Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the ‘everyday’ world is full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in.
Harry is the best at what he does – and not just because he’s the only one who does it. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they look to him for answers. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.
So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get . . . interesting.
Magic – it can get a guy killed.
I enjoyed the TV mini series when it was aired a few years ago, and I have spent those few years since hearing great things about these books. My ears prick up whenever anyone mentions Harry Dresden; I even remember walking around a shopping centre once as a guy raved excitedly about the series to his friend. So, when a work colleague mentioned she had bought Stormfront, the first book in The Dresden Files, and offered it to me to read, I happily accepted.
Simply put, I loved it. A wizard, complete with staff, quasi latin spells and a skull mentor who helps him with potion making, who is also a PI? Are you kidding? And then there’s the wonderfully crafted world that Jim Butcher has established. He gives just enough information about the lore (vampires, demons, faeries) to make it page devouringly interesting without ever overburdening the reader. So there’s that side; there’s also the crime story, which is fabulous, with as many twists and turns as you would expect. It’s gruesome, and dark and well executed. But that’s not all, the action! This novel is wall to wall action. Dresden doesn’t get a chance to breathe, let alone get dressed (in one memorable scene) before another gangster/demon/woman comes after him. It’s great. I’m not sure that I would be able to keep up with the pacing if the novel were much longer, but for a 300 page book it’s exciting.
Harry is such a great, and in some ways Jack Reacher-esque, character. I love his style, and his sense of humour and his ability to endure and keep going even when things look bleak. And believe me, in this book things get pretty damned bleak; even when he is beaten, bruised, naked and with the threat of execution looming over his head he still carries on because he is the only man for the job.
So, it looks like I now have another series of books to add to the ever growing TBR pile.
Have you read any of The Dresden Files? Any recommendations for similar books? Because I’m not going to lie, I’m a little enamoured.