Skin Game by Jim Butcher
Oh, it has taken so long to get to this book. Number 15 in a series! And I read the whole series before I started this one. But I am glad I waited. Although this book would read comfortably as a stand-alone, it was more fun to read with the backstory fresh in my memory.
Harry Dresden is in trouble. His apprentice has been taken by the Winter Court, he is under the control of Mab and all the evil spirits controlled by Demonreach are waking up and becoming active. He has plenty to do trying to hold his world together, but Mab demands that he gets involved in a vault heist to steal the Holy Grail from Hades. How to ruin a perfectly good day. Unfortunately, a refusal is a death sentence, so as usual Harry tries to follow the letter of the contract without getting the city of Chicago wrecked in the process. And if he can somehow thwart the plans, so much the better.
Normally a long series of books deteriorate as they go. The author runs low on ideas, or simply milks the same plot one more time. Or in an effort to outdo the previous instalment, the stories become silly parodies of the early books. But Butcher is different. It’s as though he is growing to understand Harry and his team a little better in each book. Then the plot can be more complex, and the characters more complete. In Skin Game we have a heist novel, wrapped up in an urban fantasy with enough relationship drama to keep the reader coming back for more.
Skin Game well deserved it’s Hugo nomination and now I am ready for book 16. Bring it on!