With ruthless necromancers on the loose in Chicago, Harry needs all the help he can get in this, the seventh novel of The Dresden Files. And when part of that help comes from Butters, a nerdy medical examiner as addicted to pop culture as Harry himself, the Shout Outs are bound to come fast and often.
Harry cites Genesis on the very first page, feeling a bit like Cain about his brother's sloppiness.
Not completely original of Harry, as Bob told him about how the White Council burned Kemmler's works with a Fahrenheit 451 reference earlier. And he'd Lampshaded a Tolkien quip to Shiela just a minute before confronting the two necromancers, about having already told them he didn't want to buy a ring.
Completing it will give them a Valhalla-sized power-boost.
Butters' imperfect musical performance sounds like the Quasimodo Polka.
Even a glancing strike from Cowl's magic makes Harry feel like the Jolly Green Giant had slugged him with a beanbag chair.
He paraphrases Ginsu knife ads and other too-good-to-be-true infomercials while refusing Lasciel's temptations.
The necromancer whose book everyone is after is Heinrich Kemmler, a reference to the Vampire Counts character from Tabletop Game/Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Heinrich Kemmler, Lichemaster. Jim Butcher has mentioned that he is a fan of WHFB.
Shiela's Halloween costume is an I Dream of Jeannie reference. Also Foreshadowing of how she's really Lasciel, who promises to make Harry's every wish come true if he yields to temptation.
Dead Beat references Alice in Wonderland several times. Morgan's sword even goes snicker-snack.
In the sequence with Malcolm Dresden, Harry asks him for a vorpal blade, but all he's got is a Snickers snack. Jabberwocky again, and Malcolm even Lampshades it with a "Beware the Jabberwock" quote.
Grevane's attempt to batter through Harry's wards make his apartment shake and its occupants stagger around like it's the Enterprise bridge on Star Trek.
Butters describes Harry's enhanced healing abilities as "not like mutant X-factor healing". Struggling to make sense of what Harry's told him about magic, he mentions the Force as one possible name for energies not yet understood by science.
Harry, explaining about monsters, says they make horror-movie creatures look like The Muppets. Ironic, considering Harry would meet monsters that mimic horror-movie creatures in the next novel!
Apparently Harry reads Dean Koontz, as he owns a copy of Watchers.
He probably loves The Hobbit more, as he used it as an affinity-item when summoning the Erlking.
Firefly: Also, read the dream sequence where Malcolm Dresden and Harry talk, giving his father Nathan Fillion's voice. Seriously. It's eerie, just how much Dresden Sr.'s method of speech resembles Reynolds'. And they're both people who are trampled upon because they're good souls who do the right thing.
Lord of the Rings references abound in this series, but Harry refusing Lasciel's offer of power by quoting Gandalf's refusal of the One Ring stood out as especially awesome.
To confirm he won't yield for the moment, Lasciel herself quotes "Get thee behind me" as a query.
Once Butters has overcome his fear, his newfound eagerness to help defeat the necromancers earns a Fight Club quip from Harry.
"Darth Vader Syndrome" is Harry's term for how satisfying it is to see the villain who's been scaring the pants off you go after another, mutual enemy. This comes up twice: once when Harry calls in the Wardens to go after the necromancers, and again when Luccio drafts Harry, whom many White Council elders fear, to join the Wardens in their war.
Mouse, a secretly-intelligent supernatural dog with a nicked ear, suffers a minor injury in his first on-page fight with a zombie. Snuff, a secretly-intelligent supernatural dog with one tattered ear, carries old war wounds from a dispute with a zombie. Both dog-vs-zombie scraps happened during the run-up to a dark magic rite on Halloween, in which opposing spell-casters contest over whether it'll run its course or not.
At the end, Bob surmises that Cowl was atomized by the Darkhallow's backlash, sending the ashes of him and his little dog too showering down over the city.
Bob's line "Harry! You stole a Warden's cloak?" might be a reference to the old tradition of drunkenly stealing a policeman's hat.