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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Jim Butcher - Storm Front (The Dresden Files Book 1)

review written by Ro Bennett & read live on bookshow 12th Feb 2015

My eldest son suggested I read this. I don’t know whether he thinks I’m in my dotage because it’s not the sort of book I would normally read and is outside my comfort zone. I’m actually rather surprised he read it as he tends to go for something more sophisticated - so maybe now he’s fifty he’s in his dotage? 

Storm Front is a 2000 novel by science fiction and fantasy author Jim Butcher. It is the first novel in The Dresden Files, his first published series and it follows the character of Harry Dresden, professional wizard.

Wizard Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment. 

Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago's first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the 'everyday' world is full of strange and magical things - and most of them don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. 

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they look to him for answers. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder 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. And that's when things start to get . . . interesting.

Magic - it can get a guy killed.

There are 15 books in the series and  they are written as a first person narrative from the perspective of the main character, private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he recounts investigations into supernatural disturbances in modern-day Chicago.

In Storm Front, the first of the series, Dresden is hired by a woman to find her husband Victor Sells, an amateur magician who has been acting oddly. Later that day, he gets a call from Lieutenant Karrin Murphy, director of the Special Investigations (SI) Unit of the Chicago Police Department. Murphy's partner shows him the bodies of two people, gruesomely murdered by having their hearts ripped out. Dresden realizes that he is the chief suspect for these magical murders.
The book involves encounters with vampires, an unknown warlock, and the ever-suspicious Morgan who has been assigned to him by the White Council to make sure he didn’t bend or break any of the Laws of Magic. Morgan considers Dresden a liability and wants an excuse to eliminate him. 

It was a quick and easy read, brimming with wise cracks and one liners, romance, suspense, gore, it was great escapism fun with some interesting characters. Harry is a funny, likeable character, the book has a fast placed plot filled with plenty of twists and turns and an extensive cast of diverse, well-written secondary characters. However I don’t feel inclined to read any more in the series as it’s not really my cup of tea.  I think they would appeal more to young adults. So maybe my son is enjoying a second youth. 

The novel was later adapted into a pilot for a SyFy channel television series.

Jim Butcher is a ten-year student of martial arts and works as a computer support technician. He lives in Missouri with his wife and son and a houseful of computers.

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