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Dead Beat (The Dresden Files) Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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Audio CD, Audiobook, Unabridged
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Read by James Marsters
"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."
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To fully enjoy this installment, it's important the reader has read Death Masks, book five in the series. For openers, this book introduces us to Butters, the eccentric Medical Examiner; in DEAD BEAT, Butters becomes Harry's involuntary sidekick, as he faces--usually screaming--hordes of mindless zombies. And in 'Death Masks', Harry is exposed unwittingly to a Denarian--one of the thirty pieces of silver given long ago to Judas. This exposure has caused the demon Lasciel to inhabit Harry's sub-conscious, and by the seventh installment the beautiful Lasciel is proving to be one heck of a temptress. In grand Dresden Files fashion, Harry always has a quip at the ready; he may be facing a powerful necromancer commanding an army of zombies, but he's never going to take matters seriously. Author Jim Butcher has a knack for penning an exciting action tale while never taking his foot off the gas; DEAD BEAT moves like running barefoot on a sidewalk in August. We even have a contribution by the fierce spirit of a tyrannosaur to crowd in on the action! DEAD BEAT is a grand supernatural tale, daring the reader not to reach for the next installment in this highly acclaimed series.
--D. Mikels, Esq.
If you enjoyed seeing Harry get assistance from a mortal (Murphy) in the Wal-Mart battle in a previous book, you'll enjoy Butters's role here. Butters's character arc is formulaic but it works and I especially like how his interest in polka music ties into the final battle. I won't spoil the final battle for you except to say that I LOVED it. I think it totally made the book for me. (Murphy has only a minor presence in this book.)
I would argue that even Harry shows some character development here. It's not a ton, but he realizes something unexpected about his friendship with Murphy and he also faces an internal conflict that is surely going to shape future volumes. Further, because of something that happened to him in book 6, he is hesitant to use fire magic and it changes the way he approaches various situations. It's hard to work character development in, in a book that's 7th in a series of first-person POV novels, so I appreciate what Butcher's done with this.
The setting is once again Chicago and, having never been there, I can't comment on the accuracy. It feels all right to me, though, and Butcher never gets too specific about geography. It is a little cheesy that Harry never has to travel and all of his adventures come to him. (Though I doubt he'd have a good time on an airplane, what with his effect on technology.) The language and writing style are similar to what appeared in past books.
The plot of this book is similar to others in the series in that there's a self-contained mystery story that does get resolved, but there are also events playing out in the wider world, and we hear about those, too -- particularly the war between the vampires and the wizards' White Council. I like the balance. We get information about the wizards' war efforts in a way that actually affects the plot of this novel. It's well-thought out.
There are quite a few bad guys in this one and it was sometimes a little difficult to keep them all straight. Harry hopes to play them against each other, but it doesn't exactly work out as planned (of course).
In previous books, we've been introduced to new paranormal "species": red, white, and black court vampires, various flavors of werewolves, Denarians, the summer and winter court faeries, etc. There's not a new magical race this time, so much, as there is a new magical concept -- necromancy. (I guess you could count zombies but they seem to be mostly manipulated by magic users.) I like the piece-by-piece introduction of new characters and magical concepts in this series, in general. After you've read a handful of books, you realize the world is complex and richly-imagined. But it never gets too overwhelming.
Anyway, to sum up, the strong points for me were: character development, the final battle, and having a mystery get resolved while still building an overall arc for the series.
Most recent customer reviews
The Dresden books are very witty, and they are great for an easy wind-down read