White Night (2007) is the ninth Urban Fantasy novel in the Dresden Files series, following Proven Guilty. In the previous volume, Harry fetched Molly Carpenter back from Arctis Tor, with a little help from his friends. He took her back to her family, but she decided to turn herself in to the White Council for violations of the Fourth Law.
At the trial, the Merlin arbitrarily convicted her of using black magic and sentenced her to death. Harry pointed out that the Gatekeeper hadn't yet cast his vote. Then Ebenezar McCoy arrived with survivors of the Warden training group accompanied by Molly's father Michael. Merlin reconsidered his verdict and Molly became Harry's apprentice.
In this novel, Sergeant Murphy has a probable suicide, but she rides a hunch and calls in Harry. He checks out the scene and casts a spell at a particular place on the wall. The notation "EXODUS 22:18" appears and Karrin knows the victim was murdered.
Suddenly, Murphy strikes out with a foot sweep and a young woman -- little more than a girl -- becomes visible and falls to the floor. Harry's apprentice Molly hasn't done as he told her and now she has a few bruises and pains to remind her to obey her master. Not that she is going to pay attention, but one more lesson won't hurt . . . much!
Harry does congratulate her on the invisibility spell, but points out that both he and Sergeant Murphy had noticed a few out-of-place sounds and smells. Molly needs to put in some extra practice, but she is improving. Molly goes home happy, but aching in several places.
In this story, Harry and Murphy find other victims around Chicago and elsewhere. Most of the Chicago victims belong to a witch group known as Ordo Lebes, which Dresden translates in his correspondence course Latin as "Order of the Big Pot". Karrin, however, suggests that a better interpretation would be "Order of the Cauldron". But one victim does not belong to this order.
Harry also discovers that one of the Ordo Lebes is Helen Beckitt, whom he has had problems with in the past. Although she cooperates with Harry and Murphy and doesn't even deny her prison record, Dresden just can't bring himself to trust her. When he discovers that she works for John Marcone, both Harry and Murphy become suspicious of her behavior.
Harry meets another old acquaintance on this case. Elaine had been his first girl, but they had parted after Harry killed their mentor. While the White Council ruled that the killing was in self-defense, Elaine was already gone. Yet she had not forgotten him and even followed his career path as a consulting wizard.
This story also has a minor side plot involving the fallen angel Lasciel. The shadow of Lasciel residing in his mind provides some useful services, such as translation of dead languages, but is still trying to seduce him to the evil side. It occurs to Harry that such seduction can go both ways and he treats "Lash" as an almost trusted friend. Some surprising changes occur.
While Harry doesn't really like being a Warden of the White Council, he hasn't considered it as a handicap. Then a mysterious Grey Cloak is noticed as somehow involved with the dead witches and everybody is afraid to tell Harry. And his brother Thomas is often observed with these victims shortly before their death or disappearances. Being an enforcer for the Council is bad enough without the paranormal community wondering whether you are responsible for these passings.
Highly recommended for Butcher fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of preternatural creatures, paranormal individuals, and strange happenings.
-Arthur W. Jordin