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Death Masks

The Dresden Files, Book 5
Narrated by: James Marsters
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 5
Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1,503 ratings)

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Summary

Harry Dresden, Chicago's only practicing professional wizard, should be happy that business is pretty good for a change. But he also knows that whenever things are going good, the only way left for them to go is bad. Way bad. Recent examples: A duel with the lethal champion of the Red Court, who must kill Harry to end the war between vampires and wizards...Hit men using Harry for target practice...The missing Shroud of Turin - and the possible involvement of Chicago's most feared mob boss...A handless and headless corpse the Chicago police need identified...Not to mention the return of Harry's ex-girlfriend Susan, who's still struggling with her semi-vampiric nature - and who seems to have a new man in her life. Some days, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. No matter how much you're charging.
©2003 Jim Butcher (P)2009 Penguin Audiobooks

What listeners say about Death Masks

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A huge improvement on the previous installment

I loved the story in this one, lots of humour and plot twists. Fast-paced and highly entertaining. James Marsters really owns the reading, I can't imagine Dresden without his ironic tone anymore.

1 person found this helpful

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One of his best

I loved this book, one of his best. The narration as always was superb. Without giving away plot, it sets the scene for some of the pivotal moments in the series. Now, if only he'd finish writing the next book!

1 person found this helpful

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A gamechanger

Well written and well performed - you'll bite your nails from start to finish. I also quite like the character developement of this book.

1 person found this helpful

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An Urban Fantasy Adventure With Non-stop Action

I've read the previous books in this series and really enjoyed them. The Dresden Files has become one of my favourite reads.

I love the way that the characters in these books are written. They're multifaceted creations that feel believable; they have depth and layers to their personalities. Good or bad, light or dark is an illusion, the reality is actually one of the myriad shades of grey.

Death Masks was more than a good story, it had everything that I look for. There's a great balance between the various aspects of this story: Mystery, crime, thriller, horror, detective, mythology and the paranormal. Jim Butcher blends these harder aspects with well written humour, love, friendship and hope. This mix helps to keep the story from being too dark and heavy for me. Death Masks also managed to surprise me a few times too. I enjoyed trying to second guess where the story would take us next and how Harry would get out of the various pickles he found himself in.

I bought the audiobook format as well as the ebook and alternated between reading and listening to the tale. James Marsters performance was fantastic. The pace at which he read the narrative was appropriate for each scene, while the voices he gave to each character added another level of believability to the dialogue. I feel that James has also personified our protagonist, bringing him to life in his narration of Death Masks as he has done in the previous books.

Death Masks is a fantastic book. However, it's part of an ongoing series so don't expect all the loose ends to be neatly tied up. There's no life-or-death cliffhanger at the end but although Harry may have won this battle we're left in no doubt that the war still rages on. I for one, can't wait to find out what adventures Harry is forced to go on in the next book.

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  • M
  • 18-07-20

Only "half" a book!! Not happy about that!

I love the Dresen files... I was soo looking forward to this and I started listening with anticipation.. Just as the story gets going the book just abruptly stops! Kinda feel quite cheated that I have to purchase the next book for the conclusion of the story. Usually, each book functions as a self contained story, so not happy with this!

Most of this "half of a" book is spent getting reacquainted with all the characters we know and love. The main story is the rescue of Harry's brother Thomas because he's killed someone but we don't know quite why. The story is building with white council politics brewing against Harry. Harry will be torn between the city under attack, his responsibilities to winter Court and his brothers fate .. And that's where it kinda just "runs out" abruptly ...

James Marsters is superb as always.. Lol.. Even the book cover is suspiciously looking more and more like him (from his buffy phase)!

The low star rating is mainly because you only get "half" a book.

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Awesome

I just love the stories and James Marsters adds a new dimension that makes the characters come alive. He is a wonderful narrator.

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Usual excellent storyline but..

Enjoyed this book. Love that (spoiler) the baddies gets away but the sex scene. Yuck. Far too much submissive woman fantasy crap.

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Probably one of the best in the dresden files

A great performance by Masters and yet another wonderful expansion into a wider world by Butcher.

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average

all these books are the same tbh. it's just the fantasy novel equivalent of the countless detective series on tv. like them, these books are enjoyable, but nothing special. short episodes with little overarching story

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Series gets better and better

With improved recording quality, James Marsters has come into his own in this instalment of The Dresden Files. The story is interesting with it's combination of familiar and new characters. With its bittersweet romance, dry humour, complex characters, and the occasional twist and turn, this supernatural/paranormal adventure is in a league of its own. I enjoyed this and look forward to listening to the next book in Jim Butcher's series.

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  • Alan
  • 03-01-10

The Series Really Gets Into Gear

Jim Butcher himself admits that the Dresden Files series, the first volume of which was a writing exercise in the creative writing class he was in, really starts coming into it's own in the third volume, Grave Peril. I agree with him, the first two books where really raw. They are worth reading, don't misunderstand, but they are nowhere near as good as the books which came later.

In Death Masks, I personally feel that Jim Butcher really gets things into full gear. His writing gets into full gear and he tones down on the overdriven amounts of battery and damage his hero must somehow survive to levels that someone might actually survive. That sort of thing. The plot is great and you can really see him bringing the series into maturity. It's great fun and tons of action, I strongly recommend both this book and the series!

34 people found this helpful

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  • Jim
  • 12-11-09

Pick up the coin?

My only complaint about the Dresden series is the waiting for the next audio book to come out. Hells bells, I'd pick up the coin and become a "Nickle Head" if it would produce the next 2 books faster.

Oh, and FYI, the TV series does NOT do the books justice in the least. The TV Series did what "Highlander 2" did to the first movie. Judge not the Dresden series off of that!

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Penny
  • 17-11-09

Each book is better than the last!

In Death Masks, Jim Butcher seems to have hit his stride as an author. After the first two books I wasn't sure, but I'm glad I came back. The Archive and Kincaid were interesting characters that I'd like to see more of in the future.

I rather miss James Marsters' deep manly breaths that were so frequent in the early books, but his narration in this book was top notch, especially his rendition of Father Vincent, the Italian priest. It's a good melding of author and narrator, in my opinion.

I hope book 6 is available soon!

17 people found this helpful

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  • Pam W
  • 01-05-13

Another excellent episode!!

What a great series, and with James Marsters' narration, you can't go wrong.
This book was right up there with one of the best. A great cast of characters, hearing more from Susan, and that Thomas is a hoot. It had some surprise allies,( if only for awhile), adding to the book's charm.
Harry didn't have a chance to get bored, as bad guys kept popping up everywhere, in his quest to find the stolen shroud.
If you follow the series, don't miss this one.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karin W.
  • 11-11-09

A must-hear for Dresden Files fans!

This is another fun installment in the Harry Dresden series, fast-paced with tremendous jeopardies, bittersweet romance, and Butcher's trademark humor.

The audiobook is wonderfully narrated by James Marsters, who not only gives Harry the perfect, slightly world-weary film noir detective voice, but also skillfully does a variety of accents for other characters, including Japanese, British, South American Spanish, and Russian (I loved the voice he did for Sonya, the Russian atheist Knight of the Cross.)

I'm looking forward to listening to the next books in this series--the audiobooks really make the Dresden Files come alive!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 10-11-09

Note - They fixed the ending!

The last chapter has been added now, so purchase at will! It's a great book, and the reading is on par with everything else read by James Marsters. Enjoy!

10 people found this helpful

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  • A Voracious Reader
  • 16-04-14

Oh, Harry, how we love you.

*Book source ~ Purchased at Audible.

Harry Dresden, wizard and PI, is hired by Father Vincent to find the Shroud of Turin. Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing on Harry’s plate. The Red Court has sent Ortega to Chicago to kill Harry, either outright or in a duel. It’s Harry’s choice, but if he doesn’t agree to the duel then Ortega sees nothing wrong with killing anyone Harry cares about. Of course Harry agrees to the duel. All three of The Knights of the Cross are in town looking for the Shroud and trying to keep Harry away from it because they believe he will be killed, his girlfriend Susan is back, but not for the reason she tells Harry and the Denarians are also sniffing around Chicago. Poor Harry. When it rains, it pours.

Guest reviewers:
A ~ my 16-yr-old daughter
T ~ my 14-yr-old son
K ~ my 13-yr-old son

Ok, there is a lot going on in this book, but everyone is still loving the series. Big surprise there. Not. :D The humor continues to entertain and is a big part of why this series is a favorite. The plot had several things going and we worried Harry would drop one or more of the balls he was juggling. With help he manages to not only stay alive, but return the Shroud to the Church. How could we have doubted him?? Everyone agreed that it was nice of Harry to give Marcone the ultimatum at the end and they didn’t doubt that Marcone would comply.

New faces won approval: Kincaid, The Archive, Butters, Sanya, Shiro, Molly and even Ms. Gard. Old faces have returned: Bob, Susan, Murphy, Thomas, Michael, Marcone, Ebenezer (phone appearance) and Mac from McAnally’s. Oh, and Anna’s favorite…Mister. Can’t forget him. Some new faces were not liked such as Ortega (though we saw him very briefly in Grave Peril), all of the Denarians, but Nicodemus in particular and we’re on the fence about Martin.

Everyone thought the duel was pretty cool and that Ortega was a liar liar pants on fire. They loved meeting the other two Knights and Ebenezer impressed the crap out of them with this little thing he did at the end. I won’t say what because that would spoil it, but it’s frickin awesome. The fight for the Shroud at the end was pretty good and what’s a helicopter swooping in to fight without Ride of the Valkyries playing? Which is actually a pretty funny inside joke that will come up in a later book. K & I laughed since we’ve read the books.

Favorite quote:
“…The next time I opened my eyes, I was in the morgue. This, all by itself, is enough to really ruin your day. I was lying on the examination table, and Butters, complete with his surgical gown and his tray of autopsy instruments, stood over me.
‘I’m not dead!’ I sputtered. ‘I’m not dead!’”

9 people found this helpful

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  • Cliff
  • 23-12-13

New cool villians

This book is where you really meet the Denairians. these are Demons who possess mortals through coins to do their evil work. In this one they are trying to steal the Shroud of Turin. You know that can't be good. reading this one you'll laugh a lot, cry a little and get a better understanding of the main characters.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher
  • 10-11-09

FINAL CHAPTER HAS ARRIVED

Great book, per usual. Looking forward to 6 & 7.
As in title, final chapter is now included.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 26-03-13

Not the best Dresden, but still worthwhile

The backstory into Dresden's family and past adds some interest to a character that is slowly deepening over the course of these fun bubble gum buffyesque stories. James Marsters' performance is always entertaining.

2 people found this helpful