Storm Front opens with Harry Dresden getting mocked by his mailman, because Dresden is a professional wizard. You can find him in the phone book. He helps the police out with some of the more mysterious cases, finds lost items, and generally uses his magic and knowledge of the supernatural for good. He’s a private investigator, but with a magical twist. The first in the Dresden Files series, Storm Front follows Harry as he hunts down the most powerful sorcerer he has ever gone up against, a man with a penchant for ripping the hearts out of his victims from miles away.
Written like a hard-boiled detective story, Jim Butcher has created a very unique series with Harry Dresden. Between Dresden’s thirty-pound cat Mister and the skull-residing spirit Bob, Butcher sets Dresden up with a fantastical home life with a more modern take. The magic in Storm Front focuses a lot on energy, mental capabilities, and a lot less on wand-waving. It’s sort of like Harry Potter for adults, you know, if Harry never married Ginny and had three kids he obviously named himself. Dresden has a great self-deprecating humor that keeps him from feeling too grandiose or self-righteous. He has his flaws, but he also knows he has better control over his innate powers than many of his peers. Dresden himself is a great, deep character who keeps you engaged in the series.
Alongside Dresden is his Chicago PD contact, Karrin Murphy. Short and hardly physically imposing, Murphy deals with crimes of occult nature. She calls Dresden in regularly to assist on cases, and she is just as much a match for Dresden as a character. A strong female counterpoint for Dresden, Murphy more than holds her own in Storm Front. Couple her with reporter Susan Rodriguez, and you get a surprising amount of female power for a fantasy detective novel.
Fool Moon and Grave Peril follow in the series, and both are better than the previous book. Storm Front really builds a world you want to learn more about, a character and companions that you want to keep following. I read the first three books in just a matter of days, and there are about nine more in the series I need to catch up on. First released in 2000, Storm Front may not be the newest series out there, but it is definitely worth checking out. With the increasing interest in different-slanted fantasy (especially due to TV shows like “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time”), the Dresden Files are ahead of the curve.