Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Amazon Synopsis: 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.

It was actually by brother who gave me this series. He had been gushing like a fangirl for weeks before giving me the first book. Personally I am very touch and go with demon novels and I'm not a big fan of 'wizard' books so it did sit on my shelf for a while before I picked it up on holiday. Once I started though I did finish it pretty quickly.

Unlike many books, Storm Front has an already established setting and situation. Dresden has been assisting the police for a while and this is just the first case that has been 'recorded'.

The book begins in Dresdens office after answering the phone to yet another person asking if he is really a wizard. Straight away it is clear this character will be hilarious. It's written in the 1st person narrative of Harry Dresden who proves to be a sarcastic and charming PI within the first chapter. He is also a man who is flawed and who has a hard time of it because no one actually believes his profession as a wizard isn't a scam (even some of the police officers he works for). This means he does everything for money and I like that. The character is honest and doesn't hide the fact that he does most of the good deeds either by accident or for money. It also means he runs into trouble a lot and it never fails to become both a tense and funny when he is fighting a giant demon stark naked.

Whilst waiting for a client Dresden gets a case which turns out to be surprisingly gruesome. Something I wasn't expecting. Here we meet Lieutenant Karrin Murphy who is an independent woman in a high ranking position but she seems to be the only one who believes in Dresden's abilities. With characters like this it is harder to figure them out as we rely solely on Dresden's opinions or what happens to determine what they are like. After inspecting the scene we meet one of the greatest antagonists know to man: the appropriately named mobster, Johnny Marcone. I'm still not sure whether he is really a bad guy. It becomes clear after this meeting that it isn't the first time Dresden has shown up on someones radar and it won't be the last.

Continuing throughout the book Dresden continues to get in ridiculous situations that make for an entertaining story arch. With the help of his sassy, ancient friend Bob, who isn't really his friend but his slave stuck in a skull, Dresden beings to unravel two separate case. Each as chilling as the other. Of course the story lines overlap eventually but it is so intricate that unless you pay attention properly throughout you will miss where they cross.

During this journey though the audience meet an array of characters, each with a well thought out personality unlike any other person features, which is something rare in a book especially since many are minor characters that show up for barely a chapter. One such is the lovely vampire Bianca who, even though only featured for maybe a half a chapter, becomes something of a mystery and peaks the interest of the audience. This is only emphasised when Bianca turns into a giant bat like creature after Dresden pulls at too many strings (he has a specialty for it).

Butcher really goes back to basics with his creatures, whether it be a demon or a werewolf. They have a classic and horrific feel about them which makes this book even more of a must read. It is rare that you get vampires who are just as enticing but have the power to eat your face off in modern literature.

This book was written by Jim Butcher for a writing course he did and therefore was his first full length novel. You wouldn't know it though. To me this book was expertly written and it appears through the writing style that the author had a great time creating it as well.


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