Title: Dead Beat: Dresden Files #07
Author: Jim Butcher
Narrator: James Marsters
Audiobook Length: 15 hours, 14 minutes
Genre: Science Fiction
“When a killer vampire threatens to destroy head of Special Investigations Karrin Murphy’s reputation unless Harry delivers the powerful Word of Kemmler to her, he has no choice. Now Harry is in a race against time to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead.”
Thoughts: In books past, Harry Dresden – Chicago’s only wizard-for-hire – has tackled deranged wizards, vampires, werewolves, fallen angels, ghosts, demons and the Fae and miraculously survived against impossible odds. About the only thing left for him to face would be zombies. Enter Dead Beat, Jim Butcher’s seventh Harry Dresden novel.
With its focus on the walking dead, Dead Beat takes an interesting existential turn. From those who would do anything to conquer death to those who welcome it as the next great adventure, a la Dumbledore, Harry explores his own thoughts and fears about the issue. His thoughts are weighty for such a fun series, proving that there is more to Harry Dresden than sarcasm and and overly large sense of duty.
If Harry has learned one thing over the years, it is that he cannot battle the forces of evil alone. What is better than fighting an army of dead people than with the help of someone who specializes in dead people? Dead Beat reintroduces us to Dr. Butters, polka lover, county coroner, and one of the best side characters in the entire series. He has some of, if not all of, the best one-liners ever. More importantly, one cannot help but smile and cheer him on as he struggles to reconcile his very pragmatic, scientific, and cowardly mind with the very unscientific, unbelievable, and scary magical world into which he is unwittingly thrust. Polka will indeed never die.
I cannot say any more about James Marsters as narrator than I already have. I have gushed and cooed and fan-girled all over this site about his ability to channel and become Harry Dresden. Suffice it to say that he does not disappoint in this seventh novel in the series. In fact, he was single-handedly able to cheer me out of what was quickly becoming a fairly horrible week. God bless James Marsters and his impeccable narration.
After seven novels, the entire series has definitely hit its stride. Novices to the series can pick up the storyline with any of the novels, but only long-time fans will catch and understand the references to past cases, foes, and battles. Because of this history, Harry has become more than a wizard slash private detective. As he grows in his powers, so too do his inner struggles of good versus evil, black and white, life and death. This growth and almost constant character development not only prevents the entire series from stagnating but actually creates more drama and tension than all the mystical life-or-death battles Harry could ever face. Dead Beat remains an exciting addition to the Harry Dresden canon and leaves readers eagerly anticipating what Harry will do next.
Acknowledgments: Mine. All mine.