Take traditional hardboiled fiction, give it a mind bending preternatural twist and you have Storm Front, the first book in a new series with the potential to send author Jim Butcher to the top of the gumshoe sub-genre of horror/fantasy fiction.
Harry Dresden, the series' protagonist, is everything that's great about the hardboiled anti-hero, with a twist: He's a wizard trying to make a living working practical magic in a modern world that's foolishly rejected the supernatural in favor of science and technology. Part average guy, part renaissance man, Harry's got a dark side, a wicked sense of humor and a deeply rooted, personal code of honor that drives him to risk everything to fight the supernatural forces preying on his clients, an attitude that puts him at constant, dangerous odds with both the bad guys and the authorities alike.
In Storm Front, when a routine murder investigation turns out to be anything but routine, the police reluctantly turn to Harry for help. But a case that started as a way to pay the rent soon gets complicated for Harry when he's forced to cross paths with the Chicago mob and a mysterious figure known as the Shadowman, drawing Harry into a web of black magic and danger.
Already under the Doom of Damocles (a form of probation placed on him by the White Council who oversee the ethical use of magic in the world of the mundane) Harry himself falls under suspicion and is forced to risk execution to solve the mystery and stop the Shadowman, before the killer takes another victim.
Storm Front is a riveting, action packed roller coaster ride of a novel, a damn good mystery with compelling characters set in a rich alternate reality universe where anything can happen. There's a little something for just about everyone here from black magic and the Chicago mob to vampire madams, demons and the fey.
I enjoyed this novel immensely and am looking forward to the next in the series.