It’s been four years since we’ve seen a new escapade from Harry Dresden in the paranormal filled Chicago, Illinois created by Jim Butcher. But as of June 5, 2018, fans can dive back into that world with Brief Cases, a new short fiction collection from the Dresden Files.
Brief Cases is the second short story collection (following Side Jobs in 2010) in The Dresden Files and collects 11 previously released stories with one new novella, “Zoo Day.” I’m not normally a fan of short story collections, especially when I’ve already read all the stories. But there’s something about the world and characters that Jim Butcher has crafted that makes me happy to re-read everything. (It may also have something to do with the anxious wait for the next novel in the series which as yet doesn’t have a release date.) Brief Cases also provides the stories in a logical chronological order with additional information from Butcher to help place the stories within the broader timeline.
I hadn’t read all the stories previously (even aside from the brand new one), so I cherished the new material. The Dresden Files are one of my favorite paranormal series and I recommend them to everyone. And I also always recommend them as an entry point into the world of audio books (Seriously, if you’ve been considering audiobooks but don’t know where to start or if you love audiobooks but haven’t don’t The Dresden Files, do yourself a favor and give them a listen). I loved the whole collection of stories, but I have my favorites.
The ones dealing with Bigfoot, also known as River Shoulders, were extremely entertaining and have a bit more meaning as Harry’s story and life has progressed. There is a story that deals with the Curse of the Billy Goat which was extremely entertaining for someone who has been to Wrigley Field and is a Cubs fan. There is a story from Molly’s point of view where you can begin to understand how much the events in Mexico with the Red Court (and everything afterwards) affected her. It’s actually a great snapshot into someone coping with mental illness and trauma (and the support of her friends). I was perhaps most excited to read a story from Butters’s point of view. Butters is one of my absolute favorite characters and I love that he has grown into such an important part of Team Dresden. The collection also includes a short tale about Harry’s civic responsibility of jury duty – highly entertaining (much more so than most actual stints of jury duty).
The new novella, “Zoo Day”, tells a story that was hinted at in the last Dresden book (and in Butters’s story) – Harry is taking his daughter to spend a day at the zoo. I found this story particularly interesting because we get the same story from three different viewpoints: Harry, his daughter, and his dog. This is the first time we get to view the world from Maggie’s and from Mouse’s eyes. “Zoo Day” provides a lot of interesting information about both Maggie and Mouse and gives us hints at more of the trauma that is sure to face Harry in time.
This collection is a great introduction for new readers while also a nostalgic return to the world for previous fans. And it is a delicious tease into what may come. Who else wants Peace Talks now? Until we get the next full length novel, let’s enjoy the magic of Butcher’s shorter forays into Harry’s complicated world.
Brief Cases is available everywhere as of June 5, 2018.
About Brief Cases
The world of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is rife with intrigue–and creatures of all supernatural stripes. And you’ll make their intimate acquaintance as Harry delves into the dark side of truth, justice, and the American way in this must-have short story collection.
From the Wild West to the bleachers at Wrigley Field, humans, zombies, incubi, and even fey royalty appear, ready to blur the line between friend and foe. In the never-before-published “Zoo Day,” Harry treads new ground as a dad, while fan-favorite characters Molly Carpenter, his onetime apprentice, White Council Warden Anastasia Luccio, and even Bigfoot stalk through the pages of more classic tales.
With twelve stories in all, Brief Cases offers both longtime fans and first-time readers tantalizing glimpses into Harry’s funny, gritty, and unforgettable realm, whetting their appetites for more to come from the wizard with a heart of gold.
The collection includes:
- “Curses”, from THE NAKED CITY, edited by Ellen Datlow
- “AAAA Wizardry”, from the Dresden Files RPG
- “Even Hand”, from DARK AND STORMY KNIGHTS, edited by P. N. Elrod
- “B is for Bigfoot”, from UNDER MY HAT: TALES FROM THE CAULDRON, edited by Jonathan Strahan. Republished in WORKING FOR BIGFOOT
- “I was a Teenage Bigfoot”, from BLOOD LITE 3: AFTERTASTE, edited by Kevin J. Anderson. Republished in WORKING FOR BIGFOOT.
- “Bigfoot on Campus”, from HEX APPEAL, edited by P. N. Elrod. Republished in WORKING FOR BIGFOOT.
- “Bombshells”, from DANGEROUS WOMEN, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
- “Jury Duty”, from UNBOUND, edited by Shawn Speakman
- “Cold Case”, from SHADOWED SOULS, edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie Hughes
- “Day One”, from UNFETTERED II, edited by Shawn Speakman
- “A Fistful of Warlocks”, from STRAIGHT OUTTA TOMBSTONE, edited by David Boop
- “Zoo Day”– brand-new novella, original to this collection
About Jim Butcher
A martial arts enthusiast whose résumé includes a long list of skills rendered obsolete at least two hundred years ago, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher turned to writing as a career because anything else probably would have driven him insane. He lives mostly inside his own head so that he can write down the conversation of his imaginary friends, but his head can generally be found in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Jim is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera novels, and the Cinder Spires series, which began with The Aeronaut’s Windlass. Find out more about Jim online at www.jim-butcher.com.