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Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, Book 7) Mass Market Paperback – May 2, 2006

441 customer reviews
Book 7 of 15 in the Dresden Files Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Harry Dresden's first hardcover adventure finds Chicago's preeminent wizard coping with his new roommate--vampire half-brother Thomas. Harry soon has problems bigger than Thomas' clutter to deal with. Marva, one of Harry's vampire foes, summons him with a threat to his police-lieutenant friend, Karrin Murphy. Marva demands Harry get the Word of Kemmler for her, or she'll frame Murphy for murder. Harry doesn't even know what the Word is, but while he's trying to find out, and also what damage Marva will be able to do with it, several necromancers descend on Chicago. When Harry learns that the newcomers are students of Kemmler, an evil wizard who mastered ancient spirits in a way no one has since, he discovers that they are seeking the Word, too, in hopes of seizing the powerful knowledge within it and calling forth a powerful creature known as the Erlking. Butcher's latest maintains the momentum of previous Dresden outings and builds the suspense right up to a rousing conclusion. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“The wildest, strangest, best Dresden adventure to date....Butcher’s blending of modern fantasy with classic noir sensibilities ensures that there’s never a dull moment.”—SF Site

“A fun romp with a rousing final battle that shouldn’t be missed.”—Locus

“Offbeat humor, a hard-boiled style, and rich detail.”—Library Journal (starred review)


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; English Language edition (May 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 045146091X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451460912
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (441 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Butcher read his first fantasy novel when he was seven years old--
the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. By the time he turned eight,
he'd added the rest of the Narnia books, the Prydain Chronicles, every
book about Star Wars he could find, a great many Star Trek novels and
the Lord of the Rings to his count.

So he was pretty much doomed from the start.

Love of fantasy, his personal gateway drug, drew him toward a fairly
eclectic spread of interests: horseback riding (including trick riding,
stunt riding, drill riding, and competitive stunt racing), archery,
martial arts, costuming, music and theater. He played a lot of role-
playing games, a lot of fantasy-based tactical computer games, and
eventually got into live-action roleplay where players beat each other
up with boffer weapons.

So, really, he can fly his nerd flag with pretty much anyone, and
frequently does.

He took up writing to be able to produce fantasy novels with swords and
horses in them, and determinedly wrote terrible fantasy books until,
just to prove a point to his writing teacher, he decided to take every
piece of her advice; fill out outlines and worksheets, and design
stories and characters just the way she'd been telling him to do for
about three years. He was certain that once she saw what hideous art it
produced, she would be proven wrong and repent the error of her ways.
The result was the Dresden Files, which sure showed *her*.

She has not yet admitted her mistake and recanted her philosophy on

Jim has performed in dramas, musicals, and vocal groups in front of
live audiences of thousands and on TV. He has performed exhibition
riding in multiple arenas, and fallen from running horses a truly
ridiculous number of times. He was once cursed by an Amazon witch
doctor in rural Brazil, has apparently begun writing about himself in
the third person, and is hardly ever sick at sea.

He also writes books occasionally.

Jim stands accused of writing the Dresden Files and the Codex Alera.
He's plead insanity, but the jury is still out on that one. He lives in
Missouri with his wife, romantic suspense and paranormal romance writer
Shannon K. Butcher (who is really pretty and way out of his league),
his son, and a ferocious guard dog.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Lucinda A. on May 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Let me say it right off: "Dead Beat" is not the best in the series, but it is damn good nevertheless. In all fairness it has several weaknesses, which I will briefly mention below, but it certainly doesn't betray the usual strong plot, fun adventure and high quality writing we came to expect from Jim.

The previous installment, "Blood Rites", had Harry discover new and disturbing facts about his life. In this book, Harry turns to introspection. Faced with a bunch of necromancers in a mad race after a lost artifact of unspeakable power, all of them much stronger magically than Harry, our hero has to make choices and compromises which are morally ambiguous. As with real life, there are no clear-cut `right' solutions (high points for realism, Jim). But hey, nothing like moral dilemmas to have a character grow. Indeed, here we find Harry gradually losing the naiveté and bumbling enthusiasm of the first volumes; this is a world-weary Harry who has to undergo a painful examination of his weaknesses of spirit in order to be able to live with them. Nicely done.

If the hero gets all the attention he deserves, that can hardly be said about the rest of the characters we came to love, or love to hate. Thomas pops in and out of the plot at random moments; some old characters get cameo appearances, others are conspicuously absent for the entire duration of the plot, which was decidedly odd. Also, there should be a limit to how many artifacts Harry is able to locate during the course of a book ... and then lose to the bad guys rather immediately! I am not saying this makes for a bad plot, but boy was I gritting my teeth in frustration. Finally, some small inconsistencies (an attentive reader will no doubt notice them, so I won't go into that).
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on May 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Kudos to Jim Butcher for getting his first hardcover publication in the Harry Dresden series! Definitely liked the presentation: cover illustration is great and the overall work is of excellent quality.

To the story: Chicago's only Wizard PI, Harry Dresdent's latest story opens up with him agreeing to take care of his cop-friend (who could be more) house while she goes away to Hawaii with another man. Harry wants to stop her. Something tells him Murphy wants him to stop her....but he doesn't....

Then, he's contacted by Mavra, a vampire he thought he'd killed before. If he doesn't get her the "Word of Kemmler" Murphy is going to be disgraced by some seriously incriminating pictures. Murph comes from a cop family and this would destroy her.

So, the chase for the elusive Word begins. In the process, Harry discovers that Kemmler is definitely bad juju. He was a black wizard sho specialized in necromancy--til he died. Now, his disciples are on the chase for the Word, too, competing with each other, hoping to gain the power the Word will provide.

It's a fast-paced story with some really good messages within, particularly relating to Waldo Butters and courage.

I don't think DEAD BEAT is as well-paced as the other Dresden novels. There are some spots that actually drag. Can't decide whether that is the novel length requirement for hardcover or that Jim Butcher is distracted with his new series. I think I could have done without most of a scene with Harry debating with Alterna-Harry, but skimming will get you the drift.

Still, I highly recommend all of Butcher's DRESDEN FILES novels. They are well-written. Since Butcher is a martial artist, the action flows nicely.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lou Wainwright on May 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was going to start this review by saying, "Dead Beat is the best book yet", but I'm not sure if that's true. I mean no criticism though. The quality level of the series has reached the point where every book is such a solid 5 stars that trying to compare them is beyond me.

In Dead Beat Harry once again has to save, if not the world, then at least most of Chicago from an awful fate. Yet Mr. Butcher manages to keep the plot from seeming repeative by throwing some great twists at Harry - some good, some not so good. The climax was delightful and well foreshadowed - no deus ex machina here.

I do have a complaint for Mr. Butcher. Harry's supporting cast is too diverse and interesting, so I am inevitably dissapointed when one of my favorites doesn't appear. Thankfully we get an appearance by some old friends who we haven't seen in a while, and Thomas gets quite a bit of screen time, but it's not enough! I almost hope we get a book at some point where Harry goes missing and all of his friends need to work together to find him.

Overall Dead Beat is another fantasic addition to the series, and I can't wait for the next one.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W Jordin on September 14, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dead Beat (2005) is the seventh urban fantasy novel in the Dresden Files series, following Blood Rites. In the previous volume, Harry burned his hand rescuing children from the Black Court vampires. He also discovered that paintball guns work well against the Black Court when loaded with holy water.

Lara Raith discovered the results of the curse on her father and Thomas learned that Justine is not dead. Jake decided to go into Feng Shui consulting while he took care of Emma's kids. Harry named the puppy "Mouse" and wondered why Thomas had bought large breed Puppy Chow.

In this novel, Thomas is living with Harry in the basement apartment. Thomas is frustrated because he cannot find a permanent job and Harry is frustrated because he cannot find a permanent girlfriend. Mister and Mouse are frustrated because they don't get fed on time and they are both oversized enough to really need the food.

It doesn't help that Thomas has women coming into the apartment when he should be running errands for his brother. Maybe Thomas and his lovers have a great time, but they do trash the place. Even the books are pulled out and scattered on the floor. And Thomas doesn't clean up behind himself.

After Thomas bares his soul and leaves in a huff, Harry takes Mouse out for a walk and Murphy pulls up just as he returns. Karrin is going on a vacation -- the first one in forever -- to Hawaii with Kincaid and wants Harry to water her plants. Harry tries to talk her out of doing anything with Kincaid, but doesn't try that hard since Karrin is not his girlfriend. Later, he wonders if Murphy had wanted him to try a little harder.
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