Harry Dresden is a wizard. Not some entertainer, but a real magic-using wizard. His advertisements say as much: "No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties or Other Entertainment". He's kept on retainer by the police and often helps detective Karrin Murphy on cases, but the latest case may just get him in trouble with the High Council (the ruling entity of the Never-Never) and the Chicago police. Someone has used powerful magic to murder a member of the mob and his female companion. Few wizards are powerful enough to pull off such a spell. Unfortunately, Harry is one of them-- a fact that makes him a prime suspect.
If you take away the fantasy elements, Storm Front is at heart a noir detective story, complete with many stock characters common to the genre. There's the hardened cop, the jaded hero, hired thugs and even a few femme fatales. While this all sounds very predictable and tedious, Butcher pulls off an entertaining story, one I didn't want to put down. The action of the story comes across so clearly that Dreseden's Chicago comes to life.
The one reason I picked up a copy of Storm Front was The Dresden Files series on the SciFi Channel. Often when books are made into television or movies something is lost (especially with the SciFi Channel). Since I'm really enjoying the tv show I was a little reluctant to pick up the books. After the mess they made of LeGuin's Earthsea I expected Butcher's books to differ from the series, but I was pleasantly surprised. Sure there are differences from the book-- some I like, some I don't-- But I'm impressed by how much the overall tone of the writing translated into the series.
If you only know Harry Dresden from the SciFi Channel series you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Storm Front by Jim Butcher. It's an entertaining read that will pull you further into the Harry's world. I know I'll be picking up the other titles in the series.
Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Published by Roc
Storm Front is available at Amazon.com
I reviewed Storm Front from my own personal library