The book is 34 chapters total, so we’re now past the halfway point. What do we know?
There’s multiple versions of werewolves in existence, and multiple ones currently around.
Someone is killing people as a wolf. The wolfsoulpeople didn’t do it, the cursewolf couldn’t have done it.
It would make total sense for it to be Tera if this was proper noir, but so far the closest we got to an actual femme fatale was Monica who was motivated by being a good mommy and was totally passive after asking Harry for help. Tera obviously isn’t trying to get her husband killed because she can turn into a giant people-eating wolf and do it herself any time she likes, and I don’t think this is a series that can handle the shades of grey in Tera doing something evil for the sake of love, especially when it’s been going out of its way to prevent her from killing anybody currently.
It would also make total sense for this to be some chessmaster gambit by Marcone, the guy’s evil and he knows magic but not too much, so he could easily set something off that’s more dangerous than he realizes, but Marcone is the best father figure ever so I assume he’s just an innocent victim.
With those two ruled out, I think you can resolve this using a little more outside information – so far we’re missing only one werewolf type, so they must be around too. All other werewolf types don’t fit the killings. Therefore, there’s spellwolves and, given we’re out of werewolves, they’re also the killers. But you’re really not supposed to solve detective stories by using the knowledge the author is a hack.
Now, where were we.
From out in the hallway, there came a scream that no human throat could have made, a sound of such fury and insane anger that it made my stomach roil and my guts shake. Gunfire erupted, not in a rattling series of individual detonations, but in a roar of furious thunder. Bullets shot through the wall, somewhere near me, and smashed out a couple of windows in the special investigations office.
Right! Harry’s in danger, but sadly everyone else is in more danger.Also he goes on to talk about how tired and hurt he is and as usual comes off as bragging rather than suffering. He explains that if he left he, like all wizards, is basically unbeatable on a rematch, but he’s so badass he’ll fight now.
I gripped the blasting rod and started sucking in all the power I could reach, scooping up my recent terror, reaching down into the giggling madness, scraping up all the courage I had left, and pouring it into the kettle with everything else. The power came rushing into me, purity of emotion, complex energies of will, and raw hardheadedness, all combining into a field, an aura of tingling, invisible energy that I could feel enveloping my skin. Shivers ran over me, overriding the pain of my injuries, the ecstasy of power gathering my sensations into its heady embrace. I was pumped. I was charged. I was more than human, and God help anyone who got in my way, because he would need it. I drew in a deep, steadying breath.
And then I simply turned to the wall, pointed my rod at it, and snarled, ” Fuego.”
So in other words, Harry has pretty much infinite power because not having power upsets him and he’s powered by feelings. But he’s still an underdog.
Power lanced out through the rod in a flood of scarlet light that charred a six-foot circle of wall into powder and ash and sent it flying. I stepped through it, wishing for my duster, for a second, just for the cool effect it would have.
This is immediately followed by Harry saying what’s in front of him is “hell”, down to the fact two people are currently trying to drag a third away to safety but I don’t think the rescuers had taken the time to note that the body they were dragging away from the combat had no head attached to it. so in conclusion the real tragedy is he would’ve looked SO COOL if he still had his jacket, god his life is so incredibly hard.
Then another guy gets ripped apart when he runs out of ammo. The others try to run.
The loup-garou came around the corner after them, hauling one of the men down and ripping its claws across his spine with a simple, savage motion that left the man quivering on the bloody tiles and hardly made the beast miss a step. It set its eyes on the next man, one of the plainclothes SI detectives, and hamstrung him with a slash of its jaws. The beast left him howling on the tiles
Harry doesn’t do anything until it after this, possibly because he was trying to think up a badass one-liner.
I stepped forward, between the fleeing men and the beast, and lifted the blasting rod. “I don’t think so, bub.”
Totally worth it!
Harry charges his punch like it’s DBZ and Murphy, who has no damn time for this bullshit, continues to actually be in the fight and shoots it more, so it runs away.
I spat a curse and ran down the hall after it. The hamstrung officer lay on the floor screaming, and the other man, the one who’d had his spine ripped out, was choking and twitching, unable to draw in a breath.
What, stop and help? They’re only scenery. He’s super mad on their behalf, that should be enough.
Anyway, Murphy can’t actually succeed so he sees the cursewolf jump her and he’s all noooooooooooooooooooo
Carmichael, who’s been gutted, isn’t Harry, so he manages to actually do something and jumps it, jamming his gun into its jaws.
Murphy slithered out from between the beast’s paws on her shoulder blades and buttocks, her cute little cheerleader’s face
How the fuck did this get published.
She finally manages to get her gun aimed at its brain, but it turns out she’s one bullet short.
Now that the only thing he gives half a fuck about in the building is in danger AND her non-Harry plan has failed, he’s finally ready to act. He orders her to get out of the way and then blasts it.
I saw the reflected image in the beast’s eyes brighten to nuclear-white in front of a tall, lean figure of black shadow, saw the flood of energy as big around as my hips rush down the hall like a lance of red lightning and hammer into the beast. Sound rushed along with it, a mountain’s roar that made the gunshots and screams of the evening seem like a child’s whispers in comparison.
The power lifted the loup-garou, hurtling it over the wounded figures moaning on the floor, down the hall, into holding, through the security door, through the cell door immediately across from it, then through the brick exterior wall of the building and out into the Chicago night. But it wasn’t over yet. The lance of power carried the loup-garou across the street, through the windows of the condemned building across from the station, and through a series of walls within, each one shattering with a redbrick roar. Before the red fire died away, I could see the far side of the building across the street, and the lights of the next block over through the hole the loup-garou had made.
Because clearly, their problem was that it hadn’t left the police building to go maul random civilians instead. Yes. Good job solving that, Harry.
If you didn’t think that was all so cool, it’s okay, the author will just tell you:
A slender young black man stood up from the floor of the cell the loup-garou had smashed through and gawked at the hole in the wall, then followed the destruction back down the hallway to where I stood. “Damn,” he said, and it had the same hushed tone to it as a holy word.
Thanks, slender young black guy. I suspect that the end of our diversity for the book.
Anyway, Harry then remembers he had some other plan, one he probably should’ve tried to do instead of posing and watching people die and charging his lasers. So he takes the stuffed dog, slathers it in cursewolf blood, then does a spell to bind it, as in literally tying stuff over its eyes. Harry’s all IT WAS SUCH EFFORT NOT TO JUST KILL HIM but KILLING WON’T HELP THE DEAD also no gaspy no-spine, I’m not gonna do anything to help you with your whole breathing problems, just die already so the final death toll is more dramatic, okay back to me.
(He also says the council might be mad but it’s okay if the guy isn’t currently human because monsters aren’t people.)
I bound up the ends of its fuzzy, cute little paws.
This is to prevent the clawing. For some reason hobbling the monster isn’t something Harry’s okay with, despite the fact he blinds it.
I walked past Carmichael’s corpse, stunned. Murphy was rocking back and forth over it, weeping, shaking, while a man tried to slide a blanket over her shoulders. She didn’t notice me.
And that’s what matters. It’s not like he could try to comfort her or help with any of the other wounded and dying people or anything really. And he certainly isn’t going to mourn with them, because Harry just feels empty and angry, probably because they weren’t really people but do represent his failure.
I stumbled past Murphy and Carmichael and turned to walk out of the building, dimly realizing that in the confusion I might actually have fair odds of making it back outside where Tera and Susan would be waiting in the car. No one tried to stop me.
In fact, he goes on to say some fireman helps him up the stairs and tries to get him to see a doctor.
Susan rushes over and Harry has something resembling real human emotions when he says that he wants to clutch her and babble about how horrible everything was, but he doesn’t because real men don’t cry and he’s so fucking noir so he just stumbles around in a daze for a bit. Then he passes out again.
Then Harry wakes up and it gets weird.
I don’t know what’s up with this. I’ve osmosed a whole bunch of things about the series and this seems to just come out of nowhere.
Harry’s in a black void with his double.
Only better groomed, dressed in a mantled duster of black leather, not the sturdy, if styleless canvas that I wore.
I know we all kind of forget due to the leather pants nonsense, but really, leather stands up to a lot. There’s a reason it’s been used for so long. It is sturdy as fuck.
Let’s consider its use in the fun sciences:
Leather, Canvas or Metal Mesh Gloves
Sturdy gloves made from metal mesh, leather or canvas provide protection against cuts and burns. Leather or canvas gloves also protect against sustained heat. Leather gloves protect against sparks, moderate heat, blows, chips and rough objects.
Note which is the last one standing there.
A canvas jacket absorbs water. The solution to this is wax, at which point you need to fear fire. Harry, in other words, either gets soaked through when it rains or has a good chance of turning into a fireball even in the rain.
Now, leather is heavy, which is a reasonable factor in Harry’s daily walk-filled life. It’s also pricy, but only new – my beloved black leather jacket (I can sit on anything I want in the rain!) was thirty bucks, which is probably half of what Harry blows on one wizard pub dinner.
Harry goes on to inform us that his double is also wearing black everything else and it’s tailor-made, rather than off-the-rack because Harry is very up on how fashion works, and then makes it clear he would totally fuck himself:
His eyes were set deep, overshadowed by severe brows, and glittering with dark intelligence. His hair was neatly cut, and the short beard he wore emphasized the long lines of his face, the high cheekbones, the straight slash of his mouth, and the angular strength of his jaw. He stood as tall as I, as long limbed as I, but carried with him infinitely more confidence, raw knowledge, and strength. A faint whiff of cologne drifted over to me
It’s a more seme him. First Morgan and now this. Why isn’t this all the fanfic instead of Mobster Dad?
His double explains he’s Harry’s subconscious. He’s basically all the good ideas but he says he’s bad at banter, because I guess that’s a thinky skill. Harry’s all fuck this shit and Non-Banter-Harry says he shouldn’t wake up because this is him having a breakdown. He needs time to process stuff, and apparently featureless void and not regular human brain processing is the solution. Then his double replays his memory of Murphy being all injured and stuff.
“Murph,” I said, quietly, and knelt down by the image. “Stars above. What have I done to you?” The image, the memory, didn’t hear me. She just wept silent, bitter tears.
My double knelt on the other side of the apparition. “Nothing, Harry,” he said. “What happened at the police station wasn’t your fault.”
“Like hell it wasn’t,” I snarled. “If I’d have been faster, gotten there sooner, or if I’d told her the truth from the beginning-”
“But you didn’t,” my double interjected. “And you had some pretty damned compelling reasons not to. Ease up on yourself, man. You can’t change the past.”
Jesus H Christ.
At least Non-Banter-Harry is willing to point out that, while obviously they can’t be blamed for this and are so very noble and great for even considering the possibility for a second, maybe try not being a compulsive liar and fucking explain things to her for once next time. He then suggests asking Murphy out. Then they think about sexy Susan, and without any sign that there’s a certain conflict there. Non-Banter points out that he doesn’t trust Rodriguez despite them both agreeing that she’s trustable and not just using him for fresh material, and they jump to the thing women.
girl of elegant height, perhaps eighteen or nineteen years of age-gawky and coltish, all long legs and arms, but with the promise of stunning beauty to add graceful curves to the lean lines of her body. She was dressed in a pair of my blue jeans, cut off at the tops of her muscled thighs, and my own T-shirt, tied off over her abdomen. A pentacle amulet, identical to my own, if less battered, lay over her heart, between the curves of her modest breasts. Her skin was pale, almost luminous, her hair a shade of brown-gold, like ripe wheat, her eyes a startling, storm-cloud grey in contrast. Her smile lit up her face, made her eyes dance with secret fires that still, even after all the years, made me draw in a sharp breath. Elaine. Beautiful, vital, and as poisonous as any snake.
Thus making it clear Harry finds pretty much anything female hot. He was totally into Monica’s battered MILF thing, so older women. He finds Rodriguez dressing deliberately sexy to be hot, and also Murphy deliberately not dressing to be hot. Now we’ve established he thinks of women just at the age of consent as sexy colts, establishing Harry’s type is women older, the same age, and younger than him, dressed hot or frumpy.
I turned my back on the image, deliberately-before I could see it change into the Elaine that I had last seen-naked, festooned in swirling paints that lent a savage aura to her skin. Her lips had been stained brilliant, wet red, curving around twisting, rolling phrases as she chanted in the midst of her circle, its sigils meant to focus pain and fury into tangible power that had been used to hold a foolish young man helpless while his mentor offered him one last chance to sip from a chalice of fresh, hot blood.
So was the mentor naked too? Because if that’s where you get power I’d think he would be, you know? Is that why Kim stripped down? Why doesn’t Harry ever do that?
Non-Banter then says she’s still totally alive, somehow. Woo, the non-character who exists only for Harry to emo over might not be dead, that’s totally a thing to be invested in. Harry starts screaming she totally is dead and apparently that’s what’s keeping him from moving on, because if he accepted she was still alive all his trust issues would vanish somehow I guess.
Which reminds me…” My double gestured, and Tera West appeared as I had seen her crouched behind the garbage bin at the rear of the gas station, naked, her body lean, feral, leaves and bits of bracken in her hair, her amber eyes gleaming with cold, alien intelligence. “Why in the hell are you trusting her?”
Okay so first off, he’s been bitching nonstop about how she’s totally evil and plotting to kill him, shut up.
Second, given that you’ve just said he can’t trust women because reasons, it’d actually make sense he’d be more okay with Tera because she’s not really a woman in the first place. If you believe all women are secretly hellbitches, then finding one who’s literally an alien monster might actually seem trustworthy in comparison. And this decision should be a subconscious one, so it makes no sense for Non-Banter to be bringing this up.
Non-Banter does point out they still don’t know what’s up with the college kids she was with, but that’s because you didn’t actually ask her.
They then walk through what little information Harry’s found despite his best efforts at not detectiving. He reminds us that it couldn’t have been MacFinn but could’ve been Tera, again, because the book thinks we have serious memory problems. Harry points out that actually, the result was “kinda not a wolf” so clearly Tera turning into a giant wolf can’t be it, despite the fact giant wolf should be enough for forensics to say it can’t be a real one.
“Werewolves are slightly different from real wolves,” my double said.
“How do you know that?” I demanded.
“I’m the intuition, remember?” my double said. “Think about it. If you were going to change yourself into a wolf, do you think you could hold that image in your head, perfectly exact? Do you think you could make all the millions of subtle, tiny changes in skeletal and muscular structure? Magic doesn’t just work-a mind has to direct it, shape it. Your emotions, your feelings toward wolves would color it, too, change the image and the shape. Ask Bob, next chance you get. I’m sure he’ll tell you I’m right.”
“Okay, okay,” I said. “I’ll buy that.
No and go fuck yourself, that’s not information you have any way of knowing and if it was supposed to be a piece of evidence you should’ve had Bob fucking say it at the time. Fucking learn to edit.
Non-Banter continues to point out the obvious that “multiple” tooth marks isn’t any big deal when they know MacFinn may have killed some of them and Tera’s group could have done biting too. He continues to hammer in that it’s Tera until regular Harry says that the group lacks a motive, except of course he doesn’t know the group so how the fuck could he know, then Harry says whatever Tera is nonhuman therefore lolrandumb motivation is fine, at which point Banter-Harry turns on a fucking dime and starts arguing that she’s totally in love with MacFinn and trying to save him, and the real killer is somebody else. I assume this is supposed to be some sort of Socratic dialogue but it’s just awful. He then adds that it’s totally possible the college kids did it on their own but his couple minutes of observation tell him that’s totally not true, and it’s not like last book was nothing but Harry’s couple minutes of observation being complete bullshit.
Non-Banter finishes up by saying Marcone’s gonna be mad at him and scared people do stupid things which is why him being a refrigerator tiger is so much less cool than a legitimate tiger soul. Also that wolfsoul guy, that one wants to kill him too.
And think. He knew the real deal between you and Marcone, and he’s a petty thug in Chicago. There’s probably a connection between them, and you’ve been too dumb to think of it.”
This would have been a great bit of foreshadowing if only we had the slightest evidence it wasn’t common knowledge among petty thugs. I mean, look, Marcone doesn’t just posture for the criminals not in his organization, he also has to project power to his rank and file or one of them’s going to decide they’d be better on top. Plus, given Harry messes around with criminals, Marcone probably wouldn’t want them to think he’s to blame for whatever bullshit Harry gets up to tomorrow. Better to have the underground word be that he strong-armed Harry into dealing with a thing, because he’s so powerful he can make even people who aren’t on his payroll dance to his tune if necessary.
Finally, Non-Banter is about to say a thing about their mom but Harry finally gets shaken awake in a car by Rodriguez, and Tera informs him they’re being followed, DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUN.
In conclusion, that’s not how subconsciouses work so I assume something’s hijacked Harry’s brain and knew he’d be dumb enough to fall for it. Possibly a demon, particularly since it came back to the mother thing.