I took a break from children’s literature today to finish up an fantasy anthology by Jim Butcher.
As a reader, I enjoy learning more about the worlds in which individual books and series take place. I suppose you could say I am a backstory junkie. I also love fantasy and crime shows. Side Jobs fit into that perfectly. These stories and novellas coincide with The Dresden Files. Many of the stories have appeared in different anthologies or on Butcher’s website. The stories span the length of the Dresden chronology with “A Restoration of Faith” coming before Storm Front and “Aftermath”, a novella original to this book coming directly after the events of Changes.
Two of the stories in Side Jobs feature narrators other than Harry. “Back Up” is a novella about Thomas Raith, vampire and Harry’s half-brother. It has one of my favorite quotes in it. “Harry’s a Wizard. A genuine, honest-to-goodness wizard. He’s Gandalf on crack and an IV of Red Bull, with a big leather coat and a .44 revolver in his pocket.” This novella covers a lot of what Harry doesn’t know – from White Court business to the ugly side of a case that could have went a lot worse. Thomas trying to get information out of Bob the skull is pretty amusing as well. “Aftermath” is narrated by Karrin Murphy, whose anguish over recent events is very real. She has to solve a supernatural case without Harry’s assistance.
The Alphas, former college students who learned to turn themselves into wolves, show up in a number of stories, markedly in the rather disastrous events the day of Billy and Georgia’s wedding, in “Aftermath”, and in “Day Off”. Michael, former bearer of one of the swords, features in the Warrior. His daughter Molly, Harry’s apprentice, makes a few appearances as well.
I enjoyed reading how the different stories came about in Dresden’s notes before each story. It becomes clear why some of them had the themes that they did. “Day Off” was for an anthology where authors of supernatural and horror fare tried a bit of comedy.
I have not yet read the entire series, but I am very much looking forward to reading Ghost Story after reading “Aftermath”.