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Literature / Side Jobs

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Harry's lesser known adventures.

Side Jobs is a collection of short fiction in the Dresden Files universe. It includes 11 stories:

  1. "A Restoration of Faith" (The first Dresden Files story ever written, it was initially rejected for publication.)
    • Dresden tries to protect a runaway little girl, Faith Astor, from various dangers while escorting her to safety. Takes place before Storm Front.
  2. "Publicity and Advertising" (listed as "Vignette" in Side Jobs and the website. Originally written as a rather self-referential ad for the series, to be distributed at conventions.)
    • Dresden and Bob talk about possible strategies for advertising Dresden's work. Takes place between Death Masks and Blood Rites.
  3. "Something Borrowed" (originally published in My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding)
    • When Jenny Greenteeth abducts Georgia and plots to kill Billy, Dresden and Murphy must hurry to save the day. Takes place between Dead Beat and Proven Guilty.
  4. "It's My Birthday, Too" (originally published in Many Bloody Returns)
    • Dresden, Thomas, and Molly must protect a group of LARPers from a powerful Black Court vampire and her coterie. Takes place between White Night and Small Favor.
  5. "Heorot" (originally published in My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon)
    • Dresden and Sigrun Gard struggle to save an innocent woman from the monstrous Grendelkin that has abducted her. Takes place between White Night and Small Favor.
  6. "Day Off" (originally published in Blood Lite)
    • Dresden plans to spend a day off with his girlfriend Luccio, but when Molly, Andi, and Kirby invite themselves over, his day quickly becomes a lot more complicated. Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.
  7. "Backup" (originally published by itself)
    • Thomas works to stop the evil followers of a dark, forgotten god before they can trick Dresden into spreading the god's influence throughout the whole world. Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.
  8. "The Warrior" (originally published in Mean Streets)
    • A rogue priest takes extreme measures in order to recover Dresden's Swords of the Cross, forcing Dresden and Michael to stop him before he kills somebody. Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat, and before "Last Call".
  9. "Last Call" (originally published in Strange Brew)
    • Dresden and Murphy investigate a bar fight at Mac's and uncover a dark plan involving tainted beer and a semi-divine handmaiden of the deity Dionysius. Takes place between Small Favor and Turn Coat.
  10. "Love Hurts" (originally published in Songs of Love and Death)
    • A Red Court attempt to synthesize artificial love draws the attention of Dresden and Murphy when several of the Court's test subjects commit suicide. Takes place between Turn Coat and Changes.
  11. "Aftermath" (originally published in Side Jobs)
    • Still reeling in the wake of Dresden's apparent death, Murphy must rush back into action to stop a monstrous plot by the Fomor. Takes place immediately after Changes.

This collection features the first stories in which characters besides Dresden act as the narrator; Harry's half-brother Thomas narrates "Backup", and his close friend Murphy narrates "Aftermath".

The stories in Side Jobs contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Badass Normal: Murphy proves herself to be this in "Aftermath" when she slaughters the team of Fomor servitors.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: In "Love Hurts", siblings Greg and Cindy Bardalacki fall victim to the Red Court's love spell, and eventually commit suicide together because they subconsciously know their romance is wrong. This is when Murphy, and then Harry, get called in.
  • Church Militant: Michael and Harry have to deal with one of these in "The Warrior". For that matter, Michael himself can also be considered to be one of these.
  • Dead Man's Switch: Father Douglas uses one of these to hold Michael's daughter Alicia hostage. If Harry uses magic too close to the device, or Douglas releases the switch, it will set off explosives wrapped around her.
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  • Driven to Suicide: In "Love Hurts", the victims of the Red Court's love spell doing this is what causes SI to be assigned to the case of the mysterious string of couple suicides.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Butcher freely admits that "A Restoration of Faith" is early, rough work. Among the differences between it and the series proper is that Dresden uses a ring for magic light instead of his pentacle amulet, and then gives it to Faith — it doesn't seem to be an important heirloom. A troll has never again been defeated by cutting it open and allowing thousands of tiny trolls to spill out of its empty skin, either.
  • Football Hooligans: Are apparently caused by maenaeds cursing craft beer at sporting events. In Last Call, Dresden has to stop them from doing this to some of Mac's beer in an attempt to cause a riot at a Bulls game.
  • Groin Attack: Harry lets loose several hard knocks on Grendelkin's junk, when he has a Raging Stiffie. Ouch! You would feel sorry for him if he wasn't about to rape a girl and threatened to do it to Gard as well.
  • House Fey: Cobbs (the elves from the tale "The Elves and the Cobbler") appear in "It's My Birthday, Too". They're a variety of the Little Folk that are ten inches tall, speak with German accents, and wear lederhosen. Having fallen on hard times with the decline of cobbling as a profession, a family of cobbs took up residence in a mall shoe store; in one of his early cases, Harry reconciled them with the store's owners and got them work, with payment taken from the nearby vending machine. True to the tale, the next time Harry encounters the store it has grown much larger and more prosperous, and the family of cobbs has also grown and is getting crowded. The cobbs act as scouts for Harry and fetch him some weapons to use aganst the Black Court vampires beseiging the mall, and he repays them by setting up another gig with the Carpenters. Seven active children equals a lot of shoe repair.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In "The Warrior," both Harry and Father Forthill are rocked back on their heels when Michael, who usually objects to even minor swears, refers to the bad guy as a son of a bitch.
  • Out with a Bang: How Thomas kills the villain in "Backup". Being a White Court vampire can be useful that way.
  • Papa Wolf: When a member of his family is threatened that managed to turn Michael Carpenter, one of the nicest characters of the series, into one scary individual.
  • Perception Filter: One of Gard's valkyrie-magic runes is "Routine." While not good enough to hide something unusual from sight, when Harry casts an illusion to make himself, Gard, and Mouse look like malks, the rune causes a pack of real malks to see the three as "just a normal part of their day."
  • Post Modern Magick: Garlic proves to be just as effective against Black Court vampires when it's been dried and ground into powder as the fresh cloves are. It's more easily weaponized, too. In "It's My Birthday Too", Harry has the cobbs fetch him some garlic powder from the mall's pizza joint, and at a critical moment, mouths some of it and spits it in a vampire's face, which immediately bursts into flame.
  • "Stop the Hero" Twist: The short story Backup, which is told from the perspective of Thomas Raith rather than series protagonist Harry Dresden, involves Harry being used as an Unwitting Pawn and Thomas having to stop him without letting him know what's going on, as the beings responsible become more powerful the more people know about them.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Sometimes a swarm of smaller fish are just as effective. In "Heorot," Harry, Gard, and Mouse use illusion magic and a Perception Filter to pass by a pack of malks (vicious feline faeries) on their way to the grendelkin's lair. When the grendelkin proves too much for the three to handle, Harry sends Mouse back to lure the malks to the lair, then uses another illusion to convince the little beasts to attack the grendelkin. While the monsters are tearing each other apart, our heroes rescue the fair maiden and make their escape, then send the cavern crashing down on the whole lot.
  • Tracking Spell:
    • Harry combines this with Mouse's scent trailing to discover the whereabouts of a kidnapped newlywed in "Heorot".
    • Thomas knows a basic utilitarian one, and in "Backup" Bob teaches him a better one, that can get through interference.
    • Several used, some successful, some not, in "The Warrior."
  • Troll Bridge: Trolls still haunt bridges, even in large cities. Gogoth the troll lurks under a bridge over the Chicago River in "A Restoration of Faith", waiting for "naughty children" to catch and eat. (The Unseelie Accords apparently bar him from preying on other mortals.)
  • Trophy Child: In "Restoration of Faith", Harry and his mentor Nick are hired to find a runaway named Faith who left home because her rich parents the Astors do not care for her at all save for how she reflects on them. Her parents report her as kidnapped and describe the Harry and Nick as the kidnappers before they return her to them because that will get them more clout than their daughter running away and Harry realizes the child has been driven to be a Death Seeker by her worthless parents.
  • Tunnel of Love: In "Love Hurts", a Tunnel of Terror at the state fair is the mechanism through which the Red Court's fall-in-love spell works, acting on any couple who fasten the safety belt and ride through it together.