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    Review of DEAD BEAT by Jim Butcher (see his website)


    ROC, May 2005

    When a vampire queen blackmails wizard Harry Dresden into finding her the magical book of a dead but unmorned necromancer, Dresden knows something dangerous is going to hit his beloved Chicago. He doesn't guess, though, how very bad it's going to be--until the disciples of necromancer start hunting Dresden down. What he learns is that the necromancers have discovered a way to call down a huge river of power--so much power that it will give one of them the capabilities of a god. Given the nature of people who decide to become necromancers, this is bad news for the entire city of Chicago. Unfortunately, the only people Harry can call upon for help have their own problems--and think Dresden might be part of the problem rather than the solution.

    Dresden spends most of the story gathering clues, battling with individual necromancers and their hosts of ghouls, zombies, and ghosts, and worrying about the people and magical beings he's taken responsibility for. Like an old-fashioned private eye story, on which The Dresden Files seem modeled, the story terminates in a huge bang as the outnumbered and outgunned Dresden must battle evil, his supposed allies, and the demon who has taken up residence in his own mind.

    This is the seventh book in this series, but my first exposure to The Dresden Files. I quite enjoyed the mix of wise-cracking gumshoe detective with urban fantasy. Author Jim butcher does a good job laying plants and payoffs, gives us a perpetually frustrated protagonist who can't quite get up the nerve to ask his 'friend' out on a date, and makes the mix of martial arts and magic work. I would have liked to see Butcher do more with the morally ambivalent Kumori, but perhaps this is a character we'll see in a future story. I hope so.

    See more reviews of novels by Jim Butcher.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 8/07/05

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