Harry Dresden’s universe keeps expanding with the seventh installment of The Dresden Files, “Dead Beat.” I read somewhere that Jim Butcher takes a lot of joy in putting his hero through the wringer and no where is that more true than in this book. Harry is beaten up physically and emotionally over the course of a novel that expands the on-going conflict between the Red and White councils, puts Harry at the center of a conflict to bring forth a god-like being and pushes some of the on-going plotlines of the series forward in an interesting fashion.
Harry’s hired to find a lost book. Well, maybe hired is the wrong word. More like blackmailed in order to keep his friend, Karin Murphy out of trouble. Harry agrees, not realizing what he’s getting himself into. Things quickly go from bad to worse for Dresden as the story unfolds.
“Dead Beat” finds Dresden become more world-weary from his battles with various demons, mosnters and villians, but he’s still the same guy we met back in “Storm Front.” He’s a good man, trying to make the right choices, no matter how tempting the lure of the dark path might be. The story is an epic, sweeping one that will draw you in from the first page and keep the pages turning until the last one is done. Then, you’ll be eager and anxious for the next installment, especially give some of the series-changing events that happen here.
And while it’s good, I didn’t find “Dead Beat” as great as the last several installments of the series. Part of that may be that missing elements of Murphy, who is off in Hawaii during these events.
That said, this is still the best fantasy series in print today and well worth the time.