ProsFunny, exciting, and well balanced plot. A quick read that has me looking forward to getting my hands on the next book.
ConsI'd like to have read more about Harry's past and his experiences in the magical world. I'm hoping Jim Butcher will cover that in future novels.
Book One of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files follows the adventures of a hard-bitten, modern, street detective with a dark past, as he tries to survive in modern Chicago as a self-proclaimed professional wizard. He openly advertises himself, yet no one really takes him seriously. In fact, business is absolutely awful. He can barely pay his rent from month to month, and although the local P.D. uses his services occasionally, as a "psychic consultant," he is pretty much a laughingstock.
A few days behind on his rent, it is no wonder the desperate Harry takes on two cases at a time. The first is a missing person's case; the woman pays him in cash up front, and although he feels it is a waste of time, he feels honor-bound to give her what she paid for. Things get far more complicated, however, when the Chicago P.D. request his services on a grisly, yet strange, double murder. On the scene, Harry realizes the acts were committed with some very powerful black magic. Of course, his dire financial straits require that he accept both cases in order to make the rent.
Things get bad, when other people get involved, and downright dangerous, when the Black Mage responsible learns Harry's name. It becomes a race to the finish in order to solve both cases, avoid several people trying to kill him, and stop the black mage's rise to power, all while keeping an order of white magicians from pinning the deaths on him.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The action was fast paced, but not so much that you could not follow it. The character of Harry Dresden was a lot of fun. Not at all the hero-type, Harry's first person account of the entire experience is filled with his self-deprecation, and honor-bound sense of justice that has the reader rooting for him and feeling sorry for him all at the same time. The idea of wizards and things that go bump in the night mixed in with a pulp-fiction modern Chicago vibe, made it very easy to imagine that underneath it all there just may be something dark lurking. In any case, I would be glad that a man like Harry Dresden is on the case.