Hands down, my favorite of the Dresden Files.
Blood Rites is the book where I realized there was something truly magical about this series. It was weird, funny, serious, moving, and terrifying all at once. Previous books in the series have received a 10 out of 10 from the United Federation of Charles but this is the first book I'd give an 11 out of 10.
So what makes it so good? It's hard to describe but I'll start with the premise.
Harry Dresden is hired by the curiously egalitarian and non-sleazy porn producer Arturo Genosa who makes art films (with lots and lots of sex). This is already an inherently funny premise for any longtime fan because Harry has significant hang-ups about sex.
It seems Arturo's production is under a curse and it's up to Harry to figure out a way to protect the actors and actresses from being killed. What's great is, it starts with Harry on the set of Boogie Nights and then moves to something which has a profound affect on the series as a whole. It seems Arturo's company is, in addition to having a curse laid on it, in deep debt to the vampire White Court. The White Court vampires are the succubi of the series, subsisting on the sexual energy of mortals but hurt by true love.
In a very clever but kind of surreal idea, the White Court promotes shallowness and artificiality through their massive media empire. Arturo doesn't effect this with his movies but he's a good enough movie producer they want to own him lock, stock, and barrel. Also, a couple of the White Court's Royal Family enjoy working at Arturo's company.
Harry is not a subtle wizard so he's completely at odds with the moves-within-moves intrigue of the White Court. Helping him navigate their machinations, which include everything from catspaws to Judas goats to contract law, is Thomas. Harry's ally from Grave Peril, Thomas is the friendliest vampire in the world. He's also the Prince of the White Court. Unfortunately, Thomas is the exiled Prince of the White Court since his father hates him. Harry has to figure out why Thomas has been helping him: is it because of morality, politics, or a deeper connection he can't even begin to guess at?
This book introduces characters like Lara Raith and expands on others well. We also get a lot of information about Harry's past and relationship to his long-dead (but very powerful) mother. In short, this is just the bee's knees and a book which is the quintessence of the Dresden Files. As Harry will say in a later book, "Yeah, that was that time I helped protect a bunch of porn stars from evil witches and vampires."
How can you NOT buy the book after that?"