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Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

Looks like these books are getting longer! Since some people may consider this review to have spoilers for previous novels in The Dresden Files, I'm putting it under a cut.

f you’re going to write a book about death, you can either write a profound novel about the meaning of it, or a fun book about zombies. Although Dead Beat touches on the complex issue of death, it rightfully falls into the second category.

In Blood Rites, Harry faced down the powerful Mavra, a Black Court Vampire, in an intense fight that resulted in his hand suffering from intense burns. During Dead Beat, Harry learns that Mavra is still alive. Not only that, but she has incriminating photographs of Murphy that could cost her job. Mavra offers Harry a trade; she will give him the photographs if he agrees to bring her the Word of Kemmler. The only catch is he cannot get anyone else involved, not the Council or the Police, or his friends will be the one to pay. Unfortunately, Harry is not the only one looking for the Word of Kemmler. Several necromancers want it, and all are willing to kill for it. Can Harry manage to get the Word to Mavra before it’s too late?

If anything, Dead Beat proves one thing, the world of The Dresden Files is more complex than ever before. Beyond the main conflict, there are still several unresolved issues touched upon during this novel. There’s the vampire war with the Red Court, the demon Lasciel and the cursed coin buried in Harry’s basement, and the two favors the Harry still owes Mab, the Winter Queen. This doesn’t include the various personal conflicts during the book, such as Harry’s realization that he may see Murphy as more than a friend. Although Butcher manages to juggle these conflicts very well, I can’t help but worry it will turn into one of those fantasy series, where there’s so much going on in the background that the author almost spends more time touching on each of the conflicts than the plot of the novel.

Luckily, this is not an issue with Dead Beat. It’s a fun ride, filled with tons of Harry’s trademark humor, and an exciting conclusion. Harry makes two very big decisions in this book. One which I suspected would happen eventually and one which I did not see coming at all! I’m quite excited to see what will happen in the next book!

Rating: Four and half out of five stars
Similar Books: For more zombie fun, try No Humans Allowed by Kelley Armstron
Other books I've read by this author: Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight (my review), Death Masks (my review), Blood Rites (my review)

I recently re-read Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. Will post a review tomorrow. Next on my list is Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher.

Tags: faeries, four and a half stars, jim butcher, necromancers, paranormal fantasy, the dresden files, urban fantasy, vampires, werewolves, wizards, year published: 2005


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