Sunday 15 December 2013

#CBR5 Book 144. "Dead Beat" by Jim Butcher

Page count: 435 pages
Audio book length: 15 hrs, 14 mins
Rating: 4 stars

It's nearly Halloween (Harry's birthday) and Harry Dresden is less than thrilled to discover that his friend Police Lieutenant Karrin Murphy is going off to Hawaii with another man. He's even less thrilled when Mavra, an extremely powerful vampire of the Black Court, who he hoped they'd managed to kill in Blood Rites, turns out not to be dead and is blackmailing him with Murphy's involvement in the case unless he helps her. If Harry doesn't find something called the Word of Kemmler in three days, Mavra will make sure Murphy's career is ruined, and that she may very well face criminal charges because of aid she gave Harry on a mission against the Black Court vampires. Harry obviously can't let that happen, and so he has no choice but to agree to the vampire's demands.

Turns out the Word of Kemmler is a book, the last writings of a very powerful and very dangerous, now dead, necromancer and whoever possesses the book will gain access to terrible powers. Harry's not the only one looking for the Word. Three of Kemmler's former apprentices are in Chicago, wanting the to be the first to find the book and become the most powerful necromancer of them all. While Mavra claimed Harry wasn't allowed to tell anyone about his mission, over the course of the story, he is aided in his quest by his half-brother/current roommate Thomas, and polka obsessed forensic scientist Waldo Butters.

Hordes of zombies, wanton destruction of property, the possibility of Harry possibly getting a date with a cute bookstore clerk, a polka suit, Harry's awesome dog Mouse, evil necromancers, other wizards - some judgemental and disapproving of Harry, others charming and cool - are just some of the elements that make up this book. I'm now well and truly hooked on the series, and so glad I got an Audible account so I can keep listening to Marsters' excellent narration of them. It's nice to see Harry having friends and supporters, as he was a pretty uninteresting character as a loner in the first books. It's also been hinted for a while that Harry likes Murphy a bit more than just as friends, so him finally acknowledging that he was jealous about her going on holiday with someone else is a promising start. I also like that he doesn't spend too long brooding about it, though, but allows himself to flirt a bit with someone else. I can't really say what my favourite bit was in this book, because it would be a massive spoiler - but let's just say that I heartily approve of Harry's way of circumventing the White Council's laws about necromancy, it was a super awesome way to save the day.


  1. I love this series so much. So I only have four novels left in Women of the Otherworld! I'm so sad - any long running supernatural series I should try next? Is Kim Harrison worth a shot?

  2. I'm really enjoying it, but am trying to stretch it out so that I have less of a wait for the new book coming out sometime next year. Might as well be a bit strategic.

    I really enjoy Kim Harrison's books, and have been reading them for years and years, long before she was being published in hardback first. The one coming out early next year is the penultimate book in the series, so now would be a good time to pick it up, I think. Other good paranormal fantasy series I can recommend are Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels books and Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books. They're books I look forward to new installments of every year. If you like the slight mystery aspect of some of the Butcher books, Seanan McGuire's October Daye books are great. They start out as straight supernatural mysteries, really, and become more arc based with a bit more of a romantic subplot as the series goes on. The first two books were a bit slow when I read it the first time, but by book 3 I was completely and utterly hooked on the characters and the series.