Warning: May contain spoilers for previous The Dresden Files books.
Dead Beat is the seventh installment in The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The series stars Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. He’s a member of the wizardly White Council, a private investigator, and all ‘round hero. He often works with Chicago Police Department’s Special Investigations unit, headed by Lieutenant Karrin Murphy, and this fact has not gone unnoticed by his enemies in the vampire courts. Mavra is once again up to her old tricks, and she’s got dirt on Murphy that would result in her losing her position. Mavra uses this to blackmail Harry into finding her the Word of Kemmler, a necromantic treatise from one of the darkest wizards to ever walk the Earth. Needless to say, this has bad written all over it. Oh, and did I mention it’s Halloween?
Cue the Wardens
Up until this book, the Wardens of the White Council have been a fairly back burner group. They show up to hassle Harry and occasionally help him out when they absolutely have to, but are otherwise in other places doing other things. The stakes are really high in Dead Beat, though, as Harry’s not the only one looking for the Word of Kemmler. This time, when Harry calls for help, he actually gets it and a little more besides. Of course, this is after he talks to Mab, the Alphas, Butters, and Thomas. This is the biggest assembly of secondary characters yet, and introduces a few new ones who will stick around for future books.
Cue the ridiculous
For me, Dead Beat is one of the most comedic of The Dresden Files. We have Thomas trying to be a reformed White Court Vampire, which doesn’t really work and gets him into all sorts of trouble. Next up is Butters and his one-man-polka-band schtick. Then there’s a scene that would fit right in with A Night at the Museum, except at the Field Museum instead. While this keeps Dead Beat from being unbearably dark and hectic, there are a few places where the comedy threw me out of the story. The over the top slap stick flavor of Dead Beat is the one thing I dislike about it, and has kept this from being one of my favorites in The Dresden Files.
Why you should read this book?
There really aren’t any books in The Dresden Files that you can skip. It’s incredibly important to meet Luccio and Ramirez, not to mention how nice it is that Butters finally gets a chance to shine. There’s some backstory relating to Harry’s former mentor, as well as some important character building for Bob the Skull. All in all, this book is not to be missed by fans of The Dresden Files.