Book Review: Jim Butcher’s Turn Coat

Posted January 27, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jim Butcher’s Turn Coat

Turn Coat

urban fantasy that was published by ROC on April 7, 2009 and has 420 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Eleventh in The Dresden Files urban fantasy series revolving around a wizardly detective under magical siege in Chicago. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the The Dresden Files books on my website.

In 2009, Turn Coat was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy.

My Take

Whoooaaa… Never. In. A. Million. Years would I ever expect this scenario! Morgan? Asking Harry for help? Nope. Hell is freezing over and aliens are invading Heaven. You can tell what kind of man Harry is in the way he reacts to a bloodied Morgan pounding at his door. Talk about the shoe being on the other foot, getting to watch the karma coming to your enemies . . . ahhh . . . justice. It’s also a story about trust, and there are so many ways it goes wrong in this story. Harry is trusting Molly to not break her parole and get the two of them killed. The Council is trusting that there is no traitor. Morgan is trusting Harry to believe him.

And I hate this one. It’s so unfair, and it makes me cry every time I read it. Frickin’ power-hungry jerks . . .

The scary part is that Harry has come to understand the need for the quick rush to execution of warlocks, but he’s still passionate about justice. And I’m sure Molly is thanking God for that! It’s certainly curious what a good team Morgan and Molly can make. Binder certainly hated it, lol. Mouse is really getting a workout too, protecting everyone from each other. Oh man, I am rolling on the floor on this one . . . Although Morgan is ticking me off with his poking . . . argh . . .

It’s signature Butcher with all the snark, and more, you could want as he pokes fun at Clue; the rich; bad guys; Scooby Doo; his reaction to lust and desire, lol; Craigslist; Harry’s slash at Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; late-night infomercials; the vintage TV series Kung Fu; the recycling talents of the Wee Folk; sailors who are passionate about their boats; Star Trek; fairy tales; Star Wars; Disneyland; and, the lone gunman.

It also addresses one of Harry’s hot buttons: justice. Harry prefers that the guilty man be executed. Others prefer that the politically expedient choice be sacrificed, no matter who it is. It’s also a topic that Luccio addresses with Harry, providing reason after reason why his and his mother’s ideals won’t work. I hated it, and Luccio was right. Humanity is greedy, cruel, and even at our best, it’s too easy to go wrong for the right reasons.

Whoa, I never saw it. Not until Harry puts it all together, and it makes such sense. Every disaster from the start, with Storm Front, 1 . . . Didn’t see that one with Rashid or Injun Joe coming, either.

I don’t think I want to live in a world in which expedience is more important than truth . . . Where does that judgment stop? Who makes those decisions?

”The end is nigh.”

The Story

Harry Dresden has lived under suspicion of the White Council his entire life for killing a man. It’s only the last few years that his own Doom of Damocles has been lifted, but Morgan, the second-in-command of the Wardens, is just awaiting his moment to execute Harry.

Knowing Morgan, Dresden must find the real culprit, for the Council cannot lose its most accomplished combat commander.

The Characters

Harry “Hoss” Dresden is a wizard, a private detective, and a Warden of the White Council. Yep, they’re that desperate. The Blue Beetle is his multicolored bug car, old enough that it should survive the proximity of a wizard. Mister is his overly large cat while Mouse is his humongous Temple dog; both are good judges of character. Thomas Raith is Harry’s half-brother struggling to feed his White Court’s vampire soul through his job as a hair stylist. He also owns an old boat, the Water Beetle. Justine is Thomas’ lady love, a woman he can never touch again. She loves Thomas enough to stay with Lara as her personal aide and spy for Thomas. Margaret LaFey was Harry and Thomas’ mother and espoused the same code of justice Harry would like to see enacted. Molly Carpenter is Harry’s apprentice, Michael and Charity’s daughter, and on probation with her own Doom of Damocles. She’s got to learn control or she and Harry are dead.

The White Council of the Wizards
Based in Edinburgh, the White Council is the governing body for human supernaturals while the Wardens are their policing arm, enforcing the Seven Laws of Magic. They’re also their soldiers and defenders. Captain Anastasia Luccio is their commander. Donald Morgan was Harry’s “probation officer”, and he hates Harry. He’s also Luccio’s second-in-command, the Merlin’s right hand supporting him in all choices, and long in love with Luccio. There is a Senior Council that does the actual law passing, etc., and it’s led by the Merlin, Arthur Langtry, who probably hates Harry even more than Morgan; Aleron LaFortier is the most recent member; “Injun Joe” Listens-to-Wind has some unexpected talents; Martha Liberty; Ebenezar McCoy, who is also the Council’s Blackstaff; Ancient Mai; Rashid the Gatekeeper; and now, Gregori Cristos, LaFortier’s protégé and likely a part of the Black Council. Peabody is the Council secretary. The rank-and-file of the Wardens includes Simmons; Thorsen; and Chandler, a.k.a., Steed. Bill Meyers in Dallas is one of the Wardens who report to Harry. Carlos Ramirez is one of the young Wardens and commander of the western United States.

Harry’s core Chicago crew
Sergeant Karrin Murphy is still with Special Investigations (SI) and still Harry’s best friend; she’s a crack shot and a black belt in aikido. And she knows more about the supernatural world than any other cop in Chicago. Rawlins is still her partner. Waldo Butters is a medical examiner, banished to the worst morgue shifts for his stance on dead vampires. He’s also the polka king. Lieutenant John Stallings is still in charge at SI, a dead-end police division for cops who ran afoul of politics.

Toot-toot is one of the Wee Folk, a lesser faerie, and the leader of the Za-Lord’s Guard — that’s Harry. They call him the Pizza Lord because he provides them with pizzas every week. Hmmm, wonder if I can join? Oooh, Toot-toot’s getting a promotion — “Major General Toot-toot Minimus commanding the Za-Lord’s Elite”! Billy Borden — no, he’s Will now — is married to Georgia, and Andi and Kirby are part of their werewolf pack. Demonreach is the name Harry gives the island spirit during the sanctum invocation, a ceremony that will bind Harry to the spirit and allow him to know everything that happens on the island.

Vince Graver is a former cop from Joliet who quit to become a private detective. Well, “quit”, really. Evelyn Derek is with the law firm, Smith Cohen Mackleroy
The Vampires
Zero is a very exclusive nightclub operated by the House of Raith, the leader of the White Court of Vampires. Think extreme BDSM club, and you’ll have the right image. Lara is Thomas’ sister and the behind-the-scenes ruler of the White Court after a subtle coup in. Madeline is Thomas’ cousin, and as Thomas notes, “still undisciplined and blatant”. Two other “sisters” live in House Raith. Windfall Corporation is owned by House Raith and managed by Kevin Aramis, Lara’s man.

The Skinwalker, a Navajo boogeyman — naagloshii — is a supe no one wants to talk about, even in daylight. The men in grey suits are creations of the Nevernever and without free will. Binder, a.k.a., Ernest Armand Tinwhistle, is their master, a binder of things, who sells his services to the highest bidder.

The Paranet is a network Harry and Elaine founded after events in White Night to help lesser talented magic users and work as an early warning system for things going bump in the night. Warlocks are wizards who have gone bad. The Nevernever is a huge territory, an alternate plane of existence that contains Faerie and the Ways. Soulfire is the opposite of Hellfire, it creates, using your own life’s energy. A soulgaze causes two people to stare into each other’s eyes and see deep into the soul of the other. Intellectus is a “mode of existence for a very few rare and powerful supernatural beings — angels have it”; it allows “all reality to exist in one piece . . . see the entire picture”. Mordite is a mist that will turn anything it touches into a black dust, instantaneously.

The Cover & Title

The cover is a subdued metallic gold with Harry in his signature duster and fedora and holding his staff. He appears to be standing under an overpass and following two hooded figures through the city.

The title is the man Harry must find, the Turn Coat who is betraying them all. He’s got, at most, 60 hours. No pressure. What truly hurts is that the real assassin isn’t the only one who turns his coat.