Brief Cases: The Dresden Files By Jim Butcher
The Man In Black
It has been a long time since bestselling author, Jim Butcher wrote about my favorite of his characters. Author to the Code Alera series, the author first hit pay dirt writing about Chicago's only wizard private eye, Harry Dresden in The Dresden Files, a series that has stayed close to my heart over the last decade.
Protecting Chicago from the likes of ghouls, vampires, were-creatures and worse, Dresden backed with his team of a holy warrior appointed with a magic blade by the almighty, a tiny but fierce police officer, and a cast of other friendly supernaturals, Harry finds himself in plenty of trouble over the series prompting Butcher to fill in between books with Brief Cases, a collection of stories taking places between the books, this time offering a never before published tale.
As Harry comes into himself from a young wizard after the death of his parents, he finds that learning to be a wizard is more than mere tricks and that the supernatural world often crosses over into the real world. As part of the Wardens', Harry is to protect his region from the supernatural that prey on the human population of Chicago, leading him to both some terrible events over the course of the stories that cost him friends and family. Finding out that he has a half sibling that is of the White Court of vampires, or a secret daughter he never knew he fathered, are only some of Dreden's more mortal concerns, but it brings humanity to the wise cracking man cloaked in a leather duster and cowboy hat.
Protecting the population of Chicago from vampires, werewolves, and more fairies, Harry Dresden has done his share of fighting evil.
The Bigfoot's Son
With twelve stories included in Brief Cases, Butcher writes about some of the minor characters that help bring Harry's world to life from both the perspective of the narrator of the man in black himself, and some of the friends and acquaintances we get to know through his adventures.
Three of the stories involved focus on the cases giving to him by a Bigfoot to protect his half human son, Irwin who is relentlessly bullied by the human and supernatural world and they have figured out he is a scion and try multiple times to suck away his life force.
In his first story, Harry finds Irwin in a Chicago boarding school where he is being bullied by two students and coach for Harry to discover that the boys that are tormenting Irwin are more than what they seem. Harry helps Irwin stand up for himself and learn that violence isn't always the solution for dealing with our enemies- something that surprises even Harry as he is more shoot first and ask questions later.
In another tale, Irwin is having his life force sucked away and Harry is again on the case trying to protect the teen in the boarding school infirmary and trying to hit on the very pretty attending nurse.
By the college years, Irwin has found himself caught up with a lovely woman that doesn't know that is she is White Court Vampire; a succubus, that preys on the life force of humans and other beings feeding through sexual energy. Harry knowing what damage can be done through his own relationship with his half brother, Thomas and the woman he loves; Harry tries to save Irwin from the clutches of the vampire before she comes into her own and accidentally kills her love.
Irwin eventually discovers he is a Bigfoot from Harry and meets his father that has been protecting him from a far all this time through appointing Harry.
Several of the tales follow the Bigfoot's son, Irwin, a half human scion, that has no idea that his archaeologist mother had fallen in love with a Sasquatch of the Wisconsin forests where Native Americans had taken in the beast.
A Cold Case In Faery
Another of the stories in Brief Cases deals with Harry Dresden's foes the fairies.
While even the most innocent of their world, such as Toot, who often supplies Harry and his companions information in exchange for pizza in the novels, the only presence of the Fey in the collection of stories, is a case involving the Winter Court.
While we learn in the novels that the vampires have various courts and their powers and appearance are all subject, the Fey in the Dresden Files also have their separate but equal courts, of Summer and Winter.
While beautiful on the outside to humans, the fairies are anything but friendly and trust worthy and in fact, Dresden is tricked into serving as the new knight to one of the courts in the series in exchange for information.
The fairies of The Dresden Files are never to be trusted and only out for whatever works in their favor, as Harry learns time and time again but he never is smart enough to keep getting into contracts with them either as they are powerful beings that hold many alliances in the supernatural world.
Like most universes the Dresden Files is no stranger to the trickery of the Fey as they try to trap Harry into contracts serving their respective courts. While the queens and ladies of Summer and Winter Courts wield great power, Harry sometimes has no choice but to take the alliance even though it will later come back to haunt him.
Another story is Brief Cases deals with a emphatic woman with several young children and a cop brother that doesn't believe for a moment that Harry is what he seems. Traveling to her home, Harry senses there is a presence of Boogeyman taking the form of their aunt so it can find a way in to influence the children.
Finding that another of the children shares their mother's gift and is also an empath,Dresden knows that to save the young children and their mother, he will have to keep an eye on the child that is causing the Boogeyman to cross over into their world. Such a powerful child could be the opposite of everything that the Wardens' stand for, a child that will use magic to create havoc and destruction- a Warlock.
Dresden knows first hand the power of the Warlock and how they are looked down upon as he was suspected to be one himself in his youth.
Now it is up to Harry to save this child and keep a watch over her in the same fashion as his apprentice he had taken in for the same reasons after she had begun to use her magic without realizing it to hurt other people.
How To Train Your Warden
While Harry Dresden is a fair man doing what is right for the magic and human world, he has his flaws and spends plenty of time in The Dresden Files breaking the rules when loves, family, and friends are at stake.
Written as a natural enemy to the Wardens', they don't trust Harry Dresden after he was first suspected to be a warlock as a young child- but eventually through no choice of their own, he climbs their ranks and actually takes on training some young wardens, and takes a delinquent apprentice that should have been set to death for her crimes.
Harry is a flawed character with much more humanity and sarcasm that most authors dare pack into a fantasy mystery combo, and I was sad to see the series end but the release of another story collection still brings hope that maybe there are more tales to tell in this universe yet.