Storm Front is an urban fantasy where magic and the things that go bump in the night are an open secret depending on who you are and where you live. In a world where wizards keep a low profile, the main character Harry Dresden is unique in that he is actually listed in the phone book as a wizard. When he is not writing pamphlets with imaginative titles about being a wizard, he works as a paranormal investigator.
Business is not exactly booming when Karrin Murphy, a police detective and friend contacts him to do a consultation on a violent murder that has occurred. The victims are a criminal in the pay of the local crime lord John Marcone, and an escort from a service that is run by a vampire.
Harry is able to confirm that magic was used to commit the murder, but runs into a snag when he is asked to supply information about the nature of the spell used. Harry is under probation (referred to melodramatically as “The Doom of Damocles” by the White Council, which Harry is a member in bad standing of) for having killed his teacher in self-defense. If he does any research into death spells, he is dead meat. He is not able to explain how or why to Karrin however, which eventually proves to be damaging to their relationship.
Things become complicated when John Marcone tries to hire Harry, and the cops followed by the White Council “parole officer” who had been keeping track of him decide that Harry’s the murderer.
This book is the first of what had become a very popular series that has crossed over into a television series. (I have not seen the tv series so I don’t know how good or bad it is.) I had been reluctant to read the series because it had seemed “more of the same,” as far as urban fantasy goes. I was pretty much convinced to give it a try by an acquaintance who had been very favorably impressed by the series.
I am not quite sure about the media comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (for one, the teeny blonde woman in the series is a cop, and Buffy is cop-allergic) this series definitely has its own style. This is a fast paced and entertaining book with a lot of interesting twists and turns, and an entertaining and endearing main character (well okay, endearing if you like grumpy hardboiled wizard-detectives.)