Harry Dresden is the only wizard private investigator in the phone book, but he still has trouble making rent. So when a scared woman asks Harry to find her missing husband (an amateur magician) the same day Chicago P.D. asks him to consult on a grisly double murder, Harry’s takes both cases. When he learns the couple was murdered by some dangerously dark magic, Harry has to find the killer before the killer finds him.

Storm Front‘s plot is pretty standard pulpy fare, which makes for a quick and entertaining read. Many Dresden enthusiasts promise the series takes off around book 4-5, and I’m happy to read that far on Harry’s snarky humor alone.

I really like the cast of supplementary characters, including Murphy the hard boiled female cop, Bob the (peeping) memory spirit who lives in a skull, and Mister the cat. Dresden himself is a little bland, but most protagonists in urban fantasy novels are too. He’s old-fashioned. He likes to hold doors open for women and he doesn’t like technology. He always wears a black duster and uses a lot of one-line jokes.

One nitpick — It’s heavily advertised that this book takes place in Chicago, but I’m not sure why. The young adult novel Divergent did a better job of integrating Chicago infrastructure into its plot.

The audiobook is narrated by James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). As it turns out, the British accent was fake, but Marsters gives a surprisingly enjoyable tactile performance (lots of breathing, swallowing, general mouth noises) which solidifies the first person story as read by the socially awkward dark wizard himself.

Recommended for fans of urban fantasy, particularly guys looking for a relate-able lead.

“Paranoid? Probably. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face.”