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Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy (The Dresden Files series) by [Ellen Datlow]

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Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy (The Dresden Files series) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 122 ratings

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Read the first 3 episodes of every story FREE pantry

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ELLEN DATLOW has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for over thirty-five years as fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and editor of Event Horizon and SCIFICTION. In addition, she has edited more than a hundred science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies, including the annual The Best Horror of the Year series, The Doll Collection, Mad Hatters and March Hares, The Devil and the Deep, Echoes, Final Cuts, Body Shocks, and When Things Get Dark.

She’s won multiple World Fantasy Awards, Locus Awards, Hugo Awards, Bram Stoker Awards, International Horror Guild Awards, Shirley Jackson Awards, and the 2012 Il Posto Nero Black Spot Award for Excellence as Best Foreign Editor. Datlow was named recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award, given at the British Fantasy Convention for “outstanding contribution to the genre,” was honored with the Life Achievement Award by the Horror Writers Association, in acknowledgment of superior achievement over an entire career, and honored with the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award at the 2014 World Fantasy Convention.

She lives in New York and co-hosts the monthly Fantastic Fiction Reading Series at KGB Bar.

--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

An Excerpt from
CURSES
a Dresden Files short story
by Jim Butcher

            Most of my cases are pretty tame.  Someone loses a piece of jewelry with a lot of sentimental value, or someone comes to me because they’ve just moved into a new house and it’s a little more haunted than the seller’s disclosure indicated.  Nothing Chicago’s only professional wizard can’t handle--but they don’t usually rake in much money, either.

            So when a man in a two-thousand dollar suit opened my office door and came inside, he had my complete attention.

            I mean, I didn’t take my feet down off my desk or anything.  But I paid attention.

            He looked my office up and down, and frowned, as though he didn’t much approve of what he saw.  Then he looked at me and said,  “Excuse me, is this the office of--”

            “Dolce,” I said.

            He blinked.  “Excuse me.”

            “Your suit,” I said.  “Dolce and Gabbana.  Silk.  Very nice.  You might want to consider an overcoat, though, now that it’s cooling off.  Paper says we’re in for some rain.”

            He studied me intently for a moment.  He was a man in his late prime.  His hair was dyed too dark and the suit looked like it probably hid a few pounds.  “You must be Harry Dresden.”

            I inclined my head toward him.  “Agent or attorney?”

            “A little of both,” he said, looking around my office again.  “I represent a professional entertainment corporation which wishes to remain anonymous for the time being.  My name is Donovan.  My sources tell me that you’re the man who might be able to help us.”

            My office isn’t anything to write home about.  It’s on a corner, with windows on two walls, but it’s furnished for function, not style--scuffed-up wooden desks, a couple of comfortable chairs, some old metal filing cabinets, a used wooden table, and a coffee pot that was old enough to have belonged to Neanderthals.  I figured Donovan was worried that he’d exposed his suit to unsavory elements, and resisted an irrational impulse to spill my half-cup of cooling coffee on it.

            “That depends.”

            “On what?”

            “What you need, and whether you can afford me.”

            Donovan fixed me with a stern look.  I bore up under it as best I could.  “Do you intend to gouge me for a fee, Mister Dresden?”

            “For every penny I reasonably can,” I told him.

            He blinked at me.  “You… you’re quite up front about it, aren’t you?”

            “Saves time,” I said.

            “What makes you think I would tolerate such a thing?”

            “People don’t come to me until they’re pretty desperate, Mr. Donovan,” I said, “especially rich people and hardly ever corporations.  Besides, you come in here all intriguey and coy, not wanting to reveal who your employer is.  That means that in addition to whatever else you want from me, you want my discretion, too.”

“So your increased fee is a polite form of blackmail?”

“Cost of doing business.  If you want this done on the downlow, you make my job more difficult.  You should expect to pay a little more than a conventional customer when you’re asking for more than they are.”

            He narrowed his eyes at me.  “How much are you going to cost me?”

            I shrugged a shoulder.  “Let’s find out.  What do you want me to do?”

            He stood up and turned to walk to the door.  He stopped before he reached it, read the words HARRY DRESDEN, WIZARD backwards in the frosted glass, and eyed me over his shoulder.  “I assume that you have heard of any number of curses in local folklore.”

            “Sure,” I said.

            “I suppose you’ll expect me to believe in their existence.”

            I shrugged.  “They’ll exist or not exist regardless of what you believe, Mr. Donovan.”  I paused.  “Well.  Except for the ones that don’t exist except in someone’s mind.  They’re only real because somebody believes.  But that edges from the paranormal over toward psychology.  I’m not licensed for that.”

            He grimaced and nodded.  “In that case--“

            I felt a little slow off the mark as I realized what we were talking about.  “A cursed local entertainment corporation,” I said.  “Like maybe a sports team.”

He kept a poker face on, and it was a pretty good one.

“You’re talking about the Billy Goat Curse,” I said.

            Donovan arched an eyebrow and then gave me an almost imperceptible nod as he turned around to face me again.  “What do you know about it?”

            I blew out my breath and ran my fingers back through my hair.  “Uh, back in 1945 or so, a tavern owner named Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game at Wrigley.  Seems his pet goat was getting rained on and it smelled bad.  Some of the fans were complaining.  Outraged at their lack of social élan, Sianis pronounced a curse on the stadium, stating that never again would  a World Series game be played there--well, actually he said something like, ‘Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more,’ but the World Series thing is the general interpretation.”

            “And?” Donovan asked.

            “And I think if I’d gotten kicked out of a series game I’d been looking forward to, I might do the same thing.”

            “You have a goat?”

            “I have a moose,” I said.

            He blinked at that for a second, didn’t understand it, and decided to ignore it.  “If you know that, then you know that many people believe that the curse has held.”

“Where the Series is concerned, the Cubbies have been filled with fail and dipped in suck sauce since 1945,” I acknowledged.  “No matter how hard they try, just when things are looking up, something seems to go bad at the worst possible time.”  I paused to consider.  “I can relate.”

“You’re a fan, then?”

“More of a kindred spirit.”

He looked around my office again and gave me a small smile.  “But you follow the team.”

“I go to games when I can.”

            “That being the case,” Donovan said, “you know that the team has been playing well this year.”

            “And the Cubs want to hire yours truly to prevent the curse from screwing things up.”

            Donovan shook his head.  “I never said that the Cubs organization was involved.”

            “Hell of a story, though, if they were.”

Donovan frowned severely.

“The Tribune would run it on the front page.  Cubs Hire Professional Wizard to Break Curse, maybe.  Rick Morrissey would have a ball with that story.”

            “My clients,” Donovan said firmly, “...

--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B004ULPEK6
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ St. Martin's Griffin; First edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ July 5, 2011
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 894 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 560 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 122 ratings

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Lind Robert
3.0 out of 5 stars A little too much of steamy sex for me
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 8, 2013
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4.0 out of 5 stars Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy (Editor Ellen Datlow)
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