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Dead Beat Cover Picture

Dead Beat

Jim Butcher

Published 2005           498 pages


Harry Dresden is a professional wizard; he specialises in paranormal investigations and even advertises in the local phone book.  He most regular client is the Chicago Police Department’s Special Investigation unit.

The Special Investigations department deals with the more unusual types of crimes and Harry is the consultant they call when they run out of other options.  He has worked along side Karrin Murphy, the leader of the department, for many years.  They have solved many strange cases together in the past and Harry considers her a close friend.

This is why he sneaks into Graceland Cemetery at the dead of night to meet Mavra, the powerful leader of the Black Court of vampires.   Mavra has some incriminating evidence against Murphy that would not only destroy her career but maybe land her in jail too.  The vampire’s demands are simple.  She will give Harry the evidence if he finds her the Word of Kemmler.

Harry has no choice but to give in to her demands, although finding the Word of Kemmler and giving it to Mavra will be no easy task.  No one knows what or where the Word of Kemmler is.  Kemmler was an evil necromancer wizard and he has been dead for over 50 years since the White Council of wizards finally managed to kill him. 

Harry knows that anything to do with Kemmler isn’t going to be good and sure enough after he starts his search for the book, more evil necromancer wizards start to show up in Chicago – all looking for the same book.  He must find the book first to save Murphy but if he fails and the book falls into the hands of the necromancers not only will Murphy be at risk but the entire city of Chicago will be in danger too.

The Review

Jim Butcher has written a great series of fantasy mysteries called the Dresden Files and this book is another solid instalment of magic and supernatural investigation Harry style.  This is the seventh book in the series and although the book just about stands alone, I think you would get more enjoyment from reading the previous books first as it would explain a lot of the back story. 

It is usual for any book in the Dresden Files to be crammed full of fast paced action and this book is no exception, the story set over a couple of frantic days and nights around Halloween.  Jim Butcher puts his protagonist through a lot of abuse and by the end of the book Harry has been wounded, beaten up and nearly killed several times. 

This story centres on magic, fairies, necromancy, zombies and wizards.  There are vampires in it, there is the blackmailing vampire Mavra and Thomas (Harry’s half brother) is an incubus but they take a back seat and their characters are not central to the story.  This is a shame because Thomas has the potential to be a hugely interesting character but, who knows? Maybe his story will be developed in future books.

At 498 pages Dead Beat is longer than previous books in this series but the story is well paced and well plotted so although it is quite a long book the story doesn’t drag.

In some of the previous books, like Summer Knight, the vampires have a much more active role so I would have to say that if your primary love is vampires you might be disappointed by how little they have to do with this story.  However, if you like contemporary fantasy mysteries this book is a certain winner.

LoveVampires Review Rating:

Review Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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