Jul 10, 2011

Book Review–Side Jobs by Jim Butcher

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher is a collection of previously published short fiction set in Butcher’s Dresden Files world. 

If you haven't red any of the Dresden Files, it’s hard boiled detective fiction meets urban fantasy. Though rather tame compared to the wonderful Horn by Peter Ball.

Harry Dresden is the wise cracking private eye, who always seems to be on the wrong side of lucky.  Of course being a wizard, modern conveniences seem to take a dislike to him – his car requires cajoling and don’t even think about trying to use a mobile phone around him. 

Like all good Detective Fiction there’s damsels that need saving1, and sidekicks that come in the form of a spirit imprisoned in a skull and no nonsense policewoman called Murphy. 

Side Jobs brings together 10 previously published short stories and one new novella set after the events that occur in the book Changes .  Each story is introduced by a short note from Jim Butcher, often commenting on which anthology it originally appeared in and some thoughts on the creative process for each work.

As such the book is probably a must collect for Dresden Fans, particularly if you came late to the scene and want to collect everything published about him.
If you don’t mind having some facts spoiled and missing out on the building tension between Murphy and Dresden, then the collection an excellent way to get a taste of Dresden's world and Butcher’s writing for the uninitiated.

My favourites
Heorot – which features a hat tip to Beowulf and some sexual humour verging on the adolescent. I will never look at fire extinguishers the same way again.

The Warrior – A look at the Christian faith, through the character of Michael a former Knight of the Cross and the struggle experienced by those who confuse their will with that of Almighty
Aftermath – this one is told from Murphy’s point of view and expands her and Dresden’s relationship.  This one had a tinge of HP Lovecraft, without succumbing to pastiche.
Representative of the Dresden Files series I’d recommend it for hard-core fans and those who might want to test the waters before launching into a 13 book series.

1. Indeed I have seen some criticism of Butcher is regards to the underlying sexism in his storylines.

This book was a review copy provided by the publisher.

If you are interested in checking out the world of the Dresden Files, there’s:
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