Storm Front is the first of the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher and remains one of my favorites. It starts off with a quick introduction of Harry Dresden via the eyes of a new mailman. Dresden is the only openly practicing wizard in the country and often does work for the Chicago Police when they have a crime they can’t solve.
Part wizard, part detective, Harry is called on by the Special Investigations Unit of the Chicago PD when they come across two bodies who have had their hearts torn out of their chests and no one is sure what could have done it.
Though, for Harry, black magic comes to mind.
Meanwhile, Dresden gets a job to look for a woman’s missing husband. as he follows the clues that get him closer and closer to where Victor Sells might be, Harry finds himself tangling with vampires, the Fae, demons, even the local Mob boss, Gentleman Johnny Marcone.
Not to mention the other wizards who just don’t seem to trust Harry for one mistake he made in killing someone with magic when he was a kid.
As it turns out though, Victor Sells’ disappearance, the newest “hip” drug called Three-Eye and hearts being torn out of chests are all interconnected and the tangled web they each weave around Harry ends with him face to face with giant deadly scorpions, an insane warlock using black magic and a spell that will end his life if he can’t stop it in time.
The first book in the Dresden Files series, Storm Front is the work of a first time author. Some of the dialogue seems stilted or forced and the attempt at humorous dialogue is sometimes contrived. It takes the basic plot of a “urban fantasy” novel and flips it around enough so that it is doesn’t look like anything else. With the 13th book coming out next week though, Butcher’s writing style has clearly improved and been perfected. Plots are more original, and even off-hand comments in the earlier books begin to hold great significance in Dresden’s life.
The characters, on the other hand, are well fleshed out from day one. They are lovable, hate-able, and there are times you just want to scream at them to stop being morons and run before the monsters get them.
While the other books do improve, this first book isn’t the best in the series, something even Butcher admits to. I give it four of five stars for character creation and the fact that the books get a lot better as the series rolls on.
If urban fantasy with non-stereotypical vampires, shape-shifting werewolves, faeries, magic and even zombies is your thing, then I highly suggest buying it here.
Cover photo from: http://www.jim-butcher.com/store?cat=1