Storm Front by Jim Butcher

This is a superb debut - and only the first of many.
Storm Front book cover

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Reasonable rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment. Harry Dresden is the best and technically the 'only' at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they come to him for answers. For the 'everyday' world is actually full of strange and magical things - and most of them don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a - well, whatever.

Take your standard noir detective with a sarcastic frame of mind and a weakness for helping damsels in distress, add in wizardry, vampires, werewolves, talking skulls, pizza loving fairies and all things paranormal and this is what you get. A quirky, fast paced and thrilling ride through a Chicago you never thought possible. Trying only to pay the rent, when the police are stumped on a case Harry helps out, while also trying to find a missing husband. Things soon get complicated when it becomes obvious there's black magic afoot - and the council of wizards suspect Harry. Already under the Doom of Damocles, a form of wizardly probation for past transgressions, Harry has to risk execution to discover who the Shadowman is - and why he's killing people.

This is a superb debut - and only the first of many. Great characters, a mystery that twists and turns like a corkscrew and above all, Harry, a wizard with a world weary sense of humour, who takes life on the chin.

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I've been reading the Dresden File books for several years now and preorder each new one, because I think they're a fantasic collection of easy to read, great fun novels with a brilliant lead character who is just really cool to put it bluntly. Set in modern day Chicago but with a wealth of supernatural creatures, sidhe queens, vampires and holy sword bearers each new novel skips along, and I defy you not to get caught up in sheer energy Butcher manages to put in. If you read several of these back to back it does become clear that there is a distinct arc to each book, so there's a catastrophe and Dresden has a very limited amount of time to kick loads of ass, blow things up, get nearly beaten and then come storming back, but he builds well over the many books and gets increasingly more powerful without ever becoming dislikable. I'd recommend this series to anybody who likes fantasy.

9/10 from 2 reviews

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