Wednesday, February 27, 2008

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

Harry Dresden, the central character of sci-fi/fantasy author Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, is a sort of wizard for hire/private detective. The concept sounds a little silly but Butcher makes it work by invoking the style of the great Raymond Chandler, creator of probably the most compelling and certainly the best written private dick in all of literature, Philip Marlowe.

Like virtually all detective stories the premise of "Storm Front" is a basic murder mystery. Well, almost. In this case, the murder, which soon becomes a series of murders, was done via magic, with the victims hearts spontaneously bursting from their chests. Pretty grizzly stuff but I have to admit it got my attention.

The first few chapters read like a classic detective story however, the book falls off the rails slightly when Dresden starts performing magic. Some of the scenes that involve magic are entertaining in a Harry Potter fashion, while others are just plain hokey. Overall though, I found the book interesting enough to keep me turning the pages and the central, and seemingly reoccurring, characters were likable enough to make me want to read the next book in the series, "Fool Moon."

It also made we want to revisit the works of the great Raymond Chandler which, are required reading for anyone interested in fiction. Chandler was truly one of the great writers of the twentieth century. Jim Butcher is by no means in Chandler's league but "Storm Front" is an entertaining and fun story.

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