In the first novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Dresden Files series, Harry Dresden’s investigation of a grisly double murder pulls him into the darkest depths of magical Chicago…
As a professional wizard, Harry Dresden knows firsthand that the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most of them don’t play well with humans. And those that do enjoy playing with humans far too much. He also knows he’s the best at what he does. Technically, he’s the only at what he does. But even though Harry is the only game in town, business—to put it mildly, stinks.
So when the Chicago P.D. bring him in to consult on a double homicide 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...
“A great series—fast-paced, vividly realized and with a hero/narrator who’s excellent company.”—Cinescape
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ALSO BY JIM BUTCHER
THE DRESDEN FILES
THE CODEX ALERA
FURIES OF CALDERON
Special thanks go out to Caroline, Fred, Debra, Tara, and Corin: the original Harry Dresden fans. Without the perverse desire to make you guys scream at me to write the next chapter, Harry would never have gotten into so much trouble. More thanks are due to Ricia Mainhardt and to A. J. Janschewitz, great agents and good people, and to Chris Ely, who is just an all-around neat person.
Superspecial thanks to my son, J.J., who believed his dada had written a good book even if he couldn’t read it.
And thank you, Shannon, for too many things to list. You’re my angel. One day, I will learn to turn my socks right side out before throwing them on the bedroom floor.
I heard the mailman approach my office door, half an hour earlier than usual. He didn’t sound right. His footsteps fell more heavily, jauntily, and he whistled. A new guy. He whistled his way to my office door, then fell silent for a moment. Then he laughed.
Then he knocked.
I winced. My mail comes through the mail slot unless it’s registered. I get a really limited selection of registered mail, and it’s never good news. I got up out of my office chair and opened the door.
The new mailman, who looked like a basketball with arms and legs and a sunburned, balding head, was chuckling at the sign on the door glass. He glanced at me and hooked a thumb toward the sign. “You’re kidding, right?”
I read the sign (people change it occasionally), and shook my head. “No, I’m serious. Can I have my mail, please?”
“So, uh. Like parties, shows, stuff like that?” He looked past me, as though he expected to see a white tiger, or possibly some skimpily clad assistants prancing around my one-room office.
I sighed, not in the mood to get mocked again, and reached for the mail he held in his hand. “No, not like that. I don’t do parties.”
He held on to it, his head tilted curiously. “So what? Some kinda fortune-teller? Cards and crystal balls and things?”
“No,” I told him. “I’m not a psychic.” I tugged at the mail.
He held on to it. “What are you, then?”
“What’s the sign on the door say?”
“It says ‘Harry Dresden. Wizard.’”
“That’s me,” I confirmed.
“An actual wizard?” he asked, grinning, as though I should let him in on the joke. “Spells and potions? Demons and incantations? Subtle and quick to anger?”
“Not so subtle.” I jerked the mail out of his hand and looked pointedly at his clipboard. “Can I sign for my mail please?”
The new mailman’s grin vanished, replaced with a scowl. He passed over the clipboard to let me sign for the mail (another late notice from my landlord), and said, “You’re a nut. That’s what you are.” He took his clipboard back, and said, “You have a nice day, sir.”
I watched him go.
“Typical,” I muttered, and shut the door.
My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. I’m a wizard. I work out of an office in midtown Chicago. As far as I know, I’m the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country. You can find me in the yellow pages, under “Wizards.” Believe it or not, I’m the only one there. My ad looks like this:
LOST ITEMS FOUND. PARANORMAL INVESTIGATIONS.
CONSULTING. ADVICE. REASONABLE RATES.
NO LOVE POTIONS, ENDLESS PURSES, PARTIES,
OR OTHER ENTERTAINMENT.
You’d be surprised how many people call just to ask me if I’m serious. But then, if you’d seen the things I’d seen, if you knew half of what I knew, you’d wonder how anyone could not think I was serious.
The end of the twentieth century and the dawn of the new millennium had seen something of a renaissance in the public awareness of the paranormal. Psychics, haunts, vampires—you name it. People still didn’t take them seriously, but all the things Science had promised us hadn’t come to pass. Disease was still a problem. Starvation was still a problem. Violence and crime and war were still problems. In spite of the advance of technology, things just hadn’t changed the way everyone had hoped and thought they would.
Science, the largest religion of the twentieth century, had become somewhat tarnished by images of exploding space shuttles, crack babies, and a generation of complacent Americans who had allowed the television to raise their children. People were looking for something—I think they just didn’t know what. And even though they were once again starting to open their eyes to the world of magic and the arcane that had been with them all the while, they still thought I must be some kind of joke.
Anyway, it had been a slow month. A slow pair of months, actually. My rent from February didn’t get paid until the tenth of March, and it was looking like it might be even longer until I got caught up for this month.
My only job had been the previous week, when I’d gone down to Branson, Missouri, to investigate a country singer’s possibly haunted house. It hadn’t been. My client hadn’t been happy with that answer, and had been even less happy when I suggested he lay off of any intoxicating substances and try to get some exercise and sleep, and see if that didn’t help things more than an exorcism. I’d gotten travel expenses plus an hour’s pay, and gone away feeling I had done the honest, righteous, and impractical thing. I heard later that he’d hired a shyster psychic to come in and perform a ceremony with a lot of incense and black lights. Some people.
I finished up my paperback and tossed it into the DONE box. There was a pile of read and discarded paperbacks in a cardboard box on one side of my desk, the spines bent and the pages mangled. I’m terribly hard on books. I was eyeing the pile of unread books, considering which to start next, given that I had no real work to do, when my phone rang.
I stared at it in a somewhat surly fashion. We wizards are terrific at brooding. After the third ring, when I thought I wouldn’t sound a little too eager, I picked up the receiver and said, “Dresden.”
“Oh. Is this, um, Harry Dresden? The, ah, wizard?” Her tone was apologetic, as though she were terribly afraid she would be insulting me.
No, I thought. It’s Harry Dresden the, ah, lizard. Harry the wizard is one door down.
It is the prerogative of wizards to be grumpy. It is not, however, the prerogative of freelance consultants who are late on their rent, so instead of saying something smart, I told the woman on the phone, “Yes, ma’am. How can I help you today?”
“I, um,” she said. “I’m not sure. I’ve lost something, and I think maybe you could help me.”
“Finding lost articles is a specialty,” I said. “What would I be looking for?”
There was a nervous pause. “My husband,” she said. She had a voice that was a little hoarse, like that of a cheerleader who’d been working a long tournament, but had enough weight of years in it to place her as an adult.
My eyebrows went up. “Ma’am, I’m not really a missing-persons specialist. Have you contacted the police or a private investigator?”
“No,” she said, quickly. “No, they can’t. That is, I haven’t. Oh dear, this is all so complicated. Not something someone can talk about on the phone. I’m sorry to have taken up your time, Mr. Dresden.”
“Hold on now,” I said quickly. “I’m sorry, you didn’t tell me your name.”
There was that nervous pause again, as though she were checking a sheet of written notes before answering. “Call me Monica.”
People who know diddly about wizards don’t like to give us their names. They’re convinced that if they give a wizard their name from their own lips it could be used against them. To be fair, they’re right.
I had to be as polite and harmless as I could. She was about to hang up out of pure indecision, and I needed the job. I could probably turn hubby up, if I worked at it.
“Okay, Monica,” I told her, trying to sound as melodious and friendly as I could. “If you feel your situation is of a sensitive nature, maybe you could come by my office and talk about it. If it turns out that I can help you best, I will, and if not, then I can direct you to someone I think can help you better.” I gritted my teeth and pretended I was smiling. “No charge.”
It must have been the no charge that did it. She agreed to come right out to the office, and told me that she would be there in an hour. That put her estimated arrival at about two-thirty. Plenty of time to go out and get some lunch, then get back to the office to meet her.
The phone rang again almost the instant I put it down, making me jump. I peered at it. I don’t trust electronics. Anything manufactured after the forties is suspect—and doesn’t seem to have much liking for me. You name it: cars, radios, telephones, TVs, VCRs—none of them seem to behave well for me. I don’t even like to use automatic pencils.
I answered the phone with the same false cheer I had summoned up for Monica Husband-Missing. “This is Dresden, may I help you?”
“Harry, I need you at the Madison in the next ten minutes. Can you be there?” The voice on the other end of the line was also a woman’s, cool, brisk, businesslike.
“Why, Lieutenant Murphy,” I gushed, overflowing with saccharine, “it’s good to hear from you, too. It’s been so long. Oh, they’re fine, fine. And your family?”
“Save it, Harry. I’ve got a couple of bodies here, and I need you to take a look around.”
I sobered immediately. Karrin Murphy was the director of Special Investigations out of downtown Chicago, a de facto appointee of the Police Commissioner to investigate any crimes dubbed unusual. Vampire attacks, troll maraudings, and faery abductions of children didn’t fit in very neatly on a police report—but at the same time, people got attacked, infants got stolen, property was damaged or destroyed. And someone had to look into it.
In Chicago, or pretty much anywhere in Chicagoland, that person was Karrin Murphy. I was her library of the supernatural on legs, and a paid consultant for the police department. But two bodies? Two deaths by means unknown? I hadn’t handled anything like that for her before.
“Where are you?” I asked her.
“Madison Hotel on Tenth, seventh floor.”
“That’s only a fifteen-minute walk from my office,” I said.
“So you can be here in fifteen minutes. Good.”
“Um,” I said. I looked at the clock. Monica No-Last-Name would be here in a little more than forty-five minutes. “I’ve sort of got an appointment.”
“Dresden, I’ve sort of got a pair of corpses with no leads and no suspects, and a killer walking around loose. Your appointment can wait.”
My temper flared. It does that occasionally. “It can’t, actually,” I said. “But I’ll tell you what. I’ll stroll on over and take a look around, and be back here in time for it.”
“Have you had lunch yet?” she asked.
She repeated the question.
“No,” I said.
“Don’t.” There was a pause, and when she spoke again, there was a sort of greenish tone to her words. “It’s bad.”
“How bad are we talking here, Murph?”
Her voice softened, and that scared me more than any images of gore or violent death could have. Murphy was the original tough girl, and she prided herself on never showing weakness. “It’s bad, Harry. Please don’t take too long. Special Crimes is itching to get their fingers on this one, and I know you don’t like people to touch the scene before you can look around.”
“I’m on the way,” I told her, already standing and pulling on my jacket.
“Seventh floor,” she reminded me. “See you there.”
I turned off the lights to my office, went out the door, and locked up behind me, frowning. I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take to investigate Murphy’s scene, and I didn’t want to miss out on speaking with Monica Ask-Me-No-Questions. So I opened the door again, got out a piece of paper and a thumbtack, and wrote:
Out briefly. Back for appointment at 2:30. Dresden
That done, I started down the stairs. I rarely use the elevator, even though I’m on the fifth floor. Like I said, I don’t trust machines. They’re always breaking down on me just when I need them.
Besides which. If I were someone in this town using magic to kill people two at a time, and I didn’t want to get caught, I’d make sure that I removed the only practicing wizard the police department kept on retainer. I liked my odds on the stairwell a lot better than I did in the cramped confines of the elevator.
Paranoid? Probably. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face.
Karrin Murphy was waiting for me outside the Madison. Karrin and I are a study in contrasts. Where I am tall and lean, she’s short and stocky. Where I have dark hair and dark eyes, she’s got Shirley Temple blond locks and baby blues. Where my features are all lean and angular, with a hawkish nose and a sharp chin, hers are round and smooth, with the kind of cute nose you’d expect on a cheerleader.
It was cool and windy, like it usually is in March, and she wore a long coat that covered her pantsuit. Murphy never wore dresses, though I suspected she’d have muscular, well-shaped legs, like a gymnast. She was built for function, and had a pair of trophies in her office from aikido tournaments to prove it. Her hair was cut at shoulder length and whipped out wildly in the spring wind. She wasn’t wearing earrings, and her makeup was of sufficient quality and quantity that it was tough to tell she had on any at all. She looked more like a favorite aunt or a cheerful mother than a hard-bitten homicide detective.
“Don’t you have any other jackets, Dresden?” she asked, as I came within hailing distance. There were several police cars parked illegally in front of the building. She glanced at my eyes for a half second and then away, quickly. I had to give her credit. It was more than most people did. It wasn’t really dangerous unless you did it for several seconds, but I was used to anyone who knew I was a wizard making it a point not to glance at my face.
I looked down at my black canvas duster, with its heavy mantling and waterproof lining and sleeves actually long enough for my arms. “What’s wrong with this one?”
“It belongs on the set of El Dorado.”
She snorted, an indelicate sound from so small a woman, and spun on her heel to walk toward the hotel’s front doors.
I caught up and walked a little ahead of her.
She sped her pace. So did I. We raced one another toward the front door, with increasing speed, through the puddles left over from last night’s rain.
My legs were longer; I got there first. I opened the door for her and gallantly gestured for her to go in. It was an old contest of ours. Maybe my values are outdated, but I come from an old school of thought. I think that men ought to treat women like something other than just shorter, weaker men with breasts. Try and convict me if I’m a bad person for thinking so. I enjoy treating a woman like a lady, opening doors for her, paying for shared meals, giving flowers—all that sort of thing.
It irritates the hell out of Murphy, who had to fight and claw and play dirty with the hairiest men in Chicago to get as far as she has. She glared up at me while I stood there holding open the door, but there was a reassurance about the glare, a relaxation. She took an odd sort of comfort in our ritual, annoying as she usually found it.
How bad was it up on the seventh floor, anyway?
We rode the elevator in a sudden silence. We knew one another well enough, by this time, that the silences were not uncomfortable. I had a good sense of Murphy, an instinctual grasp for her moods and patterns of thought—something I develop whenever I’m around someone for any length of time. Whether it’s a natural talent or a supernatural one I don’t know.
My instincts told me that Murphy was tense, stretched as tight as piano wire. She kept it off her face, but there was something about the set of her shoulders and neck, the stiffness of her back, that made me aware of it.
Or maybe I was just projecting it onto her. The confines of the elevator made me a bit nervous. I licked my lips and looked around the interior of the car. My shadow and Murphy’s fell on the floor, and almost looked as though they were sprawled there. There was something about it that bothered me, a nagging little instinct that I blew off as a case of nerves. Steady, Harry.
She let out a harsh breath just as the elevator slowed, then sucked in another one before the doors could open, as though she were planning on holding it for as long as we were on the floor and breathing only when she got back in the elevator again.
Blood smells a certain way, a kind of sticky, almost metallic odor, and the air was full of it when the elevator doors opened. My stomach quailed a little bit, but I swallowed manfully and followed Murphy out of the elevator and down the hall past a couple of uniform cops, who recognized me and waved me past without asking to see the little laminated card the city had given me. Granted, even in a big-city department like Chicago P.D., they didn’t exactly call in a horde of consultants (I went down in the paperwork as a psychic consultant, I think), but still. Unprofessional of the boys in blue.
Murphy preceded me into the room. The smell of blood grew thicker, but there wasn’t anything gruesome behind door number one. The outer room of the suite looked like some kind of a sitting room done in rich tones of red and gold, like a set from an old movie in the thirties—expensive-looking, but somehow faux, nonetheless. Dark, rich leather covered the chairs, and my feet sank into the thick, rust-colored shag of the carpet. The velvet velour curtains had been drawn, and though the lights were all on, the place still seemed a little too dark, a little too sensual in its textures and colors. It wasn’t the kind of room where you sit and read a book. Voices came from a doorway to my right.
“Wait here a minute,” Murphy told me. Then she went through the door to the right of the entryway and into what I supposed was the bedroom of the suite.
I wandered around the sitting room with my eyes mostly closed, noting things. Leather couch. Two leather chairs. Stereo and television in a black glossy entertainment center. Champagne bottle warming in a stand holding a brimming tub of what had been ice the night before, with two empty glasses set beside it. There was a red rose petal on the floor, clashing with the carpeting (but then, in that room, what didn’t?).
A bit to one side, under the skirt of one of the leather recliners, was a little piece of satiny cloth. I bent at the waist and lifted the skirt with one hand, careful not to touch anything. A pair of black satin panties, a tiny triangle with lace coming off the points, lay there, one strap snapped as though the thong had simply been torn off. Kinky.
The stereo system was state of the art, though not an expensive brand. I took a pencil from my pocket and pushed the PLAY button with the eraser. Gentle, sensual music filled the room, a low bass, a driving drumbeat, wordless vocals, the heavy breathing of a woman as background.
The music continued for a few seconds more, and then it began to skip over a section about two seconds long, repeating it over and over again.
I grimaced. Like I said, I have this effect on machinery. It has something to do with being a wizard, with working with magical forces. The more delicate and modern the machine is, the more likely it is that something will go wrong if I get close enough to it. I can kill a copier at fifty paces.
“The love suite,” came a man’s voice, drawing the word love out into luuuuuuuv. “What do you think, Mister Man?”
“Hello, Detective Carmichael,” I said, without turning around. Carmichael’s rather light, nasal voice had a distinctive quality. He was Murphy’s partner and the resident skeptic, convinced that I was nothing more than a charlatan, scamming the city out of its hard-earned money. “Were you saving the panties to take home yourself, or did you just overlook them?” I turned and looked at him. He was short and overweight and balding, with beady, bloodshot eyes and a weak chin. His jacket was rumpled, and there were food stains on his tie, all of which served to conceal a razor intellect. He was a sharp cop, and absolutely ruthless at tracking down killers.
He walked over to the chair and looked down. “Not bad, Sherlock,” he said. “But that’s just foreplay. Wait’ll you see the main attraction. I’ll have a bucket waiting for you.” He turned and killed the malfunctioning CD player with a jab from the eraser end of his own pencil.
I widened my eyes at him, to let him know how terrified I was, then walked past him and into the bedroom. And regretted it. I looked, noted details mechanically, and quietly shut the door on the part of my head that had started screaming the second I entered the room.
They must have died sometime the night before, as rigor mortis had already set in. They were on the bed; she was astride him, body leaned back, back bowed like a dancer’s, the curves of her breasts making a lovely outline. He stretched beneath her, a lean and powerfully built man, arms reaching out and grasping at the satin sheets, gathering them in his fists. Had it been an erotic photograph, it would have made a striking tableau.
Except that the lovers’ rib cages on the upper left side of their torsos had expanded outward, through their skin, the ribs jabbing out like ragged, snapped knives. Arterial blood had sprayed out of their bodies, all the way to the mirror on the ceiling, along with pulped, gelatinous masses of flesh that had to be what remained of their hearts. Standing over them, I could see into the upper cavity of the bodies. I noted the now greyish lining around the motionless left lungs and the edges of the ribs, which apparently were forced outward and snapped by some force within.
It definitely cut down on the erotic potential.
The bed was in the middle of the room, giving it a subtle emphasis. The bedroom followed the decor of the sitting room—a lot of red, a lot of plush fabrics, a little over the top unless viewed in candlelight. There were indeed candles in holders on the wall, now burned down to the nubs and extinguished.
I stepped closer to the bed and walked around it. The carpet squelched as I did. The little screaming part of my brain, safely locked up behind doors of self-control and strict training, continued gibbering. I tried to ignore it. Really I did. But if I didn’t get out of that room in a hurry, I was going to start crying like a little girl.
So I took in the details fast. The woman was in her twenties, in fabulous condition. At least I thought she had been. It was hard to tell. She had hair the color of chestnuts, cut in a pageboy style, and it seemed dyed to me. Her eyes were only partly open, and I couldn’t quite guess at their color beyond not-dark. Vaguely green?
The man was probably in his forties, and had the kind of fitness that comes from a lifetime of conditioning. There was a tattoo on his right biceps, a winged dagger, that the pull of the satin sheets half concealed. There were scars on his knuckles, layers deep, and across his lower abdomen was a vicious, narrow, puckered scar that I guessed must have come from a knife wound.
There were discarded clothes around—a tux for him, a little sheath of a black dress and a pair of pumps for her. There were a pair of overnight bags, unopened and set neatly aside, probably by a porter.
Table of Contents
What People are Saying About This
Exciting, well-plotted, complex, an excellent read and an amazingly good first novel.
(Chris Bunch, author of The Warrior King)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
At times funny, touching, snarky, scary, and exciting, this book is a great introduction to the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Mr. Butcher has created an excellent character in Harry Dresden, who, while being in unrealistic situations, seems to have realistic reactions (for a hero, that is). I cannot recommend this book enough to fans of fantasy and mystery, as well as the other following books in the series.
This book is clearly one of my favorite books! I myself have a very difficult time getting actively engaged in books. I buy many books hoping to get captured by one of them so that I will not want to put the book down. This book has done it! I didn't know anything about the Dresden Files Series until the twelfth book already came out. I read reviews on that one and it sparked some curiosity into purchasing the first book. After reading the first few chapters, I was hooked! The thing I love most about this book is how laid back and down to earth the main character(Harry Dresden) is. I also enjoy finding out what this paranormal investigator will get his hands into. Another great thing I enjoy about the book is that it takes place in Illinois, and the author provides very great detail in the surroundings in an actual location which people could picture in there own heads. This is a great read, and I highly recommend this book! I can't wait to purchase the next books in the series!
This book, this series, is mystery done right - the key clue given in the first chapter or three, and you never see it because it's just part of the background. I've never recommended this book to anyone who didn't enjoy it. This book is fantasy for myth and folklore enthusiasts - it's real old-world style, with a powerful grounding in cultural heritage. It has a real pre-Tolkien feel to its mythology. I bought this book for my dad, who's not a big reader. It takes him ages to read a book. He finished it in two weeks and was eager to go to the store to get the next! I can rarely pick up a new book in this series and not read it from start to finish in a single sitting.
Wow! I do not read science fiction and generally do not even watch it in TV or movies but I did watch "The Dresden Files" on the sci fi channel a few years back. Something about the character really appealed to me. So when I saw that the show was based on a series of books I had to pick one up. I was not disappointed. The characters are really brought out well and you get more of a glimpse of Harry's backstory that one season of TV was not able to do. The concept of a practicing wizard that can be found in the Chicago yellow pages is so innovative it deserves a read just for that! Harry takes the reader on a really fun ride through the world of wizrds, vampires, mages and all sorts of other worldly creatures in his efforts to help the Chicago police department solve what starts out as two truly gruesome morders that could only have been accomplished but a powerful other worldly thing. Unfortunately, Harry is the only one in the city anyone thinks is powerful enough to pull off that level of magic so he must work fast to be solve the murders, prevent more murders (including his own), and clear his own name. An awesome first novel in a series. I can't wait to read more.
I tend to like fantasy elements in my books sometimes, which is probably what attracted me to this. The fact that B&N was giving it away free to Nook owners was also an important factor in my decision. I always marvel at people who pick apart a book like this because it isn't literature like Charles Dickins. So what? Sometimes you want a good, fun, fast, easy, entertaining read. That is exactly what this is. The main character isinteresting (with a lot of backstory that I hope comes out in future books) and the supporting characters are quirky and fun in good supporting roles. This is a fun book to take to the beach this summer or to read before bed after long days at work. You don't have to think too much. It's not terribly hard to figure out where it is going or what the resolution will be, but Butcher takes you on a fun path to get there. I never once thought of stopping my read even after I figured out what the outcome would be. There is a lot to be said for that. Butcher's style is simply entertaining and that is what I am looking for when I read fiction. In short, if you are looking for something a little offbeat, fun and entertaining, I would recommend picking up this book.
I got into the Dresden Files by accidentally coming upon the ill-fated TV series. Intrigued, I read the first book and was hooked. The Dresden Files, to put it simply, are fun. The characters are not to over the top, and each story (or book) is new and refreshing. If you need some easy reading escapism that will both make you laugh and give you a taste of drama, this is the series for you.
This is a phenomenal genre-hopping series! An entertaining read, encompassing all the best elements of fantasy, action, humor, and suspense! While the Dresden Files series is classified as SF/Fantasy, it should be recommended for readers from all genres, including Mystery, Fiction, and even Romance! Part Harry Potter and part Hard-boiled detective story, this series will get you hooked and keep you wanting more!
I read the rave reviews about these novels and decided to give them a go. While they are good, there are parts which are annoying as hell. Harry's depressing introspection really detracts from the story in my opinion, and his very annoying habit of doing the wrong thing while he explains that he is doing the wrong thing makes me cringe. This is most often evident in his dealings with Lieutenant Murphy. To paraphrase, "I'm doing the wrong thing, I know it, Murphy will be pissed, but I'm gonna do it anyway because I'm an idiot, and I don't like myself very much." This grew wearisome by the second novel, and I can't see myself reading any more of these if this pattern continues throughout the series.
A truly average read. Harry is a wizard who moonlights working with the PD on cases that don't seem to be "normal" crimes. I think the series would have more promise if the publisher would allow the author to finish writing the book rather than sum up all of the loose ends in the last 10 pages.
This guy can write a good, entertaining story - that's all I can say. His main character, Harry, is dry, and funny, and seems to know better than another else how he comes across to unsuspecting people. Action, laughs, and a good mystery: perfect!
The first few books are a quick read, and a bit "slow" in terms of quality. However they are merely introducing the cast of characters and the books begin to take off and this becomes in my opinion one of the best series of books I have ever read. One drawback is the author is not complete in the series, so be prepared to be left on some cliffhangers for many years to come.
I was looking for something different when i read this book years ago. Jim Butcher has come a long way and I have been a follower since the biginning. I actually turned some of my friends to start reading and they love him. This book is worth every moment of your time. Enjoy!
I had never read any of this author's work before. I really enjoyed it. It took me out of the 'here and now' into the 'what if' of life. Characters are quirky, the story moves fast - I did have to go back a couple times to pick up something I had missed - I was reading too fast! I will be reading the rest of his books!
The mashup of genres represented in the book is definitely one of its most appealing features. Dresden makes a great detective character complete with women issues, frumpy clothes and generally disheveled life. The plot is solid but unamazing with only a few twists,turns and surprizes. Likewise the magic elements are a bit trite by current fantasy standards. There isn't a clear, consistant and unique "system" of magic that you get with today's top fantasy writers. Those issues aside the genre bending did make for an enjoyable pulp fiction read.
I wonder if the other Dresden books are so formulaic, I'll probably never know. I really wanted to like this because Harry seems a complex and interesting character. I got so annoyed that every time he's about to save the day (or do just about anything) something bad just happens, in most cases out of bad luck I guess but sometimes from his stupidity; the scorpion gets loose, he forgets about his date, Morgan shows up, a demon shows up, the elevator breaks, Murphy changes her whole opinion of him just because, Bob is gone and can't help with a spell, he doesn't have his staff or rod which are both barely out of reach...it became rather maddening. Conveniently, the book is short and a quick read and while it isn't downright awful, I did not like it, nor am I in any hurry to continue the series.
I liked the premise. I liked Harry & his cat. Although, it was pretty cheeky of the author to name the wizard Harry. I liked the 1st few chapters, but, as the story progressed, the strong start waned. By page 75, I was disheartened. By page 127, I no longer cared what happened. The story lost focus. There were a lot of different plot threads, and the author seemed unable to form them into a cohesive and interesting story. This is the 1st book in the series. Naturally, the author wanted to give the readers a certain amount of background information about the characters as well as teasers about potential future plot threads. Unfortunately, he gave us too much information at once. He just kept dumping it in willy nilly, so there was no real focal point for this story. Also, both the story's pacing and the quality of the writing were erratic. The writing would be strong and sure for 1 or 2 paragraphs and then, at best, immature and amateurish for 1 or 2 more. Disappointing!
Storm Front is book one of the Dresden Files by American author, Jim Butcher. High-class escort, Jennifer Stanton and a body-guard, Tommy Tomm are found murdered in a hotel in Chicago. The circumstances suggest sorcery is involved. Wizard and Paranormal Investigator, Harry Dresden soon finds he has a few problems: the head of CPD Special Investigations, Lieutenant Karrin Murphy wants Harry’s help in solving the case; Tomm’s boss, mobster Gentleman Johny Marcone wants Harry to actively not investigate; the White Council, overseeing all things wizardly, seem convinced that Harry is the murderer; Stanton’s boss, vampiress Bianca is angry over an accidental transgression; Susan Rodriguez, reporter for the Chicago Arcane, wants a scoop; oh, and he has another case to solve as well, a missing husband with a recent interest in magic. This introduction to the Dresden Files sees Harry battling monsters, scorpions, gangsters, a drug dealer and other wizards; on one occasion, he does this naked, with shampoo in his eyes; on another, handcuffed to a semi-conscious Karrin. He makes potions (the love potion ingredients are particularly worth noting!), uses spells, and suffers quite a few injuries before finally getting out of some tricky situations. The advantage of the fantasy genre for an author is that they can make their own rules, so this instalment also serves to establish some ground rules for the world Butcher has created. Harry is an appealing character, as are Susan and Karrin, so readers who enjoy this book will be able to look forward to more of them in what looks to be an addictive series.
Harry Dresden, Private Investigator and Wizard *Book source ~ Local library Harry Dresden is the only wizard in Chicago. He has an office where he works mostly as a Private Investigator and is a special consultant to the Chicago P.D. for the weird cases. Lt. Karrin Murphy is the Director in charge of SI, Special Investigations and she only calls Harry in when things are very weird or very weirdly bad. Murphy calls Harry in for a double homicide that is particularly nasty. In addition to figuring out how they were murdered using magic he gets a missing persons case. The wife of Victor Sells wants Harry to find her husband who has disappeared after acting strangely. Just another day in the life of Harry, Chicago’s wizard. Guest reviewers: A ~ my 16-year-old daughter T ~ my 14-year-old son K ~ my 13-year-old son Ah, it looks like I’ve hit upon a winner with The Dresden Files. I am now a hero in my kids’ eyes. I’ll be able to dine on my brilliance in picking this series for many months to come as we work our way through the series. *preens* K has actually read all the books already, so he knows what’s going on, but has been very good about not giving anything away to A or T. Harry is a hit with everyone and is the favorite character. A likes Murphy next and Mister (Harry’s cat). Toot Toot (or as A said Fart Fart when she couldn’t remember his name) the dewdrop fairy is another character they want to see more of (and I know that they will). Gentleman John Marcone, the local crime lord and his main henchman Hendricks are also interesting to A and she would like to know more about them. Bob is also a favorite and Bianca the vampire is not. They all like Harry’s explanations about magic and potions in particular and thought the drug 3rd Eye is very weird. Everyone loves the humor throughout the book and the mystery had enough twists and turns to keep them guessing. Favorite quote: “Little pig, little pig, let me in…” as Harry blows the doors of Gentleman John Marcone’s club the Varsity into little wood splinters. Damn, Harry. It’s no surprise that we will be diving right into book 2, Fool Moon.
I was not impressed by this book. I finished it because I was sort of interested in how it ended, but I would not read another. There was way too much hand-wringing by Dresden - yeah, we get it, he's a good guy. No need to beat the reader over the head with it. If you want a good, easy to read page turner, I would recommend Harry Potter, the Percy Jackson series, or Hunger Games instead.
I'm a big fan of this series. The characters are real and relatable and flawed. This i not the best book in the series, but it's a good start. Give it a read, you won't be sorry.
Start hear to step into Dresden's Chicago. This is a great story that stands as a pinnacle in the genre of urban fantasy. It provides enough magic to satisfy a fantasy fan, enough grit to satisfy the detective story fan, and hints at the personal growth to come as Dresden evolves. My only complaint, It's the same price as a paperback for the e-book. And it's short! 238 pages, and they go too fast. It's a common complaint with the e-book market, and their comes a time when you just bite the bullet to read a good story. I don't regret this purchase, it should encourage Jim Butcher to write more, but the price did bother me enough to stick in the craw a bit while reading it.
I read the whole series and cannot wait for the next adventure with Harry Dresden. Totally love these books!
Wonderfully written, this book draws you in, although it can be a little inappropriate at times.
I was really excited to read this book, but was a little disappointed. After the book finished it was good, it finished on a good note, but the hero of the book was a little pitiful. He was definitely likable but why did so many bad things have to happen, finally at the end one thing worked out for him, but not everything. There was so much bad things and not enough good or neutral things to even out the bad. Overall it was a good book but very disappointing.
The Dresden Files are an epic fantasy/mystery novel series written in the perspective of the main protagonist Harry Dresden. Not only is Harry, Chicago's only professional wizard, but the only one listed under the yellow pages. He is a witty, sarcastic, and likable sort of guy, if you are not one of the many supernatural creatures lurking in and out of the city. The author, Jim Butcher, does a fantastic job of designing complex characters, as both the good and bad have thought out intriguing personalities. With most mystery novels, the reader will be able to pay close attention and figure out what is going on. The author helps us out with this by placing all vital information at the beginning of the story, so there will be no surprises popping up out of nowhere. This does not mean that all new characters are introduced in the beginning, so if a new character is responsible for something, the reader will have ample time to figure it out. These books are almost like an adult version of the Harry Potter series. There is a little bit of swearing, adult themes, and gory details so it is best suited for teenagers and adults. If you like action, suspense, humor, and detail, be sure to give Storm Front a try.