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Unabridged CDs, 12 CDs, 15 hours
Read by James Marsters

Paranormal investigations are Harry 'Dresden's business, and Chicago is his beat as he tries to bring law and order to a world of wizards and monsters that exists alongside everyday life. And though most inhabitants of the Windy City don't believe in magic, the Special Investigations department of the Chicago PD knows better.

Karin Murphy is the head of SI and Harry's good friend. So when a killer vampire threatens to destroy Murphy's reputation unless Harry does her bidding, he has no choice. The vampire wants the Word of Kemmler (whatever that is) and all the power that comes with it. Now Harry is in a race against time--and six merciless necromancers--to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead.

"A Fun romp with a rousing final battle that shouldn't be missed." --Locus

"Offbeat humor, a hard-boiled style, and rich detail." --Library Journal (Starred Review)

"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." --SF Site

15 pages, Audio CD

First published May 3, 2005

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About the author

Jim Butcher

287 books47.6k followers
Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it. Jim currently resides mostly inside his own head, but his head can generally be found in his home town of Independence, Missouri.

Jim goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990′s when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. The sale of a second series was the breakthrough that let him beat the long odds against attaining a career as a novelist.

All the same, he refuses to change his nickname.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,402 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46.2k followers
June 11, 2020
4.5/5 stars

We human don’t deserve dogs, but how about Tyrannosaurus?

“Time after time, history demonstrates that when people don't want to believe something, they have enormous skills of ignoring it altogether.”

Dead Beat, the seventh book in The Dresden Files series, revolves around the race to attain the Word of Kemmler. The case was given by a killer vampire that threatens to destroy Karrin Murphy’s reputation unless Harry Dresden recovers the Word of Kemmler and all the power that comes with it back. Unfortunately, six powerful necromancers are trying to get the Word of Kemmler as well, and Harry will have to win the race to find the Word before Chicago is engulfed with the rising of the dead in the upcoming Halloween. I don’t think it will be possible for me to stop reading this series now, every new installment I read feels like the series keeps on hitting a new stride, and I can always count on The Dresden Files to have a quick, fast-paced, and entertaining read. To make things even better, I did feel that the discussion surrounding death and fear in this book to be incredibly resonating and thought-provoking.

“As advanced as mankind likes to think it is, we all have that age-old, primal, undeniable dread of darkness. Of being unable to see danger coming. We don’t like to think that we’re afraid of the dark anymore, but if that’s true, then why do we work so hard to make sure our cities are constantly lit? We cloak ourselves in so much light that we can barely see the stars at night.”

Maybe it’s also owed to the fact that I have gotten more attached to the characters now that I felt that way, but I must also say I kept being surprised by how much depth and character development were put into this series. I mean c’mon, Butters!? I certainly didn’t expect him to ever receive great characterizations and development, I thought he would be a passing character that occasionally meets Harry, that’s it. At the pace the series is going, it seems like every side character—no matter how minor their role was—would end up becoming important to the overall series. Also, I love Mouse so much. It has been a year since Harry first found him, and he’s already one of the best side characters of the series; he’s one of the goodest boy.

“Mouse might not have been the smartest creature on earth, but he was steady, kind, loyal, and was possessed of the uncanny wisdom of beasts for knowing whom to trust. I might not have been a superhero, but Mouse thought that I was pretty darned cool. That meant something. It would have to be enough.”

The action-packed nature of the series also returns, and I think the action sequences are my favorite in the series so far. Not gonna lie, the climax sequences of Dead Beat was large-scale, and most importantly, paced wonderfully; the pacing of the action scenes were the minor issue I had with the previous installments of this series, and I think this is the first time I actually enjoyed every part of it. The dead may threaten to ruin Harry Dresden’s life and the city of Chicago, but Polka will never die! And there’s Sue. No one messes with Sue.

“I know how you feel," I said. "You run into something you totally don't get, and it's scary as hell. But once you learn something about it, it gets easier to handle. Knowledge counters fear. It always has.”

My rating speaks for itself regarding my enjoyment; Dead Beat is the first book in the series to break the 4 stars barrier the previous three books have. This means that the series consistently and gradually provide entertaining reading experience, and I’m sure another 4.5 stars, and eventually, 5 stars rating, will be coming in the sequels. We live in a harsh society, and it’s worth remembering to unleash our Zen soul so we can achieve peace in our state of mind, like Mouse:

“Mouse like going places in the car. That the place had happened to be a clandestine meeting in a freaking graveyard didn’t seem to spoil anything for him. It was all about the journey, not the destination. A very Zen soul, was Mouse.”

Picture: Dead Beat by Vincent Chong

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Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
548 reviews34.7k followers
April 16, 2021
”It could force you to keep secrets that people would kill you for knowing. It could change the way you think and feel. It could really screw up your life.”
“Screw up my life?” He stared at me for a second and then said, deadpan. “I’m a five-foot-three, thirty-seven-year-old, single, Jewish medical examiner who needs to pick up his lederhosen from the dry cleaners so that he can play in a one-man polka band at Oktoberfest tomorrow.” He pushed up his glasses with his forefinger, folded his arms, and said, “Do your worst.”

Ohh Butters! You shouldn’t have tempted Harry like that! We all know he’s always true to his word and you’re no exception to the rule. Guess Harry did his worst after all or well, the horrible people our heroic wizard is fighting did. I’m pretty certain in future our friendly neighbourhood coroner will think about it twice before he’s throwing another challenge at Harry. XD I couldn’t help but like Butters though. He’s a really nice character and I hope to see more of him, even though I think he might disagree. As it seems he’s in it for the long haul with Harry though so I’m pretty certain there’s no turning back now.

”If regular people can’t do it, and the Council won’t get involved, who the hell is going to stop him?”
“I am,” I said.

Right! As always our heroic wizard seems to be on his own and with Murphy out of the picture things seem to get even more heated than usual. (No pun intended, I swear! ;-P) Worst timing ever, but Murphy deserved a holiday even if it’s with Kincaid. I told you to grab that amazing woman as long as you could, Harry! Why are you so freaking stubborn? *lol* Let’s hope you’ll learn from that mistake and won’t be that foolish again. You know Thomas is right and even though he seemed like the irresponsible sort at first I think he might actually have a leg up when it comes to matters of the heart. (and wisdom!! He’s really very self-aware and intelligent.)

”Little brother,” he said, “I simply cannot get over how stupid you are at times.”
“Stupid? You just told me it was reasonable.”
“Your excuses are,” Thomas said, “but love isn’t.”
“We’re not in love!”
“Never gonna be,” Thomas said, “if you keep being all logical about it.”

YES Thomas! Someone had to tell him! XD In Harry’s defence: As always he has quite a lot to deal with and between the three necromaners Grevane, Crowl and Corpsetaker and their sidekicks Liver Spots, Kumori and Li Xian he’s more than just busy. Not to mention that old enemies like Mavra and a certain fallen angel show up in Chicago as well. He only has to figure out what’s up with the Erlking and how to stop them before the world goes to hell! Nothing new, right?!

”In the past I hadn’t seen so many people hurt and killed and terrorized by the same kind of power that damn well should have been making the world a nicer place, or at the least staying the hell away from it. I hadn’t made so many mistakes back then, so many shortsighted decisions, some of which had cost people their lives. I had been sure of myself. I had been whole.”

The good old times! Unfortunately Harry’s life has become pure chaos and with every book it gets even more dangerous and complicated. Of course he isn’t asking for trouble, it just always seems to find him. But don’t worry there are always some people that want to help him out and from Marcone up to Billy & Georgia right to two women named Shiela and Sue Harry has quite a lot of help. ;-P
The best assistant was Butters though and one of their interactions made for one of my favourite quotes of the Dresden Files so far:

”Listen to me,” I snarled. “We are not going to die!”
Butters stared up at me, pale, his eyes terrified. “We’re not?”
“No. And do you know why?”
He shook his head.
”Because Thomas is too pretty to die. And because I’m too stubborn to die.” I hauled on the shirt even harder. “And most of all because tomorrow is Oktoberfest, Butters, and polka will never die.”

I can’t!! *LOL* I’m still laughing like crazy because this is so accurate and funny!! Haha! It’s basically Thomas, Harry and Butters in a nutshell. And speaking of funny: I actually liked Ramirez as a character too and I hope we’ll see more of that cheeky wizard in future. He has some attitude and I kinda love him for it. Also it can’t hurt that Harry finally made some friends among the wizards. Heaven knows he needs all the support he can get in the White Council.

”I’m brilliant as well as skilled,” he said modestly. “It’s a great burden, all of that on top of my angelic good looks. But I try to soldier on as best I can.”

Still, Harry’s dark side is getting more and more prominent and I can’t help but wonder if he’ll lose the fight against it in one of the other books. He’s under a lot of pressure and every bad situation he gets into only seems to make it even harder to do the right thing. And not only that! The lines between good and bad are getting more and more blurry with each and every book as well. I kinda love how Butcher portrays that internal struggle and how he manages to tiptoe that fine line between right and wrong. There’s a lot of grey at the moment and it’s getting darker with each book. So I can’t help but wonder where Harry’s character is heading.

”So once again, let me be perfectly clear. If anything happens to Murphy and I even think you had a hand in it, fuck right and wrong. If you touch her, I’m declaring war on you. Personally. I’m picking up every weapon I can get. And I’m using them to kill you. Horribly.”

I mean he threatened Mavra and she was actually afraid of him! So this says a lot about how powerful and morally grey Harry is getting. Let’s hope we’ll never see his dark side because I’m sure it would be quite formidable and strong. >_<

All told this was another great Harry Dresden book and I’m looking forward to borrow “Proven Guilty” from my library once it opens up again. ;-)


Oh wow! This was quite something! O_o
I mean I'm used to Harry fighting against literally everything but *lol* this was really something else. XD These books are getting better and better and I get more and more worried about Harry...

Full RTC soon! Stay tuned! ;-)

So I figured since I already spoke about “The Dresden Files” in my last BookTube video, I might as well continue to read the series. *lol*

Yes, this is “Dead Beat” the seventh book I held into the cam. ;-)

I really want to know how this series continues and what Harry Dresden will have to fight next. Judging by the blurb it will be vampires and necromancers? Sounds juicy! XD
I’m ready for another round. ;-P

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Profile Image for Chris.
341 reviews975 followers
July 16, 2009
Book Twenty-five

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

"Hell's Bells" count - 13

While I was on my long commute to work (not so bad, as it affords me more reading time), I wondered what the Harry Dresden from Storm Front would have made of the Harry Dresden from this book. I imagine he probably would have been scared. And to be honest, I don't think I would be able to blame him.

There's necromancy afoot in Chicago, and as much as he doesn't want to be, Harry is in the middle of all of it. He's been charged by one of the most dangerous vampires in the world, Mavra of the Black Court, to find the missing volume of a series written by one of the most notorious necromancers in human history. When the necromancer Kemmler was alive, it took nearly the entire fighting force of the White Council of Wizards to stop him. Now his disciples are all hunting for the book, trying to be the first one to kill everyone in Chicago and become a god.

It's a mission he can't refuse. If he should do so, Mavra has evidence in her possession that would destroy the career of one of the people closest to Harry - Lt. Karrin Murphy of the Chicago Police Department. In the previous book, Murphy helped Harry take out a nest of Black Court vampires, killing several humans who had been enthralled to the vamps. These Renfields were human only by technicality, but a photograph of Murphy blowing one's head off would still be damning evidence. Should Harry not do what Mavra wants, the pictures would be released, and the one things that Murphy truly loves would be gone.

The point of this book, broadly, is Harry discovering that past actions still have present consequences, and that the choices he has to make are not always good ones. While Harry does save the day, he does so at a cost.

Harry has become legitimately scary by this book. His friends and his allies aren't sure about him anymore, either his motives or his sanity. The people who have stood steadfastly by him now find themselves afraid of him, and what he might do. And for good reason, really. Harry's been through a lot in the last few books. He's lost the woman he loves to the Red Court vampires, he very nearly lost his hand fighting Mavra and he's now absolutely terrified of using fire magic as a result. On top of all that, he's discovered that being someone's brother doesn't automatically mean you get to understand them. Or like them. Or be able to live with them.

So yeah, Harry's had it rough. With most humans, it's hard to see change from the inside, and I'm sure Harry doesn't think he's changed all that much. He knows he's gotten a little angrier, maybe a little more solitary, but from his point of view it's a logical progression. For people who aren't with him all the time - Billy the Werewolf, Mac the World's Best Tavern Owner, for example, the changes are drastic. And truly frightening. Harry's still a good guy, don't worry about that.

He's just not a nice guy.

This book is awash in general awesomeness, and introduces a lot of good new characters, both on the good and bad sides. My favorite is Waldo Butters, the Medical Examiner for the Chicago PD. He goes from being a slightly quirky ME who kind of believes in the weird and unusual (he spent 90 days under psychiatric evaluation when he refused to classify vampire remains as human). By the end of the book, he becomes positively heroic, and is a very good avatar for The Reader. We all like to believe that we would take the world of the supernatural, if it existed, in stride, but we probably would have reacted just like Butters did when he first saw things he was not prepared for - denial, disbelief and then abject terror. He comes around, though, as I'm sure all of us would.

We also get to meet a few of the remaining Wardens of the White Council. The war has gone very hard on their numbers, and there are very, very few available to fight a group of mad necromancers in Chicago. The Red Court has dealt them such heavy blows that it's not unreasonable to think that there's a mole in the White Council somewhere. Who it is, though, will have to wait for another book. Their numbers have been slashed, and they need every able-bodied magic user they can get. The deal they offer Harry for their assistance is a surprising one, but makes perfect sense. And it will play heavily into the books that follow.

There's also one genuine "Holy Shit" moment in this book. I won't tell you what it is, because that would just spoil the whole thing. All I can say is that it's at the end of chapter 38. You can't miss it.

From here on out, this is going to be a very different series. Bigger, darker, as if that were possible, building on the foundation of the previous books to make something far more elaborate and interesting. I can't wait to see what it ends up being.

"Polka will never die!"
- Waldo Butters, Dead Beat
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
February 20, 2020
Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Egon Spengler, Dr. Ray Stantz, Winston Zeddnire and Dana Barrett all sit watching The Big Lebowski and discussing Jim Butcher’s 2005 Harry Dresden novel Dead Beat – the seventh novel in the series.

Venkman: We have to drink every time we hear an F-Bomb.

All drink.

Egon: Butcher has done another outstanding job explaining and expounding upon his paranormal universe, this time returning to many of the themes he explored in his third Dresden novel Grave Peril involving ghosts and the undead.

Dana: Also interesting was the turn that Harry’s relationship with Karrin Murphy took, did not see that coming.

Winston: Neither did Harry.

All drink.

Ray: OK, so let’s break it down – Storm Front was about wizardry in general, setting up the storyline; Fool Moon was about lycanthropy, Grave Peril was ghosts, Summer Knight was about fairies, Death Masks was with vampires; Blood Rites, more vampires, especially the succubae white court and now we’re back to ghosts.

Dana: Though all of the novels have been liberally interspersed with mention of the arcane, building the Dresden universe.

Winston: And they’re just fun to read.

All drink.

Venkman: Was it me or did this one have a greater than normal Lovecraftian influence? And how cool is it to have a character called the Corpsetaker??

Egon: You’re correct, Peter, the old ones or a variation on that theme was brought up.

All drink.

Winston: Anyway, another very entertaining visit to the Dresden files and the storyline just keeps getting better.

All drink.

Profile Image for Daniel B..
Author 3 books32.5k followers
April 22, 2019
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,884 reviews5,810 followers
September 1, 2016

Harry Dresden fans, do you know you can get special Dresden character tea blends like this Butters one?? Just food, er, drink for thought.

Wonder what he tastes like. Corpses??

I'm 100% in love with the audiobooks for this series. James Marsters gets better and better with each book, and I'm addicted to listening to him narrate. His character vocal differentiation is improving with each story, and his inflections are spot on. He is amazing, really amazing.

In terms of plot, this one was pretty freaking convoluted. There were dozens of bad guys and insurmountable odds, but Jim Butcher pulled it off in the end. It wasn't my favorite of the series thus far, but I had an excellent time listening. The storyline was unlike any that I've heard before, and it was somewhat brilliant in it's level of complexity.

Bring on more Harry Dresden and more polka, please!
Profile Image for TS Chan.
719 reviews884 followers
August 2, 2020
4.5 stars.

The best book in the series so far, and this is saying a lot given that necromancy is not one of my favourite UF themes. Butcher managed to make necromancy more fascinating than usual by bringing in mysterious dark lore into the story. Moreover, he upped his character work yet again, both in Harry and a new favourite supporting character, Waldo Butters. I also loved that Mouse got a lot more screen-time in this instalment. The climactic action scene here was also one of the longest and most intense to date, but at the same time peppered with just enough humour that have worked so well in these books.
Profile Image for Jody .
202 reviews141 followers
February 4, 2020
“Normals looked at me like I was insane when I told people I was a wizard. People who were in the know didn’t look at me like I was insane. They looked at me like I was insanely dangerous.”

Harry Dresden is set again to hit the streets of Chicago in this seventh installment of The Dresden Files. It’s amazing to me how Jim Butcher manages to make each story in this series just as fun much as all the previous stories, sometimes even more so. In Dead Beat, Harry is set with the task of taking on some nasty necromancers known as the Heirs of Kemmler. Harry is one hell of a detective and no slouch when it comes to a magical battle. But, he’s up against enemies with some definite magical horsepower. Luckily, he has the help of his dog Mouse, the polka music playing mortician Butters, and several members of the white council along the way.

“When you do something stupid and die, it’s pathetic,” I said. “When you do something stupid and survive it, then you get to call it impressive or heroic.”

One of my favorite aspects of this series is you never know who is going to be Harry’s sidekick from book to book. You learn a lot about these characters as the story unfolds. Then, you sit down to read the next book and the same character may only have a short scene. It plays out a bit like a sitcom with characters ebbing and flowing as the story progresses, and a main reason this series is so addictive. It makes you want to know what has been going on with these characters since they last showed up in the story. If Harry is the heart of the series, then the side characters are the life blood that keeps the heart of the series pumping.

After 7 books in The Dresden Files, I am almost halfway through all the published books not counting the short story collections. Coming back to these books after being away for a few weeks always give me a nostalgic feeling. I tend to read 3 at a time and then take a small break before reading 3 more. But, it’s getting harder to leave each time I do this. I may have to read the final 5 or 6 books in a row to finish up the remainder of this series. I’m not sure how many books Butcher intends to write, but it’s going to be a damn sad day when I close the last page on the last book. Some books or series leave a lasting impression on the reader and I have a strong feeling this is one of those for me.

“there is a single hard, cold fact that faces everyone on earth: One day it’s going to be over. One day the sun will rise, the world will turn, people will go about their daily routines – only you won’t be in it. You’ll be still. And cold.”

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars ****
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,389 reviews1,470 followers
March 12, 2018
This entry in The Dresden Files has wizard Harry Dresden fighting necromancers to protect his friends and contemplating his own mortality. We also get to hang out with a few side characters and see a fascinating new side of Bob, who just happens to be one of my favorite characters in the whole series.

"Because that Kemmler was a certifiable nightmare," Bob said. ... That got my attention. Bob the skull was an air spirit, a being that existed in a world of knowledge without morality. He was fairly fuzzy on the whole good-evil conflict..." pg 39, ebook.

There's some ridiculousness and danger to the story, but mainly Harry-angst and the perpetual struggle against darkness.

"And despite every religious faith, the testimony of near-death eyewitnesses, and the imaginations of storytellers throughout history, death remains the ultimate mystery. No one truly, definitely knows what happens after." pg 30, ebook.

And a few old enemies, of course: "She laughed harder, and the sound of it spooked the hell out of me. ... There was no warmth in it, no humanity, no kindness, no joy. It was like Mavra herself..." pg 33, ebook.

Harry is still dealing with his disabled hand, which he burnt the heck out of in the last book. "I had a responsibility to keep that destructive strength in check; to use it to help people, to protect them. It didn't matter that I still felt terrified. It didn't matter that my hand was screaming with pain." pg 65, ebook.

Also, some of Harry's previous decisions about vampires and the Wizard Counsel have some serious consequences. But, anybody who's been reading this series for awhile, knew that that was only a matter of time.

And there's the small matter of a certain silver coin that Harry picked up a few books ago and buried under the concrete in his lab. But whatever is in the coin can't get out of the circle he put it in... right?

"I just keep getting more wounded and tired. ... I'm not some kind of superhero. I'm just me. And I didn't want any of this." pg 131, ebook.

If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend you start with the first book. The stories build on each other and become quite satisfying, in my opinion.

The ending of this one contains some ridiculousness that I was not prepared for, but after some thought about the series, I've decided that it doesn't matter.

There is very little Jim Butcher could write in here that I wouldn't like. Somewhere along the line, I've become quite a fan of The Dresden Files.

I didn't expect it. But that's the truth.
Profile Image for The Fantasy Review.
273 reviews201 followers
April 25, 2022
If it hadn’t been for the positive reviews for Dead Beat and the later books in Jim Butcher‘s The Dresden Files series, I probably wouldn’t have read another book in the series after Blood Rites. I am so glad that I did!

Dead Beat feels like The Prisoner of Azkaban of The Dresden Files: things are getting darker; the stakes are higher; and there are several threads that are yet to be rounded off so it feels like it will only get worse before it gets better for Harry Dresden.

You have to like Butters!
I loved the new characters in this fantasy book. Butters is fantastic and it was great to see a character other than Harry have a character arc within the plot.

His job description was a corny addition to the story which was brilliant. It wouldn’t be The Dresden Files without Jim Butcher making jokes like that.

Polka will never die!

The removal of Murphy from the book was a surprisingly good idea
We saw a new side of Harry as he worked alongside Butters – he became the closest to a hero figure in his own mind than he has ever done, and that’s a great step forward.

He is shedding his younger, brasher, hot-headed self and is becoming so much more. I am so excited to see him grow even more in the coming books considering some of the changes that occurred in this entry.

The main villains of the book were really good!
There were several of them and they all had their own motivations – however subtly different – and those nuances made Harry’s fight against them less monotonous than it could have been.

Harry is also fighting a part of himself which I found to be the most fascinating and page-turning aspect of the book, so I hope to see more of that.

There was only one negative
We knew that a certain villain was going to rear their heads again, and their threat was unique as it didn’t threaten Harry’s life but someone else’s – but that thread got lost in the rest of the book and it felt a little underwhelming at the end.

I am sure we will come back to that villain at some point, and I know that if there had been more it would have made the book a lot longer and would have felt a little much after everything that happened, but it still ended a little awkwardly.

Overall, though, Dead Beat is my favourite book of the series so far, and I can’t wait to catch up and read the newest entries soon!

View the full review at The Fantasy Review
Profile Image for Lindsey Rey.
286 reviews2,710 followers
August 20, 2015
This had one of the most creative and fun uses of magic I've ever seen without creating an entirely original magic system! Also some serious character development and story progression!! You rock, Jim Butcher!
Profile Image for Alex Nieves.
176 reviews666 followers
June 27, 2021
Full video review here: https://youtu.be/sVQRBT3rZqo

Another great Dresden book! I'm probably a broken record at this point but the series is excellent and people keep telling me that the next books are truly special. I loved how Harry felt the most damaged and sort of broken during moments of this one.

Everything going on with the White Council and the Red Court is super cool and that conflict has escalated significantly. I definitely see the scope of the story expanding and I'm excited to continue. Video review coming soon.
June 30, 2013
The chaotic events in his life may have Harry Dresden feeling Dead Beat...but his books have never been more energized!

As an accountant, when I have a bad day at work, it often means I spent hours poring through various mind-numbingly dull spreadsheets trying to rectify a discrepancy. Now here's Harry Dresden's version of a bad day at work. One of his most dangerous enemies has pictures that could destroy the life of Harry's closest friend and ally. In order to stop the evil vampire-sorceress Mavra from releasing the incriminating photos of Special Investigations director Karrin Murphy, Harry must bring Mavra something called "The Word of Kemmler". Harry has no idea what The Word of Kemmler looks like or even what it is, all he knows is that he's not the only one trying to find it. Three dark wizards who are more powerful than anything Harry has ever faced before are also seeking The Word and are more than willing to kill Harry if he gets in their way (in fact, at least two of them welcome the opportunity)! Add to that an ongoing war between the wizards' council and the vampire court, and a fallen angel trying desperately to ensnare Harry in her web, and you have the makings of a really bad day at work! Y'know, suddenly being an accountant doesn't seem so bad...

I was very exciting going into this book, as I knew that "Dead Beat" is where the larger story that was threaded throughout the earlier Dresden Files books really begins to unfold. The first novels of the Dresden Files were more stand-alone stories, with larger themes being introduced as the series went on, but "Dead Beat" is where many of those subplots begin to come together to make Harry's adventures one continuing epic drama! The war with the vampiric Red Court that began in "Ghost Peril", the debt Harry owes the Faerie courts from "Summer Knight", the bond with fallen angel Lasciel from "Death Masks", and the revelation of who Thomas is to Harry from "Blood Rites", all these events play a major role in this book, and it was a lot of fun to watch something that began as simple supernatural mysteries evolve into something so much more complex.

If you read any of the previous six books in the Harry Dresden series, you already know that you can count on plenty of excitement and humor, but this time around it's become apparent that Jim Butcher is truly growing as a writer. His fight sequences are now so beautifully detailed, they rival even R.A. Salvatore's! Also, Butcher really ups the ante in terms of action and suspense. The battles are larger in scale than ever before, including one involving zombies dueling with specters, and the grand finale features what may just be Harry's most epic moment to date. Also, the odds have never been more stacked up against Harry before, which made for a gripping tale. In addition, I noticed even Butcher's prose has matured. One sequence in which Harry describes seeing through the point of view of both predator and prey is so masterfully written, it's actually poetic. And then there's the twist...many an author has stumbled and fallen trying to yank the rug out from under the reader, but Butcher manages to come up with a moment that not only shocked me, but made complete sense when I thought back on previous events. Yes, almost everything I love about the Dresden books was bigger and better...almost...

As much as I enjoyed reading "Dead Beat", I found myself rolling my eyes far too many times to give the book a perfect score. For one thing, there's Butcher's annoying habit of turning Harry Dresden into...
You know who I'm talking about...that guy! The one who got a laugh once doing a weak Austin Powers impression and now feels the need to incorporate it into just about every conversation! In all fairness, a lot of Harry's witticisms work, but Butcher has a tendency to overdo it to the point where Harry stops being funny and starts getting annoying, and this book was no exception. Even Butcher himself seems to acknowledge this when he has another character tell Harry, "You're not nearly as funny as you think you are." I'm not trying to bash Butcher, as I really do think most of his humor works, but it does get tiresome when Harry has to be a complete wise-ass in every single situation (even in ones where he should be focusing on trying to save lives)!

I had some other minor grievances with this particular story. One was that Karrin Murphy was almost completely absent this time around. Murphy has always been one of my favorite characters, and her chemistry with Dresden worked brilliantly in previous novels, so I thought it was a rather odd choice by Butcher to leave her out of the book...especially considering Harry's whole reason for originally entering into the search for The Word is to protect Murphy's career! With so many things other things going on, Mavra's blackmailing of Murphy becomes little more than an afterthought, and I can't help but feel that this plot point would have been far more effective had Murphy and Mavra actually been in the book for more than a few pages. Instead of Dresden teaming up with Murphy, we get a "bromance" between him and medical examiner Butters, but Butters isn't nearly as charismatic as Murphy. Harry's half-brother Thomas is along for the ride as well, but as he doesn't really have much to do with the story and even disappears without a mention for several parts of the book, he doesn't really serve much more purpose than giving Harry a chance to get out a few more quips. Another minor grievance was one too many James Bond moments, where the villains have Harry completely at their mercy but inexplicably give him more than enough time to escape instead of just killing him when they get the chance...

Still, even with its minor faults, I would recommend this book to just about anyone who enjoys urban fantasy. If Butcher continues to grow as a writer, I see a lot of five-star reviews for the Dresden books in the future!

One last thing, I have a question I want to ask anyone who's read this book...if you haven't read "Dead Beat"yet, I urge you not to click on the spoiler, as it could potentially ruin the big twist for you...

Profile Image for Luffy (Oda's Version).
764 reviews763 followers
August 11, 2020
This seventh book in the Dresden Files series, took me on a roller coaster ride tread by many of the fans, yet managed to make the experience nearly pristine and virginal. The book was at first a slow starter, then became a precocious child, then became an overachiever, then, a late bloomer. The entire novel was the work of a workaholic, of that I'm sure.

The series follow a formula only in the broadest sense of the word. I wish to tell Jim Butcher to ditch his cliffhangers. I mean, by that, his tendency to put Dresden in a dead end and have him rescued by a providential arrival - here, once, by a Deus Ex Mafia. Not all such rescues are humdrum, though. When the hero is saved by Butters, it made for inspired writing. But I leave the benefit of the doubt to the author, who knows about his audience, more than I do, and knows on which side his bread is buttered.

Dead Beat is startlingly different in raw ideas, from its precedents. The vampires set the ball rolling, and referee the majority of the death counts, but they are mostly off screen. The one vampire in the book, Thomas, is there, is interesting, but does not help much. There are new and newish characters to make up for that. The Book Of Kemmler is a book within a book. The entire show runs round it. And one of the characters is fiction within a fiction.

The best thing about book seven is that the layers that form part of the novel are available at first reading. I took great enjoyment from it. Dresden's hero complex is dealt with, with care, restraint, artfulness, and thoughtfulness. The plot coupons and twists in the book are well timed. I think the reveals, which are different and self sufficient (not depending on previous ones), enhance the craftsmanship of the author, who, in retrospect, I'm seeing growing alongside his main character. All of the annoying twinges of previous books have been erased, at least in my book. If this book were a brochure, I'd buy everything in it. It's that good.
Profile Image for Lena K..
62 reviews130 followers
December 30, 2019
Polka will never die!

Such a stark comparison to the previous book. This one was the best I've read so far in the Dresden files. Sue killed it! Bob ruled. Butters is a hero. Thomas is fun. Harry is... well, Harry.
I missed Murphy in this one.

Over all, a great entry and I hope the next one will be just as good.
Profile Image for Audrey.
1,080 reviews167 followers
April 3, 2018
3.5 stars

It took me over two months to get this from the library; some punk had it and returned it over a month late.

“In the action business, when you don’t want to say you ran like a mouse, you call it ‘taking cover.’ It’s more heroic.”

The book begins on my birthday (cool, eh?) and ends on Halloween night: Harry has three days to prevent competing necromancers from using an obscure book to summon immense power that would kill thousands in the process, etc.

With necromancers comes …

… zombies!

Meanwhile, the coin Harry picked up a couple books back is starting to stir up trouble, and Harry is adjusting to having Thomas as a roommate. The biggest walk-on sidekick for this book is the ME, Waldo Butters. He’s a good character.

Harry sure meets a lot of gorgeous women in his line of work. It’s just as well he doesn’t get to do much more than look; he’d be insufferable then.

James Marsters has gotten so good at narrating the books! He does different voices of all kinds convincingly, and he doesn’t try to go super high-pitched for women’s voices.

P.S. This is the second book I’ve read in which . Of all the things to happen twice …
Profile Image for Ivan.
436 reviews284 followers
June 11, 2021
It's same old but at this point I'm used to it and at least I know what I get from each book and what I get is fun series if not good.

You can make a drinking game. Take a shot every time:

-There is fight near the beetle, it gets damaged and Dresden barely escapes in it.

-Dresden drools over some girl with graphic description of her curves

-There is deus ex machina rescue

by the book 4 you will probably be alcoholic but at least it will help with some more annoying parts of the series.

On the other hand what is was fun in previous books still works here. Banter is still fun, stories and mysteries still hold attention and status quo gets bit upset in last few books, albeit at snail pace.

In the end it's 3 stars. It probably would have been 2 but part where is awesome and and alone raises grade 1 star
Profile Image for Alex W.
119 reviews4 followers
September 15, 2022
This is probably my favorite Dresden installment yet.

However, it wasn’t just due to the plot, villains, action, or magic. While those were all excellent and some of the best of the series up to this point (neck and neck with Death Masks on a few of these for me), the biggest standout of this book by far was the character work, specifically Harry. Harry Dresden in Dead Beat is the best version of Harry I have read in the series so far and I am very excited to see how his character continues to develop in the coming books. We also spend much more time with a certain side character who I thought was a lot of fun to read and a great addition to the main cast of characters.

Overall, I am definitely still enjoying my time reading The Dresden Files and I would say Dead Beat is probably the strongest installment yet with an excellent plot, huge character moments, increased worldbuilding, and one hell of a final act.
Profile Image for Israt Zaman Disha.
192 reviews437 followers
June 29, 2017
“Son. Everyone dies alone. That's what it is. It's a door. It's one person wide. When you go through it, you do it alone. But it doesn't mean you've got to be alone before you go through the door. And believe me, you aren't alone on the other side.”

About this book, it's like any other book of Dresden Files just nastier. When you think things cannot get any worse, all hell break loose something happens to worsen everything. And I cannot help but be surprised at how much will Harry has and how far can he go with it.

Dresden never fails to entertain me. He also never fails to take me on a ride in the train of excitements. But apart from everything I have taken a serious liking for this guy and it really pains me to see him fighting while he is hurt and all of his limbs are not fully functional. Hopefully when I meet him next I will see him hale and hearty.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,929 reviews386 followers
August 30, 2017
Best Dresden book so far! I approve of the zombie T. rex Sue and all the mayhem that she causes!

Harry, like any good noir detective, is a bit soft-headed when it comes to a dame. This gets him in trouble in every book and this one is no exception. His wry sense of humour helps him deal with the situations that his instinctive responses get him embroiled in.

At least in this installment, Harry gets to know members of the White Council better (and vice versa), finds out that he has fans among the younger wizards, and gets to communicate with an important person from his past.

He also becomes a personal coach for a new friend, Butters. Polka will never die!!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,107 followers
April 15, 2023
I will just say one important thing and then I'll just ramble.


And with that, my ramble is this:

This is a re-read and this book happened to be the first one in the series in which I transformed from a happy fan to a rabid fan. Practically everything about it was fantastic, from the necromancer plotline to the Denarian plotline to Butters to Mouse to Polka and all the way back again to the necromancers.

I won't spoil anything, but I will say that I did cry a bit. It may not be from tears of sadness. It may be from sheer hilarity.

That being said, this is a FANTASTIC book. I'm also thrilled to remember that there are a few others later on that are even BETTER. Happy times. :)
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,800 reviews488 followers
March 26, 2020
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a great time with my re-read of this book! I originally read this series years ago and enjoyed it so much that I decided to pick up the audiobooks to experience it all over again. I have been slowing working my way through the series for a second time often working a book into my reading schedule when I need a bit of a lift. This seemed like the perfect time for a little Harry Dresden and it proved to be a wonderful escape.

Although this was a re-read, there were a lot of things about this book that I didn't remember anymore. There were a few stand out sections of the book that I was able to recall and enjoyed being able to revisit them. This is the seventh book in The Dresden Files series which is a series that really should be read in order since the character relationships grow and change over the course of the series.

This was a pretty exciting installment in the series. Harry is put in charge of watering Karin's plants while she is on vacation and ends up working to save her reputation for a ruthless vampire. There are some powerful forces searching for a very powerful item that has the potential to do a lot of damage. Harry has to battle several necromancers and their zombies with only the help of his brother and a polka playing mortician. There were some pretty big scenes in this book and I really appreciated Harry's interactions with Sue.

James Marsters brings so much to this story. His narration is really top-notch and I found this book to be a joy to listen to. He does a fantastic job with a wide range of character voices in the series and I love how consistent he has been throughout the series. He is able to add a lot of emotion and excitement to the story through his reading. I believe that I enjoyed this book a bit more during my re-read than I did the first time largely due to his narration.

I would recommend this book to others. This is a smartly written story that is filled with wonderful characters, intense action, a bit of humor, and an interesting plot. I cannot wait to continue with my re-read of this exciting series!

Initial Thoughts
This was a re-read for me. It has been quite a few years since I first read this book and while I remember some key scenes, my memory is poor enough that it was almost like reading it for the first time. Marsters does a fantastic job with the narration and the story was really exciting. I am looking forward to tackling the next book in the series very soon.

Book source: purchased
Profile Image for Meg.
342 reviews6 followers
December 19, 2018
10/30/13: The one with lots of necromancers. Also the one where the series really solidly shifts into higher gear, in my opinion.

8/25/11: I noticed something about this character last night that I think speaks well of Butcher as a writer: he's managed to write a somewhat sexist character but not sexist books. It's not just because the character admits to being somewhat sexist, but because it's just the main character who has those views. The narrative and development of the supporting characters is actually perfectly decent. It's a fine line, but it's there, and instead of being insulting, it just makes the character deeper.

As an example, I read a review here complaining about how the author always comments on women's boobs. But the author never does that - the character does. The dude clearly has a thing about boobs. And that's not the end of the world, because even the characters who look good in tight shirts are rarely depicted as two-dimensional bimbos. Hell, even the bimbos are fairly three dimensional. It's not that uncommon to find books where the entire thing treats women as window dressing, or where everyone (except maybe the bad guys) are wonderfully gender enlightened, but it's kind of interesting to find something more in the middle. It feels real. Thankfully, I find Dresden to be an interesting enough character that his somewhat obnoxious, teenage boy traits don't bother me. I could imagine being friends with him in real life and making fun of him for being a chivalrous ass sometimes, but still liking him.

And like I said at the beginning, I think this speaks well of the author.
Profile Image for seak.
434 reviews473 followers
June 10, 2020
Pretty much on-par with Blood Rites. I had a good time, though definitely felt that it was my second Dresden book in a row. I usually try to break them up because I end up feeling trapped if I read a whole series all together (I'm crazy I know), but even moreso with Harry's constant descriptions of his foibles as if he needs to describe them all to new people in the 7th installment of the series!

Other than that, I had lots of fun and a good break from vampires, which I've felt have been a bit overused though they still make up a good part of the arc of this book. Funny thing about something that happened later in the book -

There's not much more to say at this point in the series if everything's about the same. Still good and these last two have been an improvement since the first 3 or 4 books.

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)
Profile Image for Trish.
2,021 reviews3,438 followers
April 15, 2023


Harry was riding a friggin dinosaur!

Karrin has gone on vacation. Yep, that Karrin. On Vacation. With a certain assassin we know. Thank goodness I wasn't invested in her and Harry becoming an item. But that is only some emotional gut punch before Harry is forced into confronting a number of necromancers who are in a race to becoming a (minor) god. The problem is that he can't even call for help because there is something he didn't know about the war the White Council is finding itself in and boy, was THAT a shock to the system!

So much going on in this book. And I can hardly talk about any of it because I don't want to spoiler people too much. Suffice it to say that I loved the previous installments but this one was knocking it out of the park! Emotional tension, chickens coming home to roost, a battle better than the final confrontations in other series despite this not having been all THAT much in the context of this series and later battles (apparently), furious and frightening magic (on Halloween no less), love in all its forms, impossible odds, fateful decisions, awesome magical beings (the Earlking amongst others!) ... this book had EVERYTHING.

I realized that there are sooo many characters I care deeply for. From Butters - who definitely was THE BEST here - to the dog called Mouse who is definitely more than he seems to not one but two wardens who are actually nice (I know, I was shocked too) to Sue. I was soooo apprehensive during the last few chapters, it was almost ridiculous.

A fantastic book, hands down the best in the series so far, that will be very hard to beat.
Profile Image for David.
96 reviews45 followers
January 17, 2022
I have been critical and a little impatient at times with this series, but man Jim Butcher really busted out as an outstanding author on this bad boy!

From the beginning, there just seemed to be a brand new shine to Butcher’s writing style. The same old wonderful Harry Dresden with his hilarious off color comments throughout. Along with plenty of quirky lovable characters that may as well have come straight out of a Scooby Doo cartoon!

Butcher just upped his game big time. I absolutely loved everything about Dead Beat!

Bob, Mouse, Sue the undead Dino, Butters, Polka (never dies), Necromancers, zombies, making out with Fallen Angels ……

I just couldn’t get enough of this one. ❤️

So, on to the next one! 😀👏🏻👍🏻

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