Proven Guilty (2006)

PG has all the elements of a typical Dresden novel. A simple case that is much more complex than it looks. Dresden getting whipped around until he can sort out the different factions hostile towards him. Friends in danger. Sometimes I wonder how Butcher can regularly whip out a novel that remains as goods as the last (pixies slaving away in a secret factory?). But as long as the Dresden books are such excellent reading material, I won’t complain. In PG it’s not exactly Harry’s life that is on the line, but his friend’s daughter. Phobophages, entities that feast on fear, are killing the guests on a local horror convention. And Michael’s daughter is amidst them.

If you ever had the responsibility for a kid, very young or older, you’ll know the fears that Dresden is facing in PG, and Butcher uses that very well to drive the tension. It’s this gut wrenching feeling we get when we think our children aren’t safe or in danger, something that you’ll really understand only when you get older. The instinct to protect the small ones is hardwired, makes us edgy and full of worries. One scene near the end of the book (the meeting with the other Wardens) was especially hard to read for me, exactly because Butcher played this so well and made me care. Great stuff.