Dead Beat by Jim Butcher


Paranormal MysteryFantasy

Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, Book 7) Dead BeatJim Butcher; Roc 2006WorldCat

It’s almost Harry Dresdon’s birthday – Halloween. The wizard isn’t celebrating with a cake and candles, though. Instead, he is trying to save Chicago from some of the strongest magic he has come up against.

It starts when the leader of Black Court of vampires contacts him threatening him with blackmail. He could care less if it’s he she is trying to blackmail. Instead, Mavra is threatening his friend Karrin Murphy from the Chicago police. All Harry has to do is get a special book that used to belong to an executed necromancer. When Harry discovers what the book is, he knows he doesn’t want Mavra to have it. Yet he has to protect Karrin.

While he is trying to obtain the book, Harry learns who else wants it. Three of the necromancer’s apprentice wizards want the book as well. His secret spell could turn any one of them into a dark wizard god. Now Harry has to fight zombies, three necromancers and their assistants, make pacts with faeries, prevent Karrin from getting blackmailed, prevent the book from getting into dangerous hands, protect his half brother, and keep the local cowardly mortician from getting killed. What a way to celebrate a birthday…

Dead Beat is a dark tale from beginning to end. Harry Dresden is still dealing with personal demons (real as well as mental) from other magical encounters in the past few years. He has made some powerful enemies. He has also made loyal good friends. The Wizard Council is watching him closely as well. This is one of those books that I found difficult to read because of its intensity. At the same time, I couldn’t put it down for very long, either. I had to know how Harry was going to pull this off. This is a series and another book has since come out, so Harry survives and wins – at least for the time being. But as proven in the past with his useless burnt hand, he usually doesn’t win without paying a price.

By the time the novel reached the climax on Halloween night, I felt like the darkness enveloped me as well. Even so, Jim Butcher keeps enough of Harry’s sarcasm and wit around to offset the darkness with humor and hope. The scene with the Wardens, the police of the Wizard Council, is unexpected and heartening. Dead Beat can be a stand alone novel. I think it would be better to read some of the earlier Harry Dresden novels to see more of Harry’s humorous side as well. Either way, this is a good book for the person who enjoys modern setting magic and fantasy.

More books by Jim Butcher

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