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SIDE JOBS by Jim Butcher Kirkus Star

SIDE JOBS

Stories from the Dresden Files

By Jim Butcher

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-451-46365-4
Publisher: ROC/Penguin

Eleven tales, 2002-2010, complete with author's notes and chronology, embellishing the exploits of Chicago's Harry Dresden, licensed PI and professional wizard, ranging from an apprentice piece written two years before the Dresden Files series achieved liftoff to an unpublished novelette set hours after the end of Changes (2010).

All the regular cast members feature—Bob the Skull, long-suffering Karrin Murphy of the Chicago PD, Harry's vampire half-brother Thomas, Molly the apprentice, Harry's werewolf allies Billy and Georgia—as Harry (or, occasionally, somebody else) fends off attacks from an ever-lengthening list of evil supernatural entities. Jenny Greenteeth of the sidhe, for instance, abducts Billy the Werewolf's bride to be, Georgia. Harry helps Thomas combat another vampire, while gleefully demolishing a shopping mall. A young wife turns out to have been abducted by a son of Grendel the monster (it's breeding time). Poor Harry tries to take a day off, only to get involved with psychic parasites, as Molly sets his lab on fire. Another tale stars Thomas, with Harry convinced that his magically disguised brother is the bad guy. A renegade priest threatens a former Knight of the Cross. Enchanted beer paradoxically brings Murphy and Dresden together while forcing them apart. Finally, there's the splendid, aforementioned original novella. In all, the book is of no great depth, but it's witty, fast-moving and well worked-out. Butcher's yarns go along with the standard supernatural repertory while providing enough twists to keep things fresh and intriguing.

Sidelights on the Dresden mythos, which no true fan will want to miss.