Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Just finished reading Storm Front by Jim Butcher. Storm Front is the first one in the Dresden Files series of books and brings to us a new type of PI. Harry Dresden is a private investigator with a difference – he’s a wizard! This is a paranormal detective book with wizards, demons, black magic, fey, vampires and talking skulls – and I loved it!
Okay, I admit this probably isn’t a work of art, it isn’t deep and meaningful and it’s cliched but it’s fast paced, full of tension, had a fairly good story running through and frankly pretty much grabbed me from the first page and kept me wanting to read – which is a definite plus.
In this first book we learn a little bit about Harry but I suspect that this will be built upon in future novels. I really liked Harry – he’s one of the good guys after all. He’s poor and not exactly flooded with work but he treats people decently, he doesn’t try to con them, he feels bad when he has to act tough and he’s not ashamed to admit to his weaknesses – creepy crawlies give him the shivers, he feels sick at the sight of a crime scene – and, my favourite, he has a love of books and an overloaded book shelf in need of some attention! But, he does have a shadow looming over him – something in his past that has put him out of favour with the all powerful ‘White Council’ – the wizarding police if you will.
In this episode Harry’s dry period comes to an abrupt end when he is asked to look into a ‘missing persons’ mystery and then he’s called in by the police to look at a particularly nasty double murder where black magic is suspected. Things quickly spiral out of control and Harry seems to go from one life threatening event to the next, he’s definitely caught the wrong sort of attention and he’s in a race against time to find the killer and save his own life in the process.
I enjoyed the Chicago setting with the dark and stormy settings and I thought there was enough detail to set the scene without it being overly done – which I don’t think would have sat well with this story and would have slowed it down in an unhelpful way. I also enjoyed the introduction to a number of the supporting characters – Murphy, hard nosed cop (but her bark is worse than her bite), Bianca, the vampire, who will definitely be reappearing in future novels and is bearing a grudge – her bit of the story was quite riveting! And, of course, we have the obligatory reporter – Susan. There are of course plenty of others who will doubtless be in future novels – the bar McAnallys, and the obvious favourites – the pizza eating faerie – Toot Toot, and Harry’s helpful assistant Bob – who lives in a skull!
On the whole, a very enjoyable and entertaining read and I will definitely continue with the series.