May 29, 2012

Review: Dead Beat, by Jim Butcher

Author: Jim Butcher
Title: Dead Beat
Series: The Dresden Files (#7)
ISBN: 9780451460912
Publisher: Roc (May 3rd 2005)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a killer vampire threatens to destroy head of Special Investigations Karrin Murphy's reputation unless Harry delivers the powerful Word of Kemmler to her, he has no choice. Now Harry is in a race against time to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead.” GoodReads’ blurb

Harry hadn’t faced off against zombies yet, had he?

Well, he does now.

This book turned out to be a bit more serious than the previous one... Wait, no. Not really.

I mean, yes, this time the stakes are higher—if he fails, it’s not a power play among vampires but the end of Chicago and, pretty much, the World. It sure would be the end for Murphy’s world, what with her ending up in jail for killing a vampire... So, the motivations are dire and that should keep the tension high and the easy humor low.

But this is Harry. The first paragraph in this book, though I was expecting it after learning at the end of book 6 that Thomas was going to move in, made me laugh out loud.

Harry’s new sidekick, a forensic doctor who has seen a little too much by examining his victims, is scared like hell but somehow he will find the courage to save the day under his battlecry:

“Polka will never dieeeee!!!”

And after much effort and lots of contingencies, Harry will have to ride out and save the day in a most unorthodox white horse.

So... this volume dealt with some tough stuff, and still was funny. Hilarious. Worth every minute, really.

The lore behind the magic, as usual, was different and original too. If you’ve realized up until now, mostly Butcher presents all kinds of paranormal creatures and gives them a new approach... Well, he does the same thing with zombies. Granted, they are not as interesting as the porn-eating vampires or the different classes of werewolves, but they have their own traits.

By this point, the worldbuilding behind the Dresden Files is titanic. Politics, magic, society, war... Everything is very well developed, and while I’d not swear it in court, I’m pretty sure that everything is consistent. People coming up is people we know, or know how to place. Everything is solid, inner-logic-wise. And, since the universe is so vast, Butcher can pull out trump cards we’d all but forgotten about... Which is what happens here. I loved it.

And I think you’ll, too. So, did you get started in the series yet?


  1. Hah, unfortunately for all of us, polka really never will die. (Somehow, you always manage to make me laugh.)
    I stopped after book two, not because I didn't want to continue, but because I simply can't find the time. This happened with several series I hope to finish some day.
    But porn-eating vampires? Catching up might happen sooner rather than later.
    Another fantastic review, Ron!

    1. That whole "stop and get back" thing always happens to me too... I get caught up in other stuff and take too long to come back for beloved sequels - until I run out of other audio, hit a lul on print, or someone reminds me why I loved the series so much in the first place.

      I hope you do get back soon to Harry, Maja. Book 3 was the one I liked less (not enough Murph!) but most people say that it's where the whole thing takes off (and I have to agree on that one: book three marks the moment where it stopped being a books with the same cast and became a series with a connecting arc).

      I sure look forward to your thougts on this one! :)

  2. *sigh* I want to read this series so bad. So... so... bad..

    1. I think you'd love it, Christy. Give it a shot as soon as you can!