Brief Cases

Brief Cases

Brief Cases is the sequel anthology of Side Jobs, and will be released before Peace TalksSet to include the following stories:An exclusive novellette from the perspective of Maggie and Mouse.“Curses” — from The Naked City, edited by Ellen DatlowTakes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.“AAAA Wizardry” — from the Dresden Files RPG, published by Evil HatHarry teaches a g...

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Title:Brief Cases
Author:Jim Butcher
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Brief Cases Reviews

  • Montzalee Wittmann

    Brief Cases (The Dresden Files #15.1) by Jim Butcher is a book I requested from NetGalley and the review is voluntary. I have loved his books even before he had the TV show. I love the imagination, creativity, and the humor. This book is another one of those books! Several short stories creative characters and plots that kept me interested from beginning to the end. They also have just enough snark and wit! There were several stories about Bigfoot and a really great one about Dodge City and Mr.

    Brief Cases (The Dresden Files #15.1) by Jim Butcher is a book I requested from NetGalley and the review is voluntary. I have loved his books even before he had the TV show. I love the imagination, creativity, and the humor. This book is another one of those books! Several short stories creative characters and plots that kept me interested from beginning to the end. They also have just enough snark and wit! There were several stories about Bigfoot and a really great one about Dodge City and Mr. Earp. But in that last story there were wizards and strange creatures to ride on that did not sound like horses! That was my favorite. A fun read.

  • Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    Okay, a review... ah, screw it.

    I gave this compilation 5-stars even though I've heard a number of them before and some were better than others. Do you know why? Because I DID NOT want this audiobook to end. I LOOOOOOOVE the narrator of this series, the super, super talented

    , and it almost made me cry when

    was over. I MISSED this series. Write faster,

    . WRITE FASTER.

    Okay, a review... ah, screw it.

    I gave this compilation 5-stars even though I've heard a number of them before and some were better than others. Do you know why? Because I DID NOT want this audiobook to end. I LOOOOOOOVE the narrator of this series, the super, super talented

    , and it almost made me cry when

    was over. I MISSED this series. Write faster,

    . WRITE FASTER.

    I loved listening to

    narrate this short story. My chief complaint? I WANTED MORE! Too short, but extremely promising. I'd listen to an entire series of her Wild West adventures.

    I already listened to these stories in

    and I loved them then. Same rating. Still loved these short stories.

    Good, but not particularly memorable. Again, I just wanted more!

    Fun, fun, fun! Baseball fun. This was a great short.

    Jim Butcher did a great job narrating this! Loved hearing a story from Gentleman Johnnie Marcone's POV. I could use a whole book of this stuff. Very well done.

    LOVED Julia Whelan's narration and adored this new-to-me story from the POV of Molly. Exciting, fun, and dangerous enough to keep me on my toes. I want more, more, more stories from Molly's POV.

    Yes, yes, yes! Love you, Lady Molly.

    Very solid, awesome narration as always.

    Polka will never die!

    Loved this complex story, excellent reading. What a way to end!

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Hard to believe it has been four years since the release of the last Dresden Files book, and sure, fans might have a little longer to wait until Peace Talks, but for now, an anthology would tide me over quite nicely. Peace Talks is a collection of new and old (but mostly old) short fiction that takes place in the world of Harry Dresden, collected in one convenient volume. Together with the previous anthology Side Jobs, t

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Hard to believe it has been four years since the release of the last Dresden Files book, and sure, fans might have a little longer to wait until Peace Talks, but for now, an anthology would tide me over quite nicely. Peace Talks is a collection of new and old (but mostly old) short fiction that takes place in the world of Harry Dresden, collected in one convenient volume. Together with the previous anthology Side Jobs, these books give you a chance to catch up with all the stories if you haven’t had a chance to do so yet.

    A more detailed review of the contents:

    A FISTFUL OF WARLOCKS

    The opening story is a Western, as evidenced by its title, following Anastasia Luccio long before she has achieved the post of commander of White Council wardens. Riding in pursuit of a rogue warlock named Alexander Page, Luccio heads into Dodge City where she meets Wyatt Earp and teams up with him to take on a couple of necromancers.

    In his foreword for this story, Jim Butcher writes: “Some stories happen because a writer gets inspired by some wild idea that needs expression. Some stories are carefully put together as part of a greater whole. And some stories you write because a professional friend asks you if you want to contribute to an anthology, and it sounds like a really fun idea.” This third reason given is why I typically don’t tend to read “side stories” that are tacked onto a main series, preferring the “inspired” and “carefully put together” ones instead. Plus, with any series, I always seem to end up forming attachments to only a small number of characters, and as such, I find I have very little interest in novellas or shorts that feature the perspectives of other minor characters or people in the series universe.

    I’m guessing this is why I didn’t like this story as much as I’d hoped. To be honest, I barely remember Anastasia Luccio from the main series, and while meeting Wyatt Earp was kinda cool and on the whole this was a fun little story, A Fistful of Warlocks still had that “throwaway” vibe to it that makes me doubt it will stick in my mind for very long.

    B IS FOR BIGFOOT

    I had much better luck with B is for Bigfoot, which is also the first story of what is now known as Butcher’s “Bigfoot trilogy”, a trio of short stories featuring Harry Dresden and his interactions with the Sasquatch known as River Shoulders. In this one, Harry is hired to help Irwin Pounder, River Shoulders’ son who lives with his human mother. It seems lately that Irwin has been having some trouble at school, and Harry takes it upon himself to give the boy a talk about bullies. For such a short tale, this one had a lot of heart, and both River Shoulders and Irwin are great additions to the Dresden universe.

    AAAA WIZARDRY

    Originally included in the manual Dresden Files RPG: Core Rulebook Volume 2 – Our World, this short story shows Harry in a role of teacher to a group of young wardens. I liked how it featured another side of the character, though plot-wise it was a bit undeveloped. Since the tale was first published in an RPG rulebook about the many different factions, people, and creatures of the Dresdenverse, I didn’t really expect a lot from it, but I had hoped that it would be a bit more memorable.

    I WAS A TEENAGE BIGFOOT

    We’re back to River Shoulders and Irwin Pounder in this story, and I couldn’t be happier. This time, Irwin is a little older, attending the prestigious Saint Mark’s Academy for the Gifted and Talented. But his supernatural origins might have attracted some unwanted attention, so his mother Dr. Helena Pounder hires Harry to keep an eye on her son. Sure enough, when Irwin gets sick, Harry is not convinced that it’s just a simple case of mono. These Bigfoot stories are becoming the highlight of this anthology, and this one had a funny twist at the end too that had me laughing. I had a great time with this one.

    CURSES

    Set between Small Favor and Turn Coat, this story begins when a man walks into Harry’s office attempting to hire him to remove the curse that was supposed placed on the Chicago Cubs during the 1945 World Series. It was an interesting premise, but I just didn’t find myself too invested in the story, though I’m sure it would be immensely more fun for baseball fans or Chicago natives. At the very least, I got to learn some new things surrounding what is known as the Billy Goat Curse.

    EVEN HAND

    Set between Turn Coat and Changes, this story is told from the perspective of one of the series’ most notorious characters, the mob boss known as “Gentleman” John Marcone. Things begin in his office with a visit from Justine, who arrives with a child in tow, claiming that she is being pursued by the Fomor, a race of water-dwelling creatures. Justine wants protection from Marcone, who is about to turn her away until the leader of the Fomor himself crashes his headquarters, changing the situation. I’ll be honest; I was a never a big fan of John Marcone, even though he’s one of the most prominent characters of the Dresden Files series, having been around since the beginning. That said, I’ve always liked the complexity behind his personality and motivations, and this one did a nice job showing him operating in his own world.

    BIGFOOT ON CAMPUS

    And so ends the Bigfoot trilogy with this final River Shoulders story about Harry helping Irwin Pounder for the third time. Irwin is now all grown up and in college, playing on the football team, dating a pretty girl, and generally busy doing college student things. However, when it is discovered that Irwin’s girlfriend Connie Barrowill is a vampire of the White Court, Harry goes to let River Shoulders know that his son may be in danger. But as always, things are never as they seem, especially when it turns out Connie is also unaware of her true nature. Things turn a little dark in this Bigfoot story, but I loved the deeper themes in the end about fatherhood and trusting in your children to make their own way.

    BOMBSHELLS

    A story about Molly Carpenter, Bombshells follows Harry’s apprentice showing how she’s been dealing with life since the death of her mentor. This one also begins with the sudden appearance of Justine, who shows up on Molly’s doorstep asking for help looking for her lover Thomas, who is also Harry’s half-brother. For a series I love so much, sometimes it surprises me how few of the key characters actually resonate with me. Molly is another member of the main cast whom I’ve never really felt much for, which might explain why I felt so apathetic about this story. It has only been a few days since I finished reading it, but I’ve forgotten many details from it already.

    COLD CASE

    Another Molly story, but I fared a lot better with this one. Cold Case begins with Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness, charging Molly to collect an overdue tribute owed to the Winter Court. While on her mission, Molly meets up with Carlos Ramirez, a young warden of the Wizard Council, and they strike up a fast friendship and become intimate with each other. Unbeknownst to Molly, however, when she agreed to take on the Winter’s Lady mantle, certain unpleasant “rules” came attached. Admittedly, this story didn’t really wow me until near the end, when the revelations of the mantle’s influence finally hit me like a punch in the gut. I really felt bad for Molly then, and Butcher did such a great job writing her anger, frustration, and loneliness.

    JURY DUTY

    In this story, Harry is summoned for the direst and most unpleasant of tasks—jury duty. A man named Hamilton Luther is under trial for the murder, and it appears to be a straightforward case until information surfaces about the possible presence of little girl at the crime scene, who would be a key witness—if she could be found. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Harry follows the girl’s trail and discovers that she has been abducted by a vampire of the White Court. Featuring a mix of action and humor, this was one of the more entertaining and interesting stories of the collection.

    DAY ONE

    Yay, a Butters story! I was excited about this one, because here’s a side character from the series that I actually am quite fond of. Day One follows Butters as he embarks on a mission to track down a supernatural predator who has been targeting children, feeding on their nightmares and turning the kids into paranoid and sleepless husks. I have a soft spot for geeks and nerd characters, which is probably why I like Butters so much. Characters like him don’t get much of a chance to shine, so when they get to be the stars of their own stories, however short they are, I take notice. Plus, this one had a hilarious World of Warcraft reference, and because I just happen to be an avid pet collector in that game, huge points for that bit about the murloc egg.

    ZOO DAY

    Told in three parts, Zoo Day is the only story completely original to this anthology and hasn’t appeared before anywhere else. In it, Harry takes Maggie and Mouse to the zoo, and father are daughter get some quality time to get to know each other. That is, until a fledgling warlock interrupts their plans. These series of events are depicted three times, first from the perspective of Harry, then Maggie, and finally Mouse. This is a story that does many things, but I mainly liked it for showing Harry trying to be a good parent, and Maggie learning what kind of man her dad is. Their nervousness around each other really pulled on my heartstrings, especially with both of scared that they would be a disappointment to the other, when there is in fact no need for worry on that front. It’s immediately clear that the two of them are cut from the same cloth, in that they both have big hearts and want to help others. This was a sweet and touching tale to end the anthology, showing that despite all the troubles in Harry’s busy life, he still strives to make time for his daughter, recalling the loneliness he felt growing up without his parents. Mouse’s POV also succeeded in adding a little levity, because who doesn’t love getting a story from a dog’s perspective?

    All in all, Brief Cases was a good read. I’m not usually one to pick up short fiction, but I absolutely would not hesitate to make an exception for an anthology like this one, mainly because the stories are in the world of a series I love. While it’s true that most of these fell into the “okay” to “good” category, there were some that were truly excellent, like the Bigfoot trilogy, that made it all worth it. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of the Dresden Files or Jim Butcher, this anthology is not to be missed.

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Final review, first posted on

    :

    (just published in June 2018) is a collection of a dozen short stories set in the world of Harry Dresden, a private investigator and talented wizard living in Chicago. Harry is the main character in most of the stories, but not all; a few other characters in Jim Butcher’s DRESDEN FILES universe get their chance to relate their adventures in their own voices.

    This is the case with on

    Final review, first posted on

    :

    (just published in June 2018) is a collection of a dozen short stories set in the world of Harry Dresden, a private investigator and talented wizard living in Chicago. Harry is the main character in most of the stories, but not all; a few other characters in Jim Butcher’s DRESDEN FILES universe get their chance to relate their adventures in their own voices.

    This is the case with one of my favorite stories, the first one, “A Fistful of Warlocks,” set in the American Old West in the late 1800s, long before Harry Dresden’s time. Anastasia Luccio is a wizard and a Warden of the White Council of Wizardry, sent by the Council to Dodge City to take a murderous warlock into custody. Anastasia is a woman with attitude:

    The warlock she’s been sent to apprehend turns out to be a lot more trouble, and have more friends helping him, than Anastasia anticipated. For her part, she gets some assistance from a

    , a treacherous shapeshifting water spirit (usually in the shape of a horse) who lost a bet to her, and a particular deputy who will be familiar to anyone who knows anything about the Old West. I was tickled pink to meet him in this tale!

    Another particular standout is the last novelette,

    , where the same period of time and overlapping events are related by Harry Dresden and two other characters, a young girl named Maggie (who will be familiar to readers of the series) and an enormous and magical dog ironically named Mouse. Harry, Maggie, and Mouse take a trip to the zoo one day, where several different magical threats turn up to disrupt what was supposed to be a pleasant outing. Each of these three characters offers his or her own perspective on the events of that day, building on each other’s stories. It was insightful and even touching.

    “B is for Bigfoot,” “I Was a Teenage Bigfoot” and “Bigfoot on Campus” are an enjoyable trio of stories about the son of Bigfoot by a human woman, a six foot-four inch archaeologist. Irwin, their son, is an intelligent and (understandably) physically strong young man, but has typical growing-up troubles with bullies, school teachers, and first love. Of course, there’s a magical twist to all of these problems. These stories explore some of the problems and concerns of parenting, with a Sasquatch spin.

    Another particularly memorable story was “Curses,” a tale with a distinctly Chicago flavor, which relates the “true” story of the Chicago Cubs and the infamous Billy Goat Curse of 1945. Bob the Skull makes an appearance here to good effect, helping Harry analyze the long-running curse. In addition, there are a couple of stories featuring Harry’s friend Molly (one of which, “Cold Case,” is a bleak and distinctly Lovecraftian tale set in Alaska); “Day One,” a story about Waldo Butters and his first outing as a Knight; and “Even Hand,” from the point of view of Gentleman Johnnie Marcone, a crime lord with ties to the magical underworld.

    These twelve stories in

    are set at various points in the DRESDEN FILES series and, fair warning, there are some significant spoilers relating to things that happen to some key characters in some of the later books of the series. It’s also helpful to be at least somewhat familiar with the series before launching into reading these stories. I’m somewhat a newbie to Harry Dresden: so far I’ve read only the first and fourth books in the series, but that was enough to anchor me for these stories.

    Though these stories are fairly light action and mystery fantasy tales, there are deeper themes running through them. Butcher touches on some of these themes in his introductions to each story.

    Other than

    , which is new, all of these stories have appeared in various previously published anthologies.

    is well worth reading for fans of the DRESDEN FILES series, but might be slightly confusing for readers who aren’t at least a little familiar with the Dresden universe and characters.

    I received a free copy of this ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. Thanks!!

  • Chris Evans

    I remember a time when these nice short stories use to be fun little reads between the yearly main line books... instead of the only thing published for years.

    Update: Read the book

    - This story is told three times from different points of view so I'll be rating them separately.

    - A touching short story about Dresden having to learn to be a father while also being him. Over all good if rather low threat.

    - The same story but this time from Maggie's po

    I remember a time when these nice short stories use to be fun little reads between the yearly main line books... instead of the only thing published for years.

    Update: Read the book

    - This story is told three times from different points of view so I'll be rating them separately.

    - A touching short story about Dresden having to learn to be a father while also being him. Over all good if rather low threat.

    - The same story but this time from Maggie's point of view. This gimmick is a little tiring but the way Maggie sees the world is interesting enough to keep this story engaging. Butcher doesn't do a very good job of making kids talk and act like kids but it did make me want more stories from her point of view.

    -Again? :/ The same story for a third time but from mouses pov. At this point the premise has worn thin and Mouse as a character and the differences in his part of the story just weren't enough to carry it.

    - The Luccio takes on necromancers in the Wild West story. Honestly the worst of the short stories. This one being first was a really bad idea and gives a terrible first impression.

    — A Dresden Short story, and this one was really good. The mundane setup is fun and the supernatural payoff is really good.

    — Teacher Dresden as a framing device is pretty good and the story had a decent punch to it.

    — A neat little short story about Butters and his new (Jedi) Knight status. This one is really good but very short. -1 star due to length.

    — The Dresden, Wrigley Field curse story. I'm just not interested in Chicago Cubs and the story doesn't do anything to make me care.

    — A Marcone story, it's pretty good, but Marcone is one of those characters who's inner workings are better left a mystery. I kind of wish I hadn't read this story as I prefer not entirely understanding his motivations.

    — First of the Bigfoot trilogy. It's got some neat ideas in it but not a lot happens.

    — Second of the Bigfoot trilogy, it's easiestly the weakest of the three as there's barely any conflict in the story.

    — Last of the Bigfoot trilogy and the best of them. You can tell Butcher as an author and The Dresden Files as a world had really matured by this point.

    — A Molly short story where she's trying to fill the shoes of Dresden while he was 'dead'. It's pretty good.

    — A Molly short story where she has to learn how to be the Winter Lady and deal with some C'thulhu monsters. This one was fine, but nothing special

    I think the idea behind this book is rather cynical. While collecting short stories published in other places together is a good idea (I'm not going to buy his rpg book to read one short story), More than half of the stories here were already collected in his short story collection books. 7 out of the 12 stories (MORE THAN HALF) are ones I'd read before. If I had bought the book instead of renting it I would have been very annoyed.

    Just be aware of what you're getting here. If you're a big fan and go out of your way to read his short stories, you're going to get almost nothing out of this book. If you've only read the main series stories, this is a good one to pick up.

    Final Score:

    rounded down due to all the repeat stores.

  • Lori

    I already read most of these in other collections.

  • Karl

    Contents:

    001 - “A Fistful of Warlocks”

    029 - “B Is for Bigfoot”

    061 - “AAAA Wizardry”

    085 - “I was a Teenage Bigfoot

    113 - “Curses”

    141 - “Even Hand”

    169 - “Bigfoot on Campus”

    221 - “Bombshells”

    277 - “Cold Case”

    325 - “Jury Duty”

    353 - “Day One”

    381 - “Zoo Day”

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