Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is not just a private investigator from Chicago, he's also a talented wizard; his advertisement stipulates that he doesn't do parties and the mailman thinks he's a nut. The Dresden Files: Storm Front is set in a contemporary and familiar world that is populated with not-so-familiar beings and magical entities.
Harry's rent was due last month and business is slow as usual. The pace quickens, however, when Karrin Murphy—Police Special Investigations—consults Harry on a double homocide that bears the signature of a black magic killing.
Our struggling P.I. is threatened by the mafia and tricked into going on a date with a journalist Saturday evening. Tensions flare when Harry improvises his way out of being devoured by a vampiress and a conflicting schedule that sees him reluctantly shout quasi-Latin spells to vanquish a nasty frog-like monstrosity that was summoned by someone intent on ruining Harry's weekend.
This first-person narrative is told from Harry's intimate perspective. His little quips in the prose keep the text light-hearted and amusing rather than bore the reader with a gritty seriousness you may find elsewhere. Storm Front is an entertaining read and easy to follow, which is a testament to the tight plot and superb writing.
One of the cons of being a wizard is not being able to play nicely with complex machinery. Harry can apparently kill a copier at 50 paces. This subtle problem of appliances not agreeing with him winds itself throughout the story in clever ways.
We also learn a little about the Laws of Magic which is decreed by the White Council and enforced by their Wardens. In Harry's case he is stalked by the Warden Morgan who is a dim-witted and obsessed with the notion that our protagonist is the bad guy. If Harry isn't careful that Warden's blade could be his end.
Harry doesn't live alone. His cat, Mister, occupies the studio they live in. Harry can't rely on a computer so he employs the services of Bob, an air spirit trapped inside a skull. We first meet Bob when Harry concocts some potions. Hilarity ensues when we learn that Bob is fond of trashy romance novels and is quite the sleaze.
The first of a long series, Storm Front is a great introduction to The Dresden Files .