The Shout Out per page ratio continues to rise in this, the fifth book of The Dresden Files. Caught between a vengeful Red Court noble on one side and the literal forces of Hell on the other, Harry needs all the Knightly help and pop-trivia references he can get.
Though it actually probably is exactly what the book states it to be - a reference to the patron saint of lepers and the diseased, as well as the famous leper colony named after him. Bonus points when you realize that leprosy was once believed to have no possible cure, and most lepers were locked away in colonies to prevent them from transmitting the disease; in the books, being a half-turned vampire is incurable, and the members of the Order are basically isolating themselves from everyone in order to protect their loved ones from their curse.
When an enemy doesn't reveal his plan after capturing Harry, Harry later notes that the villain "must have read the Evil Overlord List."
The Carpenters' house looks like something from Better Homes And Gardens magazine in front, and a Craftsman commercial in back.
In contrast, the neighborhood where the Denarians keep Harry prisoner makes the Chicago of The Jungle look like something from Mary Poppins.
There's a shoutout to David Eddings' Belgariadnote Jim Butcher says Eddings was one of the authors which got him started on fantasy when Harry asks the Archive — the living repository of all written and spoken information, in the body of a seven-year-old girl — if her bodyguard Kincaid can be trusted. It's almost an exact quote.
"What about him?" I asked the Archive, and nodded towards Kincaid. "Can he be trusted?"
"Kincaid?" the girl asked, her voice whimsical. "Can you be trusted?"
"You're paid up through April," the man replied, his eyes still scanning the street. "After that, I might get a better offer."
"There," the girl said to me. "Kincaid can be trusted until April. He's an ethical man, in his way."
Given that this is the Archive we're talking about, this is guaranteed to be an invoked example. Of course her voice was whimsical.
The method of dueling which the Archive selects for Harry and Ortega — forcing a ball of instant-death mordite back and forth with their minds — is reminiscent of that infamously campaign-breaking Dungeons & Dragons artifact, the Sphere of Annihilation, which could also be pushed around by willpower.
Mort quotes The Sixth Sense on The Larry Fowler Show. Harry, being less at-ease with being laughed at on-stage, finds himself thinking about Carrie and Firestarter.
Fowler, an obvious Expy of Jerry Springer - he's even called "Jerry" in an editing flub - is welcomed onto the stage with a near-identical name chant to The Jerry Springer Show's.
Murphy is a monster-hunting Valkyrie, according to Harry. Amusingly, this is the book in which an actual Valkyrie is introduced.
One so glamorous, a Sports Illustrated bikini would look plain on her.