Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, No.7 of the Dresden Files
Just finished reading Dead Beat by Jim Butcher. The seventh book in the series sees Harry being blackmailed by Mavra – super evil vampire who has incriminating pictures of Murphy and isn’t afraid to use them! Okay, first things first. As this is No.7 there may be spoilers for previous books. Obligatory spoiler alert complete. Moving on.
I do enjoy this series and feel that after getting off to a little bit of a hesitant start they’ve gathered momentum with each instalment. Harry has really become a fully fleshed character now and apart from that, and not surprising at this stage of the series, I feel really comfortable with everything going on and all the different characters and conflicting politics. This is a detailed world. The good old mundane people of Chicago are blissfully unaware of what really lives amongst, around, below and above them! There’s a little bit of everything going on here and the world building has been a gradual process over the course of the series with more revelations with each book.
The plotline basically revolves around a blackmail thread. Dresden must find a sought after item, without assistance or involving outsiders such as the White Council otherwise the pictures of Murphy, that could basically destroy her career, will find themselves on ‘the right peoples’ desks! It’s no spoiler at this stage of the series to say that Dresden has a ‘thing’ about females in distress and also has feelings for Murphy so of course he rushes off at breakneck speed to sort things out. Of course, things are more complicated than they first seem. Mavra isn’t the only person looking for this item and, it turns out, Halloween is almost upon us giving the search for this a whole new meaning. Crammed full of action, death, necromancy, demons, dreams and fallen angels. Not to mention a highly enjoyable, in my opinion, reanimated entity that you will have never read about before – named Sue!
I enjoyed this very much. I thought the story was fast paced. There was plenty of action and Harry suffers his usual catalogue of injuries as he battles on. He does receive quite a few well placed pieces of assistance during this story and frankly he needed it as he was a bit out of his depth. He also seems to draw more attention from unwanted elements – for example, the ErlKing – the fae King of the Wild Hunt – not somebody who you want to mess with! There are new characters introduced. We spend a little more time with Thomas and Mouse! Buttress plays quite a large role and Lasciel Makes an appearance (in Harry’s dreams – and other places!). On top of that there is a definite twist in the tale that I never saw coming.
I did however have a few niggles. I think I missed Murphy being a part of the action and kept expecting her to put in a last minute appearance. I also thought that whilst this series does seem to be getting darker at the same time it feels like in an attempt to inject humour there are a few moments that are a bit sort of, well, silly – like the whole Buttress one man band side of things – what was that all about. Although, I suppose you could say that about the ‘Sue’ element of the story which I in actual fact really liked. The other thing, I find myself feeling sorry for Harry and I’m not sure that I want to feel like that really. He’s a good guy, he’s courageous, he wants to do the right thing but nothing good seems to ever happen to him. Give the guy a break – or at least let him have sex every now and again – he’s starting to become fixated on staring at certain parts of the female anatomy (which, is fine, but for goodness sake the guy’s wound tighter than a tightly wound thing!)
On the whole, I thought this was another really good instalment. I did have a few little blips but nothing that really affected my reading and I find that I’m still enjoying this series very much. And, of course, being late to the series means I still have books on my shelf, waiting patiently, to be read with no horrible wait! Score me!