This chapter, we’re introduced to Harry’s long-suffering sort of partner. Karrin Murphy is the police officer who has to deal with weird stuff, like mysterious killings and Harry.
Karrin and I are a study in contrasts. Where I am tall and lean, she’s short and stocky. Where I have dark hair and dark eyes, she’s got Shirley Temple blond locks and baby blues. Where my features are all lean and angular, with a hawkish nose and a sharp chin, hers are round and smooth, with the kind of cute nose you’d expect on a cheerleader.
Again with the random cheerleader thing. And while this at least avoids the issue of just making everyone around him supermodels, since at least she has “stocky” going for her, everything is otherwise very conventionally attractive.
she wore a long coat that covered her pantsuit. Murphy never wore dresses, though I suspected she’d have muscular, well-shaped legs, like a gymnast.
Gymnasts are thin little sticks of eating disorders. It’s far more likely a stocky muscular person would have thick legs, since that means more muscle. Also, keep never wearing dresses around this creep.
She was built for function, and had a pair of trophies in her office from aikido tournaments to prove it. Her hair was cut at shoulder length and whipped out wildly in the spring wind. She wasn’t wearing earrings, and her makeup was of sufficient quality and quantity that it was tough to tell she had on any at all.
And here we’re reminded that although looking like you’re wearing makeup is gross, you’d damn well better wear it. We’re told everything about her is practical and functional, but she still has to carefully put on makeup because wearing makeup is a function of women.
She looked more like a favorite aunt or a cheerful mother than a hard-bitten homicide detective.
And this is extremely odd, because she obviously does not look cheerful right now. We’re told she’s muscular and practical and wearing virtually unnoticeable makeup, therefore she doesn’t look like a detective, so it sounds like what he actually means is “she was a girl, so she looked like an aunt or a mother, because those are things girls are”.
She glanced at my eyes for a half second and then away, quickly. I had to give her credit. It was more than most people did. It wasn’t really dangerous unless you did it for several seconds, but I was used to anyone who knew I was a wizard making it a point not to glance at my face.
We’ll get the exact details on why soon, but it’s going to be terrible. There’s a lot of tension in this book due to the author couldn’t decide if he wanted to write a story where magic was known but most people had nothing to do with it or if no one knew about magic and most people couldn’t even be convinced. As it is, we get a lot of people not believing in wizards at all but also knowing not to make eye contact with him.
For some reason, she then complains about him wearing a duster jacket, despite those being practical and even more so for someone who has to walk a lot, because “It belongs on the set of El Dorado.” apparently, because she is a ninety year old man whose associations for long black leather jacket is “western” and not “Matrix”.
She snorted, an indelicate sound from so small a woman
And that’s going to be her character! We’re told that okay technically she is an empowered woman and shit, but she’s also a tiny blonde thing and everything she does that is not tiny blonde thing will lead to Harry talking about how omg how shocking this is. Now it’s time to get into the real misogyny of the books.
and spun on her heel to walk toward the hotel’s front doors.
I caught up and walked a little ahead of her.
She sped her pace. So did I. We raced one another toward the front door, with increasing speed, through the puddles left over from last night’s rain.
My legs were longer; I got there first. I opened the door for her and gallantly gestured for her to go in.
Haha, mild teasing. Nothing wrong here.
It was an old contest of ours.
Still looking good.
Maybe my values are outdated
And here we go.
but I come from an old school of thought. I think that men ought to treat women like something other than just shorter, weaker men with breasts.
As I said, the fact Murphy is theoretically a talented martial artist means nothing, because she’s a cute short woman. All women are weaker than all men.
And you know – if you actually are shorter and weaker than the person next to you, then there’s really nothing wrong with a person treating you like a person who is shorter and weaker. Tall people help short people reach things, strong people help weak people lift things, we’re all good. It’s not like the fact a person is shorter should have any impact on the person part.
Try and convict me if I’m a bad person for thinking so.
And this will be the book. He is so persecuted by the fact he insists on treating women “special” where “special” is “I told you to stop treating me this way, I don’t like it, stop it, why aren’t you listening to me, I said stop.”
I enjoy treating a woman like a lady, opening doors for her, paying for shared meals, giving flowers-all that sort of thing.
It irritates the hell out of Murphy, who had to fight and claw and play dirty with the hairiest men in Chicago to get as far as she has. She glared up at me while I stood there holding open the door
He enjoys behaving this way, even if – especially if – the “ladies” do not like being treated like this. But the fact they don’t appreciate what he does for his own enjoyment is proof that he’s unfairly persecuted by the world, because he’s being so nice to them.
but there was a reassurance about the glare, a relaxation. She took an odd sort of comfort in our ritual, annoying as she usually found it. How bad was it up on the seventh floor, anyway?
Elsewhere, someone actually claimed their relationship is always just friendly teasing that she’s okay with – despite the fact he’s specifying that this time is unique for her finding anything pleasant about it and it’s a sign of how fucked up what she just saw that she finds this bullshit comfortable just for being predictable, gore-free bullshit.
Although last chapter he said he was going to take the stairs down from his office because elevators stall around him and also he’s paranoid something invisible might attack given he’s the only wizard on payroll, now they ride an elevator up. I’m not sure his technology issues will ever meaningfully impact the plot.
I had a good sense of Murphy, an instinctual grasp for her moods and patterns of thought-something I develop whenever I’m around someone for any length of time. Whether it’s a natural talent or a supernatural one I don’t know.
My instincts told me that Murphy was tense, stretched as tight as piano wire. She kept it off her face, but there was something about the set of her shoulders and neck, the stiffness of her back, that made me aware of it.
Or maybe I was just projecting it onto her.
Supposedly, this book was written partly to fuck with the poor soul trying to run his writing class, and that makes it hard to interpret things sometimes. He already pointed out Murphy is acting weird earlier, so he knows she’s tensed and upset. What’s up with him now telling us all about how special noticing the obvious makes him, and then suddenly saying maybe none of it’s even true?
Blood smells a certain way, a kind of sticky, almost metallic odor
Why do people always say “almost metallic”? It’s the literal metal in the blood that’s giving it the “metallic” aspect.
I sliced up a heart and ate it recently and believe me, it didn’t taste almost anything. It tasted like flesh jammed full of iron.
(Also, if we’re talking about the dead bodies sort of blood, it should be noteworthy that somehow, there’s blood without all the other smells that usually go in hand with it, like the fact corpses shit themselves.)
past a couple of uniform cops, who recognized me and waved me past without asking to see the little laminated card the city had given me. Granted, even in a big-city department like Chicago P.D., they didn’t exactly call in a horde of consultants (I went down in the paperwork as a psychic consultant, I think), but still. Unprofessional of the boys in blue.
Speaking of literal things, Harry will literally complain about anything. If they’d asked for his ID, he’d have bitched that he only sees them every other week and he’s only being escorted in by a fellow police officer and how dare they not recognize him.
Anyway, the place is all thick rugs, rich velvet and expensive, expensive leather, because this is a high class sexy hooker death, not one of those less sexy motel ones.
A pair of black-satin panties, a tiny triangle with lace coming off the points, lay there, one strap snapped as though the thong had simply been torn off. Kinky.
Right, Grampa, torn underwear is the height of kink. You are truly hip to what the young people are doing today. Have some more wheat bran.
There’s an expensive stereo so he pokes it and it plays a bit before getting caught in a loop.
Like I said, I have this effect on machinery. It has something to do with being a wizard, with working with magical forces. The more delicate and modern the machine is, the more likely it is that something will go wrong if I get close enough to it. I can kill a copier at fifty paces.
I’m not sure why a stereo (1980s) playing a CD (1980s) is so much less delicate and modern than a copier (1960s). Regardless, we continue to not see this having any plot-significant effect. If the whole thing burst into flames, that’d have been interesting – it’d show his impact can be destructive generally, rather than its current level of poke thing and it may or may not work, and in this case, it’d be specifically fucking up part of the evidence, which would show why the police were ambivalent about having him around.
Another detective, Charmichael, shows up to not suck Harry’s dick, so he makes fun of the guy for missing the torn thong, despite it being totally possible the police did see it and just hadn’t touched it yet because brand new crime scene (we will later learn the people in charge of that are waiting outside for Harry to finish), but of course he’s impressed by Harry because yes, they totally missed that, wow Harry best detective.
He was short and overweight and balding, with beady, bloodshot eyes and a weak chin. His jacket was rumpled, and there were food stains on his tie, all of which served to conceal a razor intellect.
People have, honest to god, claimed Harry’s descriptions of women aren’t bad because he talks about men in the same way, and something something bisexual something precious queer baby. I sincerely hope this means the descriptions are completely different three books in and not that a killing spree is required.
They were on the bed; she was astride him, body leaned back, back bowed like a dancer’s, the curves of her breasts making a lovely outline. He stretched beneath her, a lean and powerfully built man, arms reaching out and grasping at the satin sheets, gathering them in his fists. Had it been an erotic photograph, it would have made a striking tableau.
Except that the lovers’ rib cages on the upper left side of their torsos had expanded outward, through their skin, the ribs jabbing out like ragged, snapped knives. Arterial blood had sprayed out of their bodies, all the way to the mirror on the ceiling, along with pulped, gelatinous masses of flesh that had to be what remained of their hearts. Standing over them, I could see into the upper cavity of the bodies, I noted the now greyish lining around the motionless left lungs and the edges of the ribs, which apparently were forced outward and snapped by some force within.
It definitely cut down on the erotic potential.
So, putting aside absolutely everything else for a moment – this raises the question of how the story is being told, because there’s vanishingly few situations it makes sense to lead with “let me tell you about her amazing boobies, also her heart was torn from her chest”. The only one I can come up with is that he’s telling this story to someone well after the fact and deliberately trying to shock them (as the author is obviously trying to be shocking to the reader) and even that still comes off as him being pretty disturbed. And the final line is really unneeded, plus saying it only “cut down” the erotic part leaves the uncomfortable sense he’s saying it’s still decent wank material, just not as hot as it could be if they weren’t mutilated corpses.
Everything else – they are corpses, there is no way they’d stay in position without wires. For that matter, while death would’ve been practically instantaneous, it wouldn’t have frozen them in place and they’d have flailed a bit if only from the death throes. And presumably whatever force has turned them into an exhibit also kept the shit in place.
Last chapter I said I didn’t buy that Murphy was having a freakout over this, and I stand by that. It’s bizarre, but it’s not exactly dismembered five year old here. It’s not even the particularly unpleasant organ cavity that’s been torn open, and it’s an (impossibly) instantaneous death as well. Harry also won’t remark on any expressions on their faces even while talking about the eye colors, so I don’t think they even look pained. It’s bloody, and it’s also probably weird as hell how the bodies stayed in position like this, but seriously, adults and not even any proper viscera.
But because this is supposed to be hardcore, it’s time for the delicate balance of the main character being super badass but also insanely grossed out to show the reader how super disturbing the author’s writing is. So he manages to examine the bodies, crack a joke, then snap under the pressure and run out to vomit his guts out. I read the earlier Anita Blake books and this honestly reads like a scene from there with some pronoun changes.
We then get what I actually think is some good worldbuilding:
And someone had used magic to do it. They had used magic to wreak harm on another, violating the First Law. The White Council was going to go into collective apoplexy. This hadn’t been the act of a malign spirit or a malicious entity, or the attack of one of the many creatures of the Nevernever, like vampires or trolls. This had been the premeditated, deliberate act of a sorcerer, a wizard, a human being able to tap into the fundamental energies of creation and life itself.
It was worse than murder. It was twisted, wretched perversion, as though someone had bludgeoned another person to death with a Botticelli, turned something of beauty to an act of utter destruction.
If you’ve never touched it, it’s hard to explain. Magic is created by life, and most of all by the awareness, intelligence, emotions of a human being. To end such a life with the same magic that was born from it was hideous, almost incestuous somehow.
The idea you can’t kill with magic is obviously a plot thing, but I quite like the idea that wizards are just irrationally squicked by the idea of using magic like this, because let’s face it, it makes no damn sense that it’s fine for magic creatures to kill people but wrong for humans using magic to kill people, plus if it’s just about respecting life as the source of magic there’d be a no-killing taboo in general. But as an irrational thing, it gives us a bit of wizards having a different perspective than regular humans and pushes the idea interacting with magic has more of a mystical, religious component than just being an extra tool.
The White Council is going to be Giant Plothole in a few seconds, by the way.
So anyway, time for more of Harry being super detective.
“All right, Harry,” Murphy said. “Let’s have it. What do you see happening here?”
I took a moment to collect my thoughts before answering. “They came in. They had some champagne. They danced for a while, made out, over there by the stereo. Then went into the bedroom. They were in there for less than an hour. It hit them when they were getting to the high point.”
“Less than an hour,” Carmichael said. “How do you figure?”
“CD was only an hour and ten long. Figure a few minutes for dancing and drinking, and then they’re in the room. Was the CD playing when they found them?”
“No,” Murphy said.
“Then it hadn’t been set on a loop. I figure they wanted music, just to make things perfect, given the room and all.”
This is the opposite of what I like about the no-killing-magic squick. Harry isn’t working as a private detective who by the way happens to have magic but as a wizard whose magic happens to give him a way to investigate that other people lack, yet the author gives him a full set of private detective abilities anyway, which he somehow perfected between learning to be the best magician around because he’s an enormous sue.
And if Harry couldn’t do exactly what a regular detective does but relied on divination and such, so he couldn’t immediately answer questions like this and in fact often totally missed obvious aspects of the crime scene, that might explain why guys like Carmichael didn’t think much of him. Here, he’s apparently on a level playing field/actually better at this than Carmichael, which should impress the guy rather than make him think Harry’s a fraud.
Anyway, he then starts running down the magic side of the case. He says evocation is the sort you usually do your explosions and fireballs with, but it requires line of sight, and he also points out that in that case you can just use a gun. For distance, though, thaumaturgy would work. Thaumaturgy is basically voodoo.
Now it’s time to confirm the misogyny is authorial and not simply Harry.
Whenever you do something with it, it comes from inside of you. Wizards have to focus on what they’re trying to do, visualize it, believe in it, to make it work. You can’t make something happen that isn’t a part of you, inside. The killer could have murdered them both and made it look like an accident, but she did it this way. To get it done this way, she would have had to want them dead for very personal reasons, to be willing to reach inside them like that. Revenge, maybe. Maybe you’re looking for a lover or a spouse.
“Also because of when they died-in the middle of sex. It wasn’t a coincidence.
Emotions are a kind of channel for magic, a path that can be used to get to you. She picked a time when they’d be together and be charged up with lust. She got samples to use as a focus, and she planned it out in advance. You don’t do that to strangers.”
“Crap,” Carmichael said, but this time it was more of an absentminded curse than anything directed at me.
Murphy glared at me. “You keep saying ‘she,’ ” she challenged me. “Why the hell do you think that?”
I gestured toward the room. “Because you can’t do something that bad without a whole lot of hate,” I said. “Women are better at hating than men. They can focus it better, let it go better. Hell, witches are just plain meaner than wizards. This feels like feminine vengeance of some kind to me.”
No, it doesn’t matter that the mastermind is a guy, because the plot ends up about how he could possibly be powering a spell like this.
(That isn’t really a spoiler. Act can probably explain better than I can, but noir will have people saying that obviously the killer is X where X is going to turn out to be totally different. You can always rule out whatever the first explanation is.)
What matters is that the way the setting itself works, because Harry is the one who’s supposed to know, is that women are inherently eviller than men. They hate more and they hate better.
Now, to confirm the author doesn’t understand what sexism is, just that it’s something women keep accusing him of:
“But a man could have done it,” Murphy said.
“Well,” I hedged.
“Christ, you are a chauvinist pig, Dresden. Is it something that only a woman could have done?”
“Well. No. I don’t think so.”
Murphy isn’t saying he’s a chauvinist for the incredibly sexist thing he actually just said. She’s just saying he’s a chauvinist for assuming it definitely was a woman when it’s only extremely likely rather than certain. The problem isn’t that he believes women are objectively different, because obviously women are vicious monsters who can explode hearts by wanting it, Murphy totally gets that part. The issue is only that he’s trying to act on this fact, because of course feminists know women and men are different but insist on women being treated the same despite this obvious fact, probably because of their irrational female emotions or something.
“I haven’t really worked through the specifics of what I’d need to do to make somebody’s heart explode, Murph. As soon as I have occasion to I’ll be sure to let you know.”
“When will you be able to tell me something?” Murphy asked.
“I don’t know.” I held up a hand, forestalling her next comment. “I can’t put a timer on this stuff, Murph. It just can’t be done. I don’t even know if I can do it at all, much less how long it will take.”
And this is where we dive headlong into what was hinted in the first chapter – Harry won’t explain jack shit, to the point of misleading or outright lying, then bitches to the reader about how unfair it is people don’t just know to do exactly what he wants.
His initial statement seems like it was the most honest – that he’s being sarcastic about how he doesn’t want anything to do with this. But the conversation proceeds as if he said, “I’ve never needed to know this before because I’m not a murderer, but I’ll look into it now and see what I can find out.” We’re going to find out shortly that he is not going to and in fact doesn’t dare investigate, which means he’s deliberately lying here. And more, he’s not even brushing them off…
“At fifty bucks an hour, it better not be too long,” Carmichael growled. Murphy glanced at him. She didn’t exactly agree with him, but she didn’t exactly slap him down, either.
No, he’s committing to doing it and getting paid for the attempt, despite the fact he knows he won’t be doing anything of the sort. How horribly unfair it is Carmichael thinks he’s a fraud. And the fact Carmichael immediately assumes he’ll get paid for a while and never produce anything useful to the investigation, when he’s a long-term consultant, suggests that he’s done this shit before. The author’s presumably just writing Carmichael as Antagonistic Cop #34, but the fact is, we know Harry really does know about magic, and we know Harry is regularly consulted about magic cases. He should’ve proved himself ages ago. Carmichael’s behavior makes perfect sense, however, if you look at how Harry has given them a bare minimum outline of the magic involved (hasn’t even bothered to mention it violates taboo) and then said a bunch of stuff that actually were lies. If Harry normally produced the goods after billing them for hours of work, why would Carmichael’s first thought be that this would end with the cops having nothing to show for it?
“Dammit,” Carmichael said. He shot me a cold glance (but didn’t quite look at my eyes)
This is the point you can tell the eye thing is a full on disaster of an idea. He’s a skeptic, but he’s still not only aware of what supposedly happens upon eye contact but also believes it. All he has to do is lock eyes and it’d trigger an obvious supernatural effect, confirming if Harry is magic (bonus – he’d probably be able to tell Harry is planning to not do the work even though he is magic).
I don’t think there’s any way to make this work – the fact is, you can’t combine a masquerade-style urban fantasy with the idea wizards have an uncontrollable always-on supernatural effect, it’s just too damn obvious – but it’d have certainly been a lot better if the result was that Harry never made eye contact with anyone, rather than that he stares all he feels like and other people sheepishly avoid his eyes. It’d have been anyone thing making wizards weird, and could make Harry himself unsettling because he’d be giving odd signals with the hulking cranky guy combined with keeping his eyes looking at the floor most of the time. (Working to avoid eye contact would also be a sign of consideration for others, so it’d be a sorely needed chance to show that he’s an actual nice guy rather than the endless Nice Guying bullshit.) As it is, this all just cries of alpha male MRA stuff about how true men are dominant assholes who all lesser males cower in front of. Harry is so goddamn hardcore no one else can even look at him, and he constantly challenges them to do it.
Anyway. Our sexy exploded hooker was, as we already knew, the expensive, classy kind.
Bianca kept a flock of beautiful, charming, and witty women, pandering them to the richest men in the area for hundreds of dollars an hour. Bianca sold the kind of female company that most men only see on television and the movies. I also knew that she was a vampiress of considerable influence in the Nevernever.
I don’t believe it’ll ever be explained why a bloodsucking monster is apparently the only one capable of running an ethical escort service, probably because the author doesn’t give a fuck about the subject and just wants hot prostitutes that are happy to suck dick (in a classy way). Incidentally, I hope “vampiress” doesn’t grate on your nerves, because Harry will be scrupulous about informing us that he’s specifically talking about the fuckable sort of vampire any time it comes up.
Harry goes on to explain the Nevernever: he tried to explain it and Murphy didn’t understand, whatever. He apparently did an exceptionally shit job of that explanation, because Murphy now asks if Bianca’s connection means vampires and he says no vampire has this level of power outside the Nevernever, which seems like it should be covered in basic info about the place. Also, apparently vampires can also be sorcerers (despite magic = life) but it doesn’t change their outside Nevernever power level (so what’s the point of even being one?).
“Could she be at odds with a human sorcerer?” Murphy asked me.
“Possible. But it doesn’t sound like her. She isn’t that stupid.” What I didn’t tell Murphy was that the White Council made sure that vampires who trifled with mortal practitioners never lived to brag about it. I don’t talk to regular people about the White Council.
She didn’t ask for the specifics of your ruling body. All you had to do was say no, vampires don’t live long if they fuck with living sorcerers, so unless it turns out Bianca has just caught a tragic case of fireballs, she wasn’t in a dispute with a sorcerer. Instead you lied and said it was possible. “That would be stupid” makes it sound like it’s a typical situation where the big fish don’t tangle with the other big fish because it’s more trouble than it’s worth for both of them, so you then misled her and by extension the rest of the police on the situation further.
This is where the White Council becomes a plot hole. They’re in charge of keeping this stuff under control. From how he talks about them, they should already know and be dealing with this problem, and if they’re not full-on omniscient, then he should call them up and say that hey guys, some idiot just blew two people’s hearts out, I figure it was a witch because women, you know? Anyway it’s your problem now, call me back when you’re exploded whoever it was and I’ll pass that on to the police.
Anyway, the guy’s name is Tommy Tomm, because. Because. He works as a bodyguard for the not-mob ruler, Johnny Macone, who I understand from fanfic is a wonderful individual who deeply respects things like demisexuality and bunself pronouns and coercing Harry into a sexual relationship for his own good. Other people complain about this, but in fairness, the book seems like it’s trying to bait readers with this:
“Gentleman” Johnny Marcone had been the thug to emerge on top of the pile after the Vargassi family had dissolved into internal strife. The police department saw Marcone as a mixed blessing, after years of merciless struggle and bloody exchanges with the Vargassis. Gentleman Johnny tolerated no excesses in his organization, and he didn’t like freelancers operating in his city. Muggers, bank robbers, and drug dealers who were not a part of his organization somehow always seemed to get ratted out and turned in, or else simply went missing and weren’t heard from again.
Marcone was a civilizing influence on crime-and where he operated, it was more of a problem in terms of scale than ever before. An extremely shrewd businessman, he had a battery of lawyers working for him that kept him fenced in from the law behind a barricade of depositions and papers and tape recordings. The cops never said it, but sometimes it seemed like they were almost reluctant to chase him. Marcone was better than the alternative-anarchy in the underworld.
Thank god we have this nice man to murder competing drug dealers! And the only minor downside is that there are now vastly more drug dealers pushing their product overall.
This is not saying he is literally our savior come again, but for a story setup where everyone is terrible and/or incompetent, that’s pretty much what it amounts to.
Murphy then says that the rest of her department think she’s insane or know magic is real and are in even heavier denial as a result, a situation undoubtedly not helped by the fact Harry has avoided telling her most of the useful info here and, most damningly, didn’t do anything to suggest this is a special case. He doesn’t even blink at all the lying he’s done here.
“How about you?”
“Me?” Murphy smiled, a curving of her lips that was a vibrantly feminine expression, making her look entirely too pretty to be such a hardass.
This fucking book.
“The world’s falling apart at the seams, Harry. I guess I just think people are pretty arrogant to believe we’ve learned everything there is to know in the past century or so. What the hell. I can buy that we’re just now starting to see the things around us in the dark again. It appeals to the cynic in me.”
This suggests the proper noir story would’ve been following Murphy with Harry as one of the obligatory shitty contacts who acts like he’s being helpful but is actually concealing way more than he tells.
Speaking of, Murphy did at least manage to work out that he’s bullshitting about working out how to explode hearts.
“Look, Murph,” I said. “There’s some things you just don’t do.”
“Sometimes I don’t want to get into the head of the slime I go after, either. But you do what needs to be done to finish the job. I know what you mean, Harry.”
“No,” I said, shortly. “You don’t know.” And she didn’t. She didn’t know about my past, or the White Council, or the Doom of Damocles hanging over my head. Most days, I could pretend I didn’t know about it, either.
All the Council needed now was an excuse, just an excuse, to find me guilty of violating one of the Seven Laws of Magic, and the Doom would drop. If I started putting together a recipe for a murder spell, and they found out about it, that might be all the excuse they needed.
“Murph,” I told her. “I can’t try figuring this spell out. I can’t go putting together the things I’d need to do it. You just don’t understand.”
Note what he very carefully avoided saying, which is “There is a law against me figuring this out.” He’s just repeated don’t and can’t a bunch of times. The excuse is presumably meant to be the same one as earlier about how he can’t talk about fight club, except yet again, she’s not asking about the club. In the event she even works out there might be a club, “There is a law against me figuring this out and also discussing the laws is against the law,” pretty much covers it.
Murphy then yells at him and threatens to cut off his sweet, sweet taxpayer money, so Harry, being a smart alpha male, decides that he should rationalize working on the spell instead of just fucking explaining that he isn’t saying research is unpleasant, he’s saying that if he does he’ll be lucky if he gets as nice a death as those folk in the other room. This is because the author can’t plot for shit and relies on characters doing things while they explain it makes no sense to do this. I have no idea if this is one of the things that improves, but I got partway through the next book and it definitely hasn’t by then.
Murphy set the hook a second later. She looked up at my eyes for a daring second before she turned away, her face tired and honest and proud. “I need to know everything you can tell me, Harry. Please.”
Classic lady in distress. For one of those liberated, professional women, she knew exactly how to jerk my old-fashioned chains around.
This is one of those warning signs to pay attention to.
Harry here is refusing any responsibility for his own feelings. The only reason for Murphy to behave as what seems to me like an ordinary person saying this is important is to attack him through his
dick feelings dick. He can’t help but see her as a damsel in distress, so never mind that what nothing in her words or behavior fits with that, or the chapter opened telling us that she’s used to dealing with other sexist cops who would react to any weakness like sharks smelling blood, he must feel this way because she is deliberately making herself look like one one! Harry would feel bad about saying no AND THAT MEANS SHE IS DELIBERATELY MANIPULATING HIM WITH HER FEMININE WILES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Going by what he says shows this, I don’t think there’s anything anyone could say he wouldn’t treat this way, but that’s not going to stop him from blaming the other person.
Add a dash of sex, and this is where you get the idea what a woman was wearing is so important to rape cases. The fact a man feels sexual interest toward a woman means the woman has chosen to force him to feel that way, so how can you say it was unprovoked? She made him want to have sex with her first!
I gritted my teeth. “Fine,” I said. “Fine. I’ll start on it tonight.” Hoo boy.
It’s so unfair how women say they want to be treated equally but then ask you to do things and you feel you can’t say no because you treat women differently than men.
The reason this is particularly unpleasant is because it breeds resentment. You can see it in his very actions here – he’s angry he feels like he has to do this, and he’s blaming her for doing it to him. In his mind, he’s filing it in a surely gigantic box labeled “forced to help someone when I didn’t want to” and stewing over the unfairness, while all the sane people around him have no idea that he was only doing what appeared to be the job he was paid good money to do because he felt they forced him and he thinks they owe him for it.
When we walked out, the uniform cops were still lazing around in the hall outside. Carmichael was nowhere to be seen. The guys from forensics were there, standing around impatiently, waiting for us to come out.
So…the people whose job it is to guard are standing there guarding, which is lazy.
Harry then realizes he’s late for his appointment and rushes off, only to be intercepted halfway there by a fancy car, and a thug gets out.
Two more men, both of them as tall as me and a good deal heavier, were slowing down from their own jog. They had apparently been following me, and they looked annoyed. One was limping slightly, and the other wore a buzz cut that had been spiked up straight with some kind of styling gel. I felt like I was in high school again, surrounded by bullying members of the football team.
Once again, Harry is enormous in his own right. Possibly he was less so as a teenager, but from what I’ve gleaned of his tragic backstory highschool should overlap with him knowing doom magic so even still, this just seems hard to swallow.
On the other hand, I’m happy the author has finally thought to draw a football player comparison after all the cheerleader talk. I’m just disappointed it required a situation where the football player comparison is vaguely appropriate.
They want him to get in the car.
“I like to walk. It’s good for my heart.”
“You don’t get in the car, it isn’t going to be good for your legs,” the man growled.
Hee. It’s funny because he’s a mobster and I don’t like Harry.
A voice came from inside the car. “Mister Hendricks, please. Be more polite. Mister Dresden, would you join me for a moment? I’d hoped to give you a lift back to your office, but your abrupt exit made it somewhat problematic. Perhaps you will allow me to convey you the rest of the way.”
That’s right, it’s
sexy completely heterosexually awesome mobster time now.