Dead Beat

by Jim Butcher
I’m a dweeb and failed to make sure I had gotten the first book in the series before I picked it up off my to-read shelf and headed for an all-day workshop. It turned out okay, though, because Butcher wrote this well enough that a newbie can do pretty well just going with the flow. I really enjoyed it a lot. The basic premise of the book is that magic is real, and the hero (Harry Dresden) is a wizard. Big staff, air elemental servitor, the works. But it’s narrated in first-person, and has a very noir feel to it. Harry’s a gumshoe who just happens to be a wizard too, and it works a lot better than you might think.
The plot is a bit video-game-ish: six disciples of a long-dead Evil Sorcerer are in Chicago looking for their late master’s last book so they can do a big nasty ritual that will turn one of them into a god. Harry and the rest of the good guys have to stop them. That’s standard fantasy stuff, but Butcher has an awesome sense of humor and pulls you through the plot by your lapels with lots of action. One of the best scenes in the book involves a zombie T-Rex rampaging around. It was a blast! I really dug “Dead Beat” and am looking forward to reading the stories leading up to it.
Book 5 in 2007.

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