Working for Bigfoot by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Maybe,” he said in a slow, rural drawl, “you could explain to me why I found you in the middle of an orgy.”
“Well,” I said, “if you’re going to be in an orgy, the middle is the best spot, isn’t it.”
I’ve heard of the Dresden Files before, but I’d never checked it out. I thought it was about World War 2 and I constantly confused it with Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five for some reason. But in a great example of the value of book bundles (like Humble Bundle or Story Bundle), I ended up with this book via a book bundle and when I looking for a new book to read recently, the description stood out. I also recognized Butcher’s name, having spent the last few years listening to Sword and Laser and getting a feel for a bunch of SFF authors I hadn’t been familiar with.
Butcher does not slouch on this collection of 3 short stories, trading on his name or readers’ presumed familiarity with the character. Each contains just enough information for a newbie like me to get caught up and where I feel that vets to the series would be OK. Having spent the better part of the last decade listening to short story poddcasts, I know there’s a very different form when writing a short story vs a novel, but if these stories are an indication of the tone of the books, I think I’m in for a treat. (I’ve already added book 1 to my To Read list) Butcher also plays with PI tropes in each of the stories. The first and third one are the typical first person narrative of the investigation. The second story takes the familiar noir trope of being found in an interrogation room and recounting to the cops what happened to lead to one’s arrest.
The stories revolve around a “bigfoot” hiring Harry Dresden to deal help out his son. I’ll make a minor spoiler here and say that his son is half-bigfoot and that’s the simple reason for needing to hire Harry. The first story involves a young bigfoot Jr who’s being bullied in school. The second story jumps to college, where bigfoot Jr has a run-in with another fantastical species. The last story takes place between the two when he’s in high school. In all 3 stories Butcher presents a pretty diverse cast of mythical creatures and has a lot of fun with the noir tropes. On the lewdness scale, the humor reminded me quite a bit of Terry Pratchett. In his Disworld books there were definitely adults there with adult feelings and desires, but he usually found a pretty entertaining way to communicate that stuff. Yes, there is indeed an orgy and a sex scene in the second story. But overall, it’s more about playing around with words and double-entendres than it is about being explicit.
I really enjoyed this story as you can tell from the rating. If you like noir and/or fantasy, give this short story collection a shot. It shouldn’t take you more than a bit of an afternoon to finish it. If you don’t like it, no big deal. And if you do, it’s a great sampler for what’s yet to come.