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.
Karrin Murphy is the head of S. I. 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…
“Polka will never die!” I shouted at him. “Say it!”
He swallowed. “Polka will never die?”
“P-p-polka will never die,” he stammered.
I shook him a little. “Louder!”
“Polka will never die!” he shrieked.
“We’re going to make it!” I shouted.
“Polka will never die!” Butters screamed.
“I can’t believe I’m hearing this,” Thomas muttered.
Dead Beat is amazing for a great many reasons, not only because Dresden ends up riding a zombie t-rex through Chicago. Though that was really, really awesome. You’d think they’d try and work that into the TV series somehow, BUT THEY DIDN’T!
This is a book that changes things. I feel like I might’ve said that before in my reviews for this series. But it’s true. And each book has that feeling, where by the end nothing is the same as it was before. Only this time, I really, really mean it. Until the next book, probably. Or the book literally named Changes.
And even before the glorious end of Dead Beat, the book was just different. This is the first book I can really remembering thinking to myself reading “Wow, Butcher really combined everything we’ve learned so far into one book.” This has little pieces of everything in one book, and they all fit together great.
And it is different because Murphy isn’t around. Murphy went on vacation, and now Harry doesn’t have backup to help protect Chicago from what ends up being an impressive problem. The disciples of Kemmler are in town, and they’re a nasty lot of necromancers. And one of them is threatening Murphy to get Dresden to do what they want.
Only Dresden isn’t alone. He has his brother, Thomas. He has Bob. He has Billy and the rest of the werewolves looking to help him, however he needs. He has the White Council who would help Dresden if he calls them in, which he is reluctant to do in order to protect Murphy. He has Butters, the helpful morgue tech. He even has help he doesn’t even know is helping him (which is hilarious to read on a reread)!
Dead Beat just pulled greatness off. It is hilarious and fun. It is entertaining as hell. There are a hundred things I could talk about, but what it all boils down to is that Butcher has written an amazingly interconnected series with great characters, great worldbuilding, and incredibly fun times.