A Chicago-based wizard turns hard-boiled detective in The Dresden Files

The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher chronicles the adventures of Harry Dresden, the world’s only wizard-for-hire, as he investigates crimes with a magical twist and saves the city of Chicago from assorted minions of evil, including vampires, demons and fiendish goats.

While some of the basics mechanics of this series aren’t new — magical man investigates mabook cover Small Favorgical crimes in a big city — there are a few key details that set the Dresden Files apart from the rest of the “urban fantasy” books out there. Most of those details can be found in minor characters like Bob the Talking Skull, perhaps the best magical assistant ever devised. Keep an eye out for Ivy the Archive, Mab the Winter Queen, and a dewdrop faerie known as Toot-toot. In the Dresden Files, it is often the little guys who make the biggest difference, or at least add the greatest moments of comic relief.

The Dresden Files was made into a short-lived television show on cable’s SCI FI Channel. While the team converting the series from book to screen managed to encompass some of the basic concepts, many details were altered. This made for easier filming and marketability, but managed to lose enough of the series’ integrity that many fans were unhappy with the results. Still, it is great to watch as an accompaniment to the books, and it brought many new readers to the fold.

The newest book, number 10 in the series, Small Favor, was published last month. While each novel could be read as a stand alone story, the character arcs demand readers start at book one, Storm Front. If you’re browsing for Butcher titles at the Library, look in the Science Fiction (SCI-FIC) section.

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