Harry Dresden is a hapless, down on his luck wizard. In fact, he's the only licensed wizard in the Chicago phone book. Business isn't exactly brisk so from time to time he acts as a consultant with the Chicago Police Department when the cases drift out of the mundane and into the realm of the paranormal. When Karrin Murphy, one of Chicago's finest, is called upon to investigate a double murder in which the victim's hearts seem to have literally exploded out of their chests, she knew it was time to call on Harry's unique skills. The victims, Tommy Tomm, a small time enforcer for mob boss Johnny Marcone and, Jennifer Stanton, a high priced call girl, were murdered in the torrid throes of love-making. One look at the crime scene was all that Dresden needed to realize that powerful black magic was at work.
"Storm Front" is an enjoyable novel that almost defies genre classification. While Harry Dresden assumes the role of the angst-ridden, hard-boiled detective with the self-sufficient, anti-authority attitude reminiscent of a John Corey or Harry Bosch, he's also a bit of a laughable bumbler. We've got fantasy, blended with comedy, the paranormal, cozy mystery and thriller.
As with any venture into the paranormal, a certain suspension of disbelief is required. But the willing reader will reap abundant rewards - strong character development; gritty, realistic, easy-flowing, natural dialogue that has lots of lightweight comedic moments; good guys and bad guys that will evoke strong reactions; smiles, chuckles and laughs throughout; a new supernatural universe complete with rules governing the use of magic and an over-riding White Council, the government overseeing the appropriate use of magic as it were; a convincing glimpse at the criminal mind's twisted interpretation of honour and respect; and an enjoyable tale that will provide a few hours of pure entertainment.
I don't think Jim Butcher and "Storm Front" take themselves too seriously. Neither should you. But you will enjoy them. Highly recommended.
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