I’ve reviewed this book before but I was writing for a different blog at the time. Also, it has stood the test of time quite well and I feel it deserves another review.
Harry Dresden, the only openly practicing wizard in the country, is about to have a very rough weekend. Set in the city of Chicago, Harry must help the local Special Investigations unit figure out who is behind the grisly deaths of two people. While Harry would like to steer clear of this one and just focus on the mundane case of a missing husband, rent’s due and the Chicago PD is willing to pay for his services.
Harry is a very interesting lead character. He’s got this past that he doesn’t really want to talk about. Then he has this whole life that seems to be built around walking on the edges. The wizarding community doesn’t like that he so openly practices his abilities (let alone listing his services in the yellow pages). Meanwhile, the bulk of normal society scoffs at him and asks him to perform at kids’ birthday parties. He’s also a flawed character. He has trouble trusting people and he’s sometimes arrogant and bullheaded. Yet he is also a gentlemen to the ladies without being a chauvinist and is always willing to fight for what is right.
The plot moves quickly but there’s also these luscious moments of introspection tossed in throughout the story. I got to know Harry but was never bored with the ‘getting to know you’ parts. Harry’s wrapped up in two cases and his efforts on one or the other wrap around each other, always keeping me guessing as to where things will end up.
Then we have a plethora of interesting side characters. The infamous Lt. Karrin Murphy of the Chicago PD is both a support and pain in the arse to Harry. These two don’t fully trust each other and that leads to difficulties in coordinating efforts. Bob, Harry’s wizened friend, has some of the best lines of the book. Mister is a 30 pound cat that deigns to call Harry’s small apartment home. Susan Rodriguez is a reporter of supernatural events and doesn’t mind doing a little flirting to pick up a lead. Meanwhile, we have John Marcone, one of the main crime bosses of the city.
This is the book that got me hooked on urban fantasy. Now, years later, after having read many, many urban fantasy books, I have returned to it. This book has stood the test of time and is still one of my favorites of the genre. I do believe I enjoyed this book even more on the second reading. There’s plenty of small details I had forgotten. I’ve read up through Book 14, Cold Days, and I really enjoyed coming back to beginning.
The Narration: James Marsters makes a great Harry Dresden. He’s got the beaten down PI voice, with a little gravel in it. I also love his uppity voice for Bob. His female character voices are believable and each one is distinct from the next.