Side Jobs

Stories from the Dresden Files
Narrated by: James Marsters
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 12.5
Length: 13 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11,905 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first short-story collection in the number-one New York Times- best-selling series - including brand-new Harry Dresden short stories!

Here, together for the first time, are the shorter works of best-selling author Jim Butcher - a compendium of cases that Harry and his cadre of allies managed to close in record time. The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a new, never-before-published novella that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of Changes. This is a must-have collection for every devoted Harry Dresden fan, as well as a perfect introduction for readers ready to meet Chicago's only professional wizard.

Check out more Dresden Files.
©2010 Jim Butcher (P)2010 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Know what sucks about this book?

The fact that it ends.

Damn you Jim Butcher and your compelling characters! I started listening to the Dresden Files while on my daily commute and burned through all the books in a matter of a couple months. Side Jobs is another great book in the series.

Jim Butcher's skill in writing and development with the characters just keeps improving. This is a fun collection as you can get a feel for the growth through the stories written over time, ending with a great novella.

I recommend this book, and the entire series.

71 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Dresden Short Story Collection

I've wanted to get my hands on the various Dresden short stories for some time but was stopped by two things: 1) I'm not a huge fan of anthologies, where most of the shorts appeared, and 2) the audio format versions were not read by James Marsters.

Jim Butcher did make some bits available on his website for reading, but the remainder appeared in Mean Streets, My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding and My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon, among others. All the stories are placed in the context of the Dresden-verse timeline. The last, which takes place immediately after Changes, appears nowhere else. Some of these are, as the author admits, not the best effort, while some are not to be missed, particularly Thomas' grimly determined everyday battles with the monsters he is related to as well as the one within him.

James Marsters is less a narrator, and more a one man show. I've probably noted it in another review, but it really can't be said enough the difference between someone who is merely reading, and someone who evokes the scenes, emotions, characters and interactions and portrays them well. I've been disappointed by books by best selling authors that were narrated in the barest sense of the word, and have followed other authors around in part because of the narrators chosen to read their works. Mr. Marsters is definitely in the latter category.

If you are a fan of the series, you probably know all these things, and just want the punchline: Yes - if you have been following the adventures of Dresden and company, do get this book. If you have never heard a Dresden novel, these stories are still good, but will have more meaning when you have read some of the other novels.

80 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A must for every Jim Butcher/James Marsters fan!

While I've listened to several of these stories read by other narrators, nobody brings Butcher's characters to life like Marsters does. I also enjoy the background Butcher shares before each story, giving a glimpse into the man behind the man inside the duster. This was just the fix I needed to carry me through until Ghost Story is released. If you are new to The Dresden Files, I highly recommend starting with Storm Front, but then come back and enjoy these wonderful additions to the series.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Welcome Relief

While I have kept up with the novels, I???ve never really hunted down the short stories. Anthologies sound like a great way for authors to get short fiction out there and to expose readers to other authors . . . unfortunately I???m just not one of those readers. I???m not willing to plunk down the money for a book that only has one short story I???m interested in. . .and that view goes double with my audiobook credits.

So, Side Jobs has been a wonderful injection of new Dresden Files stories for me, and a welcome relief while waiting for the next novel to be released. The stories provide some wonderful insights into Thomas and Murphy and other characters, along with a few really great short adventures with Harry. On top of that we get commentary from the author about each short story, the anthologies, and the people who put them together.

Among all the other wonderful books coming out right now, I am so glad I made time for this one.

And, as always, James Marsters does a great job.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Pretty good for a short story collection

I normally do not like short stories. Usually these seem to be the left over bits and pieces that were not good enough to make into the series proper. Being a huge Dresden fan I bought this one anyway and was quite pleased.

I will say that some of the stories are hit and miss but some (Read: The Warrior) were great and match anything in the series toe to toe. If you are a fan this one is worth a credit and I almost never say that about short story collections.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

'Job' Well Done!

I am so grateful for Mr. Butcher and Mr. Marsters. I wanted to get the anthologies that contain the Dresden short stories, but did not necessarily want to listen to all of the stories written by other authors. I also couldn't imagine listening to any Dresden stories narrated by anyone other than James. This is a prayer answered. The stories are classic Harry and shed a lot of light on things just glimpsed in the series. My only negative is that I still have too long to wait for the next installment. Bravo!

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great for a fan of the series.

Most of these short stories are not new, however it is still great to hear James Marsters narrating them. Even if you own all the other short story anthologies that these stories first appeared in it is worth a purchase for the new stories contained within. People new to the series or that have not read all the novels may feel a little lost.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Another awesome book by Jim Butcher

James Marsters carries the listener through out the entire book. He is a man who enjoys the Dresden Files. And only one word can fully say how I enjoyed this read.....WOW.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not worth the credit.

Would you try another book from Jim Butcher and/or James Marsters?

I mostly bought this for the novella picking up after the end of Changes - don't bother. Nothing important to the storyline happens, it's inconveniently the last story in the collection so one cannot easily skip to it, and the rest is boring filler. I've read each of the full novels in the series and will likely continue to do so, but I won't be buying another of his collections.

What about James Marsters’s performance did you like?

The narration was excellent, as usual.

Any additional comments?

Stop using gap-novellas to sell short story collections. I did not want most of this content, and neither had I any interest in the majority of Shadowed Souls... it's shady marketing, especially for fans who's already bought more than a dozen of your novels.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

worth it if you love Dresden- fills gaps

I have fallen in love with this series, though I’m bummed that they switched narrators in the final book. I already own some of the anthologies that include stories from this book so I wasn’t sure it was worth buying this one. Even though it’s not the best book in the series, I’m glad I bought it. These stories aren’t as engaging as the main books, but they fill in some gaps so if you love the series and want to know everything you can about the characters this is worth buying. If you haven’t read the series I’d skip this until you do.

I’d listened to the first couple of stories in other books, before I started listening to this anthology. They were OK, but didn’t stand out to me at the time. I think that’s because I didn’t know the characters then and you miss too much in a really short story. I’d tried to watch the TV series before I listened to the books and I couldn’t figure out why it just didn’t click for me. Now I understand that the best part of this series is the nuance of the characters and the sardonic, clever humor of Dresden, Murphy and others. I laugh out loud in the main books of this series more than I have in a long while and I just love all the subtle (and some not so subtle) references to books, movies and music Dresden often throws out. I swear I even caught one to the movie Clueless in an earlier book, which seems funny coming from Dresden. You will miss many of those references if you don’t listen closely, but I get a kick out of them as they really show off Dresden’s (and Butcher’s) personality. In short stores or brief TV shows the nuance is lost and you just have one monster after another without the chance to get to know the characters.

I really enjoyed the brief author introductions to each story. That background made me like Butcher even more and really added to my understanding and enjoyment of the stories. Sadly, this is also your last chance to hear James Masters narrate. John Glover does a good job in the next book, which is saying a lot for me since a change in narrator usually ruins the series for me, but in my opinion, Masters IS Dresden. Glover does a good job, but he just doesn’t bring across the humor like Masters does and that’s one of my favorite things about this series. I’m thankful they didn’t switch narrators sooner.

As to filling in some gaps, you learn who Nick is (comes up in the last book), learn how Murphy and Dresden first met and you even get a story to fill in the gap between book 12 and 13. That cliffhanger ending in book 12 was a big one and though you can definitely jump into book 13 without hearing the short story between them, I thought it was worth hearing what happened between the books.

3 people found this helpful