May 252018

Cover of Brief Cases by Jim Butcher.Locus: This new collection in the Dresden Files series offers 12 entertaining stories, some real gems. Three of my favorites, previously collected as Working for Bigfoot, are relatively light stories about Harry and a sasquatch who needs help for his half-human son. Several take the viewpoint of characters other than Harry Dresden, with a couple of standouts featuring Harry’s apprentice Molly, who gets all dressed up to rescue Harry’s brother Thomas from svartalves and Fomor in “Bombshells” and then gets sent off to Alaska in her role as Winter Lady of the Fae for the more harrowing “Cold Case” with Lovecraftian overtones. “Day One” finds medical examiner Waldo Butters on his first mission as a Knight of the Cross, battling necromancers in ways that involve his love of gaming and polka.

The collection wraps up with the one original tale, the charming novella “Zoo Day”, about Harry trying to be a dad, with a day at the zoo with his daughter Maggie and his magical dog Mouse, with everyone doing their best to make it a good outing until magical threats interfere. First Harry narrates, as he goes off to deal with a teen warlock, then Maggie takes over in an encounter with “creeps” only kids can see, and then Mouse tells about a battle of his own – and only Mouse is really aware of what the others are doing, too, providing a charmingly different viewpoint that sums it all up nicely.

Butcher adds some insight into his process with amusing and revealing notes on the stories and characters.