begins, complete with several vampire onlookers. Harry takes Madrigal out, and is then accompanied by backup from Thomas, Murphy, Marcone, and lots of Marcone’s thugs. When it looks like Vitto is almost done for, he calls on Cowl, who opens a passage to the Nevernever, and unleashes an unending flock of ghouls. Vitto controls the ghouls and orders them to kill everyone present. While the ghouls are taking their time moving through the crowd of surprised vampires, Harry opens his own gate to the Nevernever and starts helping his posse through. Suddenly, Harry, Thomas, Lara, and Marcone are all hit with a psychic hold by Vitto, forbidding them to move. Lasciel appears, and after a long talk with Harry about finally accepting the coin, she helps Harry to not feel the effects of the hold anymore. He gets up and shoots Vitto’s right hand, severing it and effectively the spell. Once the spell is broken, Thomas grabs Marcone and they make it into the gate, just before Cowl forces the gate to start closing. Lara and Harry are left, against Vitto and Cowl, with Marcone’s explosives planted in the Deeps to go off in less than 20 seconds. Harry has Lara show him to the mouth of the tunnel, and asks her to kiss him. She does and the kiss gives him enough power to effectively hold up a shield as the explosives go off, shooting them out of the cave. They land safely in the mansion, where it is revealed that Lara was behind the killings as a way to get everyone’s mind off the White Court so her new leadership didn’t run the risk of being discovered. Harry demands reparations for the victims’ families and leaves. He meets up with Ramirez and Elaine at the hospital. Ramirez is recovering well and Elaine is checking out. Elaine agrees to give Harry details about each victim to distribute the reparations. Elaine tells Harry that some of the victims, like Anna, didn’t have dependents, and Harry offers to use that money toward a network that would aid newcomer practitioners and offer self-defense classes, mutual support, and a hotline for supernatural problems. Elaine happily agrees. Later that night, Harry notices that the sigil of Lasciel is gone from his hand. He shows this to Bob, who offers the explanation that she is gone. When Harry was under Vitto’s spell, Lasciel was able to choose the parts of the brain it affected, namely the parts where she lived in Harry’s brain. When the spell was disrupted for Harry, she technically killed herself. Harry finds peace with this, and calls Father Forthill to come retrieve the coin in his basement. The next day, Harry follows Thomas to a salon where Thomas is washing a woman’s hair and talking in a French accent. After being ambushed by Harry, Thomas confesses that he’s been attending cosmetology school and working as a night guard to pay for it. Afterward, he opened this salon and he feeds by doing women’s hair, which is an intimate act. He gets a little at a time, through each customer, and works all day – which amounts the usual session normally used for feeding. After finally knowing what Thomas has been up to, Harry just throws his head back and laughs.
This book took me the longest to read, and for no good reason. I just couldn’t get into it for a while. But now that I’m done and have the opportunity to read back over what happened, it’s so well-rounded. I really liked the inclusion of past events here – and Helen Beckitt? Didn’t see that coming! I thought it was so sweet how Lasciel put herself out there one more time for Harry before being set free. I am thrilled that Ramirez is getting closer in Harry’s inner circle, but I’m super curious as to who the traitor is. I hope it’s not Ramirez! I want Molly to get even better at magic now that she’s willing to listen to Harry and not defy him. I’m really-but-not-really surprised at what Thomas’s new job is. As I was reading that part, I thought for sure he was going to be a masseuse. That made more sense to me in terms of intimacy. But when he told Harry that doing the hair would help him to not lose control, I understood it better. Still don’t know who rammed Harry’s car in the last book. And there’s more questions left at the end of this one. I really want the war to be over. This was a good one, for sure.
For Next Time
Dark Passage (KK6), by Ridley Pearson
The five Kingdom Keepers and their core friends have uncovered a startling truth: Maleficent and the Overtakers (Disney villains) are plotting a catastrophic event that could have repercussions far beyond the world of Disney.
Aboard the Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural passage through the new Panama Canal, the Keepers and their holograms uncover a puzzle hidden within the pages of a stolen journal. The point of that puzzle will reveal itself in the caves of Aruba, the zip lines of Costa Rica, and the jungles of Mexico. A destructive force, dormant for decades, is about to be unleashed. The five Kingdom Keepers are to be its first victims.