While at the library yesterday afternoon, I saw this quick little book by Jim Butcher; a kind of spin-off of the Dresden Files in novella form, from the point of view of Thomas Raith, an intriguing character who's not... obviously... Harry Dresden himself.
Because it's only a 12,000 word novella (about 70 pages) I grabbed it and read it in about an hour yesterday evening. It takes place at an undetermined point in the series, but it must be fairly late due to a few details that are made clear in this narrative. It also shows that there's quite a bit more going on in the supernatural world of Chicago than Dresden himself knows about.
This one is an interesting concept. Apparently Thomas Raith belongs to a secret society called the Venatori, and their goal is to weaken or break the power of the "old gods" and other cthonian entities by causing them to become forgotten. Because various gods gain power through the worship of mortals, this essentially makes them relatively powerless over mortals. Of course, Thomas is first introduced to us as a White Court vampire, and that's still true, naturally. He's not doing it necessarily because he's a hero. Well, possibly he is, but the rest of his organization certainly isn't.
There's not a lot to say about the narrative, because it's so short. The concept behind it works. Thomas is a readable character, although he comes off as not too different from Dresden himself in most respects. Also, surprisingly, the roll-out of the plot was not unlike that of a Dresden-helmed novel. Thomas keeps saying that he's not that good at magic, and yet that's a big part of what he uses to resolve the conflict.
In fact, if I have any complaint at all about this book it's that; it was an opportunity to see the universe through fresh eyes, and yet it felt pretty much the same. It's well done, it's recommended, but ultimately, if you miss it, you aren't missing much.
Oh, yeah... that is a Mike Mignola piece, in case you were wondering. There's two or three other black and white pieces of his throughout the book too.