Title: Death Masks (Dresden Files bk. 5)
Author: Jim Butcher
Genre: urban fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal
Length: ~370 pages
Plot Basics: Harry Dresden -- Chicago's only wizard-for-hire -- has to fight a duel, but this isn't the pistols at dawn kind of duel. Nope. He's got to go up against a major fighter for the Red Court vampires in an effort to stop a war between the Red Court and the White Court (of which Dresden is an unappreciated member). Meanwhile, he's also contacted by a rogue priest to find the stolen Shroud of Turin and hit men are taking shots at him. And his former girlfriend, Susan, is back in town still trying to deal with her near-vampirism (something else that could be blamed on Harry).
Banter Points: Butcher definitely hit his stride with this series around book 3 and each one since then has been improving. He throws everything he can think of at Dresden and forces the character to deal with it. It makes for some page-turning reads and it's fun to see character like Susan and Gentlemen Johnny Marcone come back after earlier appearances.
Bummer Points: The whole Red Court/White Court war is not Word Nerd's favorite plot point. It's getting a little convoluted and harder to remember who's on what side. Also, the Shroud of Turin? That part was a little too far flung for Word Nerd, even in a fantasy book.
Word Nerd Recommendation: This series is a must for urban fantasy/sci-fi fans.