Warning!All spoilers for previous books are unmarked on this page!Harry has a problem. Yes, again.Heís just been hired to find The Word of Kemmler, the personal spellbook of a powerful necromancer, which is also being hunted by any number of Kemmlerís apprentices and, really, anyone who would want to unlock the secrets of powerful necromancy—including a spell that would allow the caster to become a demi-god by devouring the spirits of the dead.Oh, and a T. rex is involved.Dead Beat is book #7 in The Dresden Files. Now has its own Shout Out page.
Dead Beat provides examples of the following tropes:
Artistic License - Geography: Butcher has Harry riding the zombie T-rex up Lake Shore Drive to Evanston. Lake Shore Drive actually ends at Hollywood Avenue, well south of Evanston.
Black Cloak: Harry is less than impressed by Cowl and Kumori's fashion sense.
Harry: "Touche, oh dark master of evil bathrobes."
Body Surf: Corpsetaker's preferred method of operation.
Cain and Abel: The opening has Harry namecheck the story when he comes home to find that Thomas not only hasn't cleaned, but hasn't left to allow the brownies time to clean the apartment, either.
Narrator!Harry: On the whole, we're a murderous race. According to Genesis, it took as few as four people to make the planet too crowded to stand, and the first murder was a fratricide. Genesis says that in a fit of jealous rage, the very first child born to mortal parents, Cain, snapped and popped the first metaphorical cap in another human being. The attack was a bloody, brutal, violent, reprehensible killing. Cain's brother Abel probably never saw it coming. As I opened the door to my apartment, I was filled with a sense of empathic sympathy and intuitive understanding. For freaking Cain.
Call Back: The EMT at Cook County recognizes Harry from his talk show appearance in Blood Rites, and only agrees to talk because Harry and Michael ended the hospital nursery's rash of ghost-induced SIDS cases in Grave Peril.
Chekhov's Gun: The GPS system in Georgia's SUV. It does not actually show up itself, but the GPS itself gives Harry his Eureka Moment when he realizes that the numbers on Bony Tony's flash drive are GPS coordinates.
Butters's one-man Polka suit (and ability to play it) become a combination of Chekhov's Gun and Chekhov's Skill later in the book, as they're used to keep a zombie T-Rex under control.
Chekhov's Skill: Butters is taught how to create a magic circle around himself to keep out stray magical influences thus allowing him to use a GPS device. He then uses this skill to keep specters from killing him.
Cool Car: Subverted with Billy and Georgia's giant SUV. Butters is talking about all the cool features of these new cars- and then he turns on the GPS. It has apparently been around Harry too long already.
"Now entering Helsinki."
Deader than Dead: The Necromancer Kemmler's back story: "They killed him good. A couple of times. He'd come back after they'd killed him early in the nineteenth century, so they were real careful this time".
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In a less common example of this trope being a detriment to the heroes, rather than a blessing. Harry spends a good portion of this book taking risks to protect Butters. Thomas points out that although he understands why Harry is doing it (because of friendship), Grevane probably won't, and might conclude that Butters is still important to the scheme somehow.
Foreshadowing: Dresden is death cursed to "die alone". He does in Changes.
Friend or Foe: Figuring out who is on what side gets quite ugly at the climax.
Genre Savvy: Dresden wonders whether he is in High Noon or early in The Maltese Falcon when trying to work out whether or not it is safe to go outside.
Grand Theft Me: The specialty of the Corpsetaker. Since she's been around a while, she's racked up quite a body count, but the three known victims are the old professor, the intern with the dimples (who she wears for the majority of the book), and Luccio.
Gratuitous German: Die Lied der Erlking (The grammatically correct title would be Das Lied des Erlkonigs). Lampshaded in-series when Harry finds the author of the book — an anal retentive Obstructive Bureaucrat — and taunts him over the fact that he screwed up the title. His miffed response is that "German is an untidy language". This is either a subtle joke by the author or an honest mistake, as German is a more logical language than English.
Hijacking Cthulhu: Harry successfully summons the Erlking, a king of The Fair Folk and one of the most powerful beings in the series, and traps it in the summoning circle. Although he by no means has control of it, he is able to keep it from attacking him or leaving.
Hope Spot: After realizing the scope of the problem he is dealing with, Harry calls in the Wardens, who respond promptly and provide him with much needed back-up. All five of them—who reveal that of the 200 or so Wardens the council had, a little more than 40 survived a recent, massive Red Court attack. They even go as far as to draft Harry into their ranks on the spot.
Ice-Cream Koan: Billy and Georgia's car (with navigation system) keeps telling Harry "The door is ajar."
Butters: It gets kinda Zen after a while. Life is a dream. Time is a river. The door is ajar.
Lovable Coward: Subverted by Butters. He admits it about himself, and Thomas points it out in a genial fashion, but despite his frequent screaming Harry realizes that Butters never actually does anything cowardly.
Non-Human Undead: Also something of a plot point, as Harry exploits a loophole in the White Council's Necromancy prohibition by animating an animal as a zombie. Specifically, a freaking Tyrannosaurus Rex.
No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: Lampshaded, when Harry explains the basics of Necromancy and raising the dead to him, Waldo Butters immediately swears, "Jesus". Snarky as ever, Harry immediately quips back, "I kinda doubt they had anything to do with that one." Butters, being near-panic, overreacts and Harry has to explain that it was just a joke.
Not Hyperbole: At the end, Harry gives Mavra quite the memorable speech about how if she ever screwed with Harry or his people, he would pick up every weapon available to him, and take her down permanently. As later books show, Harry was not exaggerating, and he was not fooling around.
The best part? Mavra hasn't shown up since.
Oh Crap: For once Harry's the one inflicting these. Specifically, it turns out this is the natural reaction of everyone when a zombie T. Rex is bearing down on them.
He gets one of his own (literally, 'Oh, Shit,') when Morgan comes at him with Unstoppable Rage, thinking Harry murdered Captain Luccio.
And another, when Harry braces himself perfectly for an oncoming attack, and Cowl magically punts him down the street quite casually.
Screw Destiny: When Corpsetaker and the ghoul attack Harry in an alley, he is rescued by Johnny Marcone and Ms. Gard. Gard (a Valkyrie) mentions Harry was fated to die there and their interference had changed his destiny, stating that there would be repercussions. Marcone's response? "What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?"
So Beautiful, It's a Curse: It turns out that being an extremely desirable and seductive incubus isn't so great when you're desperately trying to hold down a job. At the start of the book Thomas has been fired - again - because the drive-through manager followed him into the walk-in freezer and tried to have sex with him, just as the owner walked in. Also, Harry mentions him being assaulted by a female missionary when he simply answered the door to her - she left toothmarks.
Unwitting Pawn: A few times near the end. In particular, Harry inadvertently does Cowl's work for him by calling up the Erlking (and, because Harry was trying to keep him trapped, all Cowl had to do was whack Harry in the back of the head to set the Erlking loose), then ends up leading Grevane to the Word of Kemmler, something Grevane could not have done on his own. He gets better, though.
The Wild Hunt: One of many, many profoundly awesome things in this book.