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Jim Butcher is a bestselling author and martial arts enthusiast. His resume includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least 200 years ago, and he turned to writing because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He lives with his family in Independence, Missouri.
Fantasy short story compilations centered on a theme have become the rage in recent years, leading authors like Butcher and Charlaine Harris to produce a wealth of in-between-the-books shorts that fill in gaps for their famous characters. Last year, Harris released A Touch of Death, the collected stories of psychic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse, and Butcher follows suit here with this anthology about wizard PI Harry Dresden. Die-hard fans who can't wait for next year's Ghost Story will want to rush to the final novella, "Aftermath," starring Harry's friend Karrin Murphy, but there are many others here worth reading, like "Day Off" from the comic collection Blood Lite, "The Warrior," from Mean Streets, and an early tale, "Vignette." Adding value to this title are Butcher's introductions to each story, filling the reader in on its place in the Dresden-verse time line and offering insight into the author's intentions. Verdict Public libraries already investing in the series should buy this; it's even worth buying for short story fans, as each piece can stand alone.-Stacey Comfort (Rottiers), Dexter Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Fans of Butcher's long-running and bestselling urban fantasy series featuring Chicago wizard PI Harry Dresden were stunned by the concluding events of the 2010 novel Changes. They'll probably want to skip ahead to the last of this collection's 11 stories, "Aftermath," set just hours after the end of that book. With Dresden's fate uncertain, it's his longtime ally, Sgt. Karrin Murphy, who must help find a kidnapped werewolf. This entry is the collection's strongest, full of powerful emotion. The rest of the book is a mixed bag, ranging from Butcher's first attempt at short fiction-"a novice effort" that "wasn't up to par for professional publication"-to more recent tales set around and between the novels. First-timers will be lost, and this uneven volume mostly makes the case that Butcher's talent is best displayed in longer form. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.