I’m slowly making my way through Jim Butcher’s collection of short stories, Brief Cases. This is the tenth story in that collection.
Published: originally in 2015 in Unbound
Genre: urban fantasy short story
Length: 28 pages
Setting: Chicago, after the events of Skin Game
Summary: Short version: Dresden turns jury duty into a chance to screw over the bad guys
Long version: Dresden has been called to the most dreaded of all civic responsibilities: jury duty. During opening remarks, he realizes something’s up with the case. He’s got 18 hours to do a little digging and see if there is a supernatural connection. Dresden follows a girl who was witness to the crime, but she’s snatched by a bunch of White Court thugs. It seems the murder victim was a Raith associate and he was killed by a Marcone thug. The Raiths kidnapped the kid to make sure the Marcone thug pays for his crime. Harry isn’t a fan of little girls being kidnapped, and fights the bad guys to take her home. With Harry holding the girl as collateral, and holding out on the jury for not guilty, the trial results in a hung jury and ultimately the prosecutors drop charges.
Final thoughts: A perfectly serviceable story, but not as sparkling as the last few have been. It could be because it was shorter – there’s only so much you can get in in 25 pages instead of 50. I like the premise of the story – ugh, have to go to jury duty. But, it turns out that even jury duty isn’t quite what it seems in Dresden’s life. It seems Marcone pulled some strings to get him on the jury for the trial because he knew Dresden was likely to do something about the situation. Turns out, Marcone was correct. Dresden isn’t about to let the vampires hold onto a little girl, even if it is just for a few days. He respects his opponents, who in this case where the hired guns more than the vampire who thought she was in charge. Harry’s gotten pretty good at reading a fight. Good thing he had an ace in the hole (a werewolf) to help him out of the bad situation.
Title comes from: The premise of the story – Harry Dresden has jury duty
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