Fans of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden, rejoice! Just in time for the holidays, Butcher and Dynamite comics, have published The Dresden Files: Ghoul Goblin, a new story featuring private investigator/wizard Harry Dresden.
I talked about the Dynamite adaptation of Butcher's Storm Front before. They did a great job, and followed it up with another adaptation—Book 2 of The Dresden Files: Fool Moon. Ghoul Goblin is a new, original story set between Fool Moon and book 3, Grave Peril.
Harry is hired to help a small town in Missouri where a family has recently lost two members, both under mysterious circumstances. Local law enforcement believes something supernatural is to blame, are willing to admit it and hire Harry to investigate. The Talbot family, Harry discovers, is cursed, and has been for a long time. Worse, creatures from the NeverNever are hunting the family, and only Harry has any hope of stopping them. But the more time he spends in Boone Mill, the more the mystery deepens.
Given that we are in between Dresden novels at the moment, Ghoul Goblin really hits the spot. Harry has a decent mystery to solve, and all the elements that get him going are present: innocents in danger, orphans, monsters, the blue beetle and even Bob makes an appearance. This is a nice bridge between Fool Moon and Grave Peril, and Harry is haunted by the events of former. He's also out of his normal element, Chicago, and as nice as Boone Hill, Mo., might be on a normal day, while Harry is there, things are as strange as they could possibly be.
If there is anything missing here for me, I'd have to say Harry's sense of humor is dialed down far too much. I kept waiting for one of Harry's trademark quips or smart ass remarks—and I’m still waiting. Also, with the change of venue, we also lose all of Harry's friends and the cast of background characters we've grown to know and love. Most poignant would be the lack of Karrin Murphy. The deputy-sheriff, Prescott Tremaine, tries to fill that role but is a poor substitute.
I suppose you could flip that on its head, though. By answering the call for help and heading to Boone Hill, Harry is on his own without a net. He still manages to find good people willing to support him as far as they can. They gravitate to him.
Harry is still one of my favorite characters. Ghoul Goblin is a nice addition to the Dresden Files that should sate any fan's appetite for something new while waiting for the next novel in the series. The volume is a 160-page hardcover book of glossy stock goodness that includes the original Adrian Syaf covers from the six-issue comic series, Butcher's summary/pitch for the series, a character sketchbook from artist Joseph Cooper, and all with a $24.99 price tag—perfect for the holiday gift-giving season.
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and 2013 Hugo Award Winner for Best Fanzine (Editor - SF Signal). He lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards, and the SF Signal podcast was nominated for a 2012 and a 2013 Hugo Award. In addition to his Kirkus posts, he writes for atfmb.com, SF Signal and Functional Nerds.