The Dresden Files, written by Jim Butcher, has been around since 2000. The series has been very well received, winning many fans to the currently 12-book run with its humorous blend of fantasy and mystery and the grumpy wizard protagonist Harry Dresden. The series begins with Storm Front.
Harry Dresden is a practicing wizard in Chicago. He's a detective, of sorts, that works frequently with the Chicago Police Department as well as freelance work for anyone willing to pay. He's behind on his rent and down on his luck when he's called in to investigate some gruesome murders that look like they may have been done by someone using supernatural abilities. His investigation takes him to many odd and interesting characters in Chicago, from gangsters to vampires to demons, and soon his life spirals out of control.
Storm Front was a breath of fresh air to read. Written conversationally in first-person, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a witty, sarcastic protagonist that charms the reader. Butcher's skill of slowly revealing things about Dresden --his back-story, his education, his powers-- was masterfully done and worked great with the flow of the novel. By the end I felt like I could relate to Harry and understand why he acts the way he does.
Yes, you say, but what about the plot? Well folks, characterization is certainly not the only thing that shines in Storm Front. The story is captivating, the prose is rich, the humor is great, the magic is understandable, the mystery is, well, you get the point. The plot is exceptional and I loved it. Dresden tells it like he sees it, not from some omniscient perspective, but from the point of view of a detective who is trying to figure out what's happening.
As for dislikes, the list is quite short. There was an occasional curse word, but that sort of thing really doesn’t bother me. There were a few sexual scenes, but nothing explicit or raunchy. Really that's about it. To me, the book flowed well and kept me interested and entertained, and that's what's important.
Overall, Jim Butcher's Storm Front was a delightful adventure that is easily recommendable to anyone with an interest in fantasy, mystery/detective, or humorous literature. There's no doubt that I will be reading more books in The Dresden Files, especially if they are all as good as this one.