20/40: Dead Beat (The Dresden Files #7, by Jim Butcher, narrated by James Marsters)


Dead Beat

The Dresden Files #7

by Jim Butcher

narrated by James Marsters

15 hours, 8 minutes

Book published by Roc in 2006

Audiobook published by Penguin Audio, 2010

WHO: Harry Dresden, wizard and licensed detective…

WHAT: deals with the threat of necromancers…

WHERE: who have come into Chicago…

WHEN: on Halloween (when the threshold between the mortal and preternatural world is low) – and incidentally also Harry’s birthday…

WHY: to cast a mega-spell that will create a demi-god of one of the necromancers…

HOW: by harnessing the power of dead spirits and following the Word of Kemmlar, a book of a very powerful past necromancer.

+ The Dresden Files is a terribly uneven series, but this is one of the better ones. Butcher has pared down the cast of characters to a manageable size and, nicely balanced the action and comedy.

+ The plot lines are always interesting in that they are creative, original and clever. C’mon! Zombies! Necromancers! A Fallen Angel! A dinosaur named Sue and… Mouse!

+ There were no obvious continuity errors, as past novels in the series tend to be fraught with.

But it must be said that Butcher also tends to dwell overmuch on the pathos of Harry and, the action scenes always require a bit of forgiveness on the part of the reader or listener in terms of choreography.


+ James Marsters has a wonderfully rich voice that lends itself directly to the character of Harry, meaning that the listener detects no delineation between the narrator and the character.

Over time, the distinctiveness of each in the cast of characters has leveled off (e.g. Bob seems to sound less British as the series continues.)

There is a neat plot twist involving one of the characters but the revelation falls a little flat. Because the scenes which would have teased the listener weren’t shaped to cue the listener with a little tell, or were underplayed, the twist is anti-climatic.


I purchased and dnloaded a digital copy of Dead Beat (by Jim Butcher; narrated by James Marsters) from the now defunct audiobook dnload web-site, weread4you.com on 11/23/2011. I loved their discounted prices and expanding selections, but always had a problem playing the files: At any given point during the listening experience, the audio would jump back to the beginning of the file playing or, ahead to the next file. I never did find a fix for this issue and had to deal with it several times during this listening experience. I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.

I have challenged myself to read forty books this summer. Many books will be backlist titles as I’m trying to clear the stacks; but I have no doubt that new releases will make their way in too! 😉


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