I am happy to report that the second of the Dresden Files is considerably better than the first. Mainly because, after a few rather painful chapters of setup (dialog still sucks), the book is almost entirely action, which as I mentioned before he seems to be decent at.
However, I'm starting to wonder if Butcher (I do hope that's a pseudonym) learned to plot from watching action films. That is literally the only reason I can think of for the inclusion of a sex scene about three quarters of the way through the book. I have to admit that I skipped past it, shaking my head the while. I mean... seriously? Our Hero has spent the past several days being bounced from one bruising experience to another, including being shot, his only moments of respite the result of being knocked unconscious, not to mention having recently witnessed a scene of slaughter that would have most people in therapy for the rest of their lives, and he's going to have sex with his girlfriend? Now?
Later on, he jumps out of a moving car. Mr. Butcher, it seems, has not yet settled on what degree of realism these books are going to support, which is kind of a problem when you a) set those books in a real-life city and b) have your main character going on and on about real-world problems, including how much it hurts to get shot, punched, kicked, and so forth. Dresden still needs to shut up and stop whining so much.
The next one is called Grave Peril. If it turns out to be about zombies, I'm going to have to give him another heavy ding for ripping off Tanya Huff's Blood series as well as for the bad puns. I'm getting a little curious about the understory he's developing, though; we'll see if he gives it proper attention. You just can't have an entire police precinct slaughtered by werewolves and still have a city--and more importantly a police force--that entirely refuses to believe in the supernatural. It's just not going to fly.