By Jim Bucher
Meet Harry Dresden. Chicago's only openly practicing Wizard.
If you've seen the show, you know the basic idea of what the story's about: scruffy, poor wizard tries to solve crimes like a sort of magical PI-- more of the noir type then the Magnum type. He's got no money, he's never sleeping or eating enough, he's stubbornly old-fashioned, cocky, self-assured in an entirely lunatic way sometimes, and he's used to walking the lines between crazy and law-abiding. He works with Murphy in the Police Department to solve weird cases of a magical sort to supplement the little money he makes on his own.
Book One starts with three problems: A police case where people's hearts are blown out, a scared woman looking for her husband, and the Mob wanting to pay him not to bother with either. And from there, it all gets weird.
Guys, it's a really fun book to read. I started late Saturday night, and had it finished by 1:30 this morning, and that was with time off to do actual day-time things like clean the house, cook dinner and go to the store at eleven thirty for groceries. It's well-written in a way that isn't at all self-complicating-- all first person, all inside Harry's head, and while his magical skills give him extra insight, he's really just a normal guy with a strong sense of right and wrong, duty and debt, and he knows when he messes up, knows when he's not being nice and has to and feels bad about it, and is resigned to the fact that he can't really have a normal life, but still isn't all that happy about it. He's an appealing POV, a man who knows what he has to do and tries his best to do it right, and when things go wrong, still tries to get the right thing done, even if it means his death, and even if he's got a mystical death sentence hanging over him, restricting what he's allowed to do.
There's fairies, ghosts, all sorts of spirits and demons, a black wizard, conjured monsters, Mafioso, a tabloid reporter with unclear motives, damsels in distress, chicks that'll kick your ass, really neat magic...
When I finished this one, I went up stairs to my neighbor's house and immediately borrowed the next one, and started it before I went to bed. There's nine more to go: let's see how they hold up, shall we?