Paranormal wizard investigator Harry Dresden practices in Chicago, in between the world of the normal and a world of vampires, werewolves, faeries, demons, and monsters. Most people don’t believe in in magic, but luckily Harry has a few friends who do. When a Black Court vampire threatens one of those friends unless Harry can help him get the Word of Kemmler, Harry must first figure out who Kemmler is, and why six necromancers are also after the same thing.

I am not exaggerating when I say The Dresden Files has a cult following. It’s a humorous, fun, and suspenseful tale of a self-deprecating wizard who can’t catch a break. In addition to the serial adventure-of-the-week plot in each book, Harry’s past, motivations, allies, and allegiances are slowly developing into a rich tapestry. Actions from previous books are proving to have disastrous consequences, and Harry is having a hard time coping with his losses, so much so that his friends are starting to worry about him.

Sure, Harry still has a tendency to tell too many bad jokes, and make an annoyingly dated comments about being “chivalrous” toward women while checking out their boobs, but these are attributes that describe Harry himself, not the tone of the books.

Dead Beat introduces a few new characters, the best of whom is Waldo Butters, a medical examiner who is better with dead people than the living. He is also a coward who struggles to keep up with Harry’s adventures, but proves himself  in a satisfying way in the end. Mouse, Harry’s puppy, has grown up somewhat and proves himself a worthy, dedicated, and adorable sidekick. Plus, Harry rides a zombie Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton from the Chicago Natural History Museum.

Highly recommended for fans of urban fantasy! The audiobooks, read by James Marsters, are fantastic!

“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.”