Monday, July 16, 2007

"Storm Front: Book one of the Dresden Files" by Jim Butcher

A wizard by the name of Harry needs to earn money and make a living. So what does he do? He sets up shop in Chicago and hangs out his shingle to let the folks know he is a wizard for hire. No this is not Harry Potter after he has graduated from Hogwart's. Rather this is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, one of the coolest wizard characters ever created. Jim Butcher has created a great character and a fun series of books subtitled the Dresden Files. So far there are 8 in the series; Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, and Proven Guilty. Storm Front being the first in the series seemed a good place to start for me. The series of books has led to a TV series on the Sci-Fi channel "The Dresden Files." The TV series has left a lot out that was in the books but as a set of side stories it covers the feeling behind the books. In fact, in episode 8 of the tv series they somewhat told the story of what happens in Book 1.

One of the neat things about this book and the series of books is the format they are written. Remember the old Film Noir detective movies. Where the detective narrates the cases and stories? This is exactly the way Jim Butcher has written this series. Harry Dresden tells the story in Film Noir style. Another way to describe the story telling would be to say if Stephen King were to write about Harry Potter as a private dick in 3rd person narration. But then that doesn't adequately describe what's going on. In general this book was extremely fun to read and I can't wait for the next.

Okay here's the basic story; Harry Dresden, Wizard for Hire, solves missing person cases and such and on occasion helps the Chicago P.D. with some of their rather strange cases. Lieutenant Karen Murphy the director of Special Investigations out of downtown Chicago calls Harry in when something doesn't seem right. But Harry still needs to pay his bills so he takes on cases on the side to supplement the rare job from the police.

In this book, Harry is first contacted by Monica whose husband has taken a recent interest in magic and gone missing, Harry sets up an appointment to meet with her and immediately after Lt. Murphy calls Harry to bring him in on a case of a double murder. Harry hurries to the grisly murder scene so he can get back in time for the appointment. At the scene he finds a man and a woman in a hotel room, whose bodies are entwined in a passionate moment, except for both of their hearts have been exploded from the inside blasting a large hole in each of their chests. Harry immediately finds that a strong wizard has done this and decides to help Murphy. One of the victims is a body guard for the notorious crime boss, Johnny Marconi. On his way back to his office Harry is bullied into a limo in which Johnny Marconi offers to pay for Harry's services. Rather, Marconi wishes to pay for Harry not to investigate the murders.

After turning Marconi down Harry meets with Monica who explains that her husband is missing and that his recent interest in magic may have led to his demise.

Harry Dresden then becomes swamped in 2 cases which become intertwined and lead him into a battle with demons, vampires and a dark wizard. During the process we meet many of Harry's friends and enemies. Bob the spirit familiar which serves as Harry's supernatural computer (since any technology decides to stop working when a wizard is near), a tabloid reporter who falls in love with Harry (thanks to drinking a wrong potion), Morgan the Deputy for the White Council who threatens Harry with death if he should stray on to the wrong side of magic due to Harry being on "probation" for an unexplained murder of his mentor.

Lots of fun and lots of action. Get started on this series now. Yes, the books are better than the tv series.

"... just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

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