By Jim Butcher
Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Roc, 2000
Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, mystery, paranormal
Series: The Dresden Files; 1
Intended audience: Adult
Number of pages: 322
Setting: Chicago, IL and outskirts (Chicagoland)
Time period: 2000
Plot summary: Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is “the only openly practicing wizard in the country” (p. 2). One can find his ad in the Chicago yellow pages. Business has been slow for him; that changes quickly when he gets a call about a missing person and a call from the Chicago Police Department Special Investigations Unit on the same afternoon. Soon, Harry will be much busier than he wants to be trying to find a killer. But there’s no turning back, especially when others start to think that Harry is the one responsible for the magical murders.
Pacing: Lots of action and dialog. This is a very fast paced book.
Characterization: The story is told in first person by Harry. While the reader only becomes familiar with Harry, many interesting characters appear in this story, including a crime boss, a faerie, a vampire, and my favorite – Bob, the skull.
Frame: The story is set in the Chicagoland area and much of the action takes place at night. Harry is investigating someone who uses black magic; the frame is quite dark.
Story line: Harry’s personality and associates make this a fun and entertaining read in spite of the grisly killings.
Similar authors: Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Rob Thurman
Personal notes: With its super fast pace, this was a great book to travel with. I read it in a day – started it in the Tucson airport and finished right before touching down in NY. It kept me engrossed the whole day – including two extra hours in O’Hare. I definitely plan to read more of The Dresden Files. It was interesting being reminded what airports were like prior to 9/11 – there is an airport scene where Harry is able to park his car outside and quickly run in to use a phone.
Other (themes, diversity): Wizards, female detective, faerie, demon, spirit, vampire, organized crime boss