After taking a bullet to the chest and left dead in Lake Michigan, fans of the Dresden Files could be excused for assuming that wizard Harry Dresden’s many adventures are over and they would be wrong. Harry is picked up by a version of an afterlife police force who inform him that due to some odd circumstances surrounding his death, he must return to Chicago and find his killer or killers. Failure is not an option as it would cause horrible pain and suffering to three people Harry cares about. Being dead presents serious obstacles, as Harry is unable to interact with the living without the assistance of an ectomancer.The world Harry returns to has changed in the six months since his murder. The destruction of the Red Court left a power vacuum that other supernatural forces are just itching to fill. As a result, all manner of creatures are at war with each other and humans. Harry quickly comes to realize that much of what is happening came about as a direct result of his previous actions and naturally seeks to make things right. Molly has sunk into madness, Murphy is struggling to lead a local alliance and the Fomor has risen. All this adds up to a very full plate for Harry and even if he should somehow complete his assignment there is no guarantee he will get to pass on quietly to an afterlife.
This is the thirteenth entry to the Dresden Files series and as such, there is an assumption that readers are familiar with most of the characters so this is not the place for newcomers to start. Butcher’s characteristic wit and snarky humor are in abundance which lightens what could have been a very dark tale. Brimming with angst over past misdeeds and mistakes, Harry’s character grapples with issues from his past while attempting to make a better future for those he cares about. This cathartic exercise is very well done but for fans looking for all the loose ends to be neatly tidied up, they are in for disappointment as there is still no clue what will happen to the majority of main characters.