Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Man Dies, Finds Brain.

Harry spent about 10 books being the new guy, running around first and thinking while someone patched up the broken bits. Then he started thinking first. He started assembling tools that would help him work. He got to be really, really good at his game. Then Jim Butcher set his house on fire and ruined all his tools. Now he works for Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness, he has no tools, he might be dying again, but he does have experience.

Mab wants him to work for the villains, and he can’t wiggle out of it.
He’s just going to have to help Nicky and the Nickleheads with their nefarious plan! Stealing the Holy Grail for the Knights of the Blackened Denarius, yeah, there’s something Harry will enjoy.

Really?  Of course he’s going to foil the plot, but it’s going to take a lot of planning, which Harry of several books ago couldn’t have done. Especially not when he met this particular villain. Or the other villains that come back in this book. It’s not that Jim Butcher couldn’t bother to invent new villains – there are some interesting new characters – but the main antagonists are familiar.

Some support staff is also familiar – The Knights of the Cross, showing up as the ghosts of Past, Present, and To Come. Come on, Murphy, you know you want to.  Bob the Skull has some amazing tricks. So does Mouse.
The Winter Mantel is featured, too. Nice tricks, there. And some nice drawbacks.

A very different kind of Urban Fantasy than the beginning of the series, but fun.

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