I don't know what pushed me recently to request Volumes 1-6 as an ebook from the library, but I did and I had a while to wait before my name got to the top. I knew that there was no way I was going to read six books at the end of the school year in the standard loan time/ I "put down" what I was in the middle of and managed to read two volumes. I'll list them as separate entries.
So Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is an actual wizard in the modern world, and that world isn't Harry Potter's with the regular schools and such. Harry's father was a stage magician and named him for famous magicians. Unlike his father, Harry has an aptitude for actual magic. The downside is that magic and technology don't go well together, so he doesn't keep a lot of tech around. This means his old car breaks down often, and he uses a lot of candles.
In Harry's world, he has to make a living, so he works as a private detective and he freelances for the local police department. No one actually believes in magic or that he's anything other than a scam or a fraud. Except that he gets results. Other things that they might not expect to exist are vampires, fairies, air spirits, and other entities from the Nevernever, which while mentioned, we don't get to visit. There's also a ruling White Council, which can hold the power of life or death over Harry. In fact, he's being followed by someone looking for an excuse to kill him, Walden Morgan. Harry has to play by the rules, and magic has a lot of them.
The actual magic spells and potions are interesting. Potions require certain ingredients that appeal to the five senses, and that would include putting a ray of sunshine in. For that matter, sunshine can be held in a handkerchief and shone later.
The two characters who seem to believe in Harry more than the others are Lt Murphy, the head of the Special Investigations unit of Chicago PD (which gets no respect, really) who calls him in to assist her with a case, and Johnny Marcone, the head of the underworld. Marcone has looked Dresden in the eye and not freaked out.
In the first volume, Harry is called in to investigate two gruesome murders where the victims are a wiseguy and a vampire call girl. Right there, you know it's going to be interesting conducting interviews. Especially when Marcone offers to pay Dresden his going rate to take the week off.
At the same time, Harry actually has a reluctant client show up to find her husband. The two cases become intertwined, and before you know it Harry is going to be the next victim -- either of the killer or of Morgan or the White Council. He has to solve the case and stop another wizard from attacking before the next big storm hits Chicago and powers the bizarre rituals behind the killing spree.
As for the review portion of this entry: I enjoyed the book and made sure I had time to squeeze in a second before my loan was over. I liked the interaction between Dresden and the air spirit, Bob, who lives inside a skull in Harry's cellar (underneath his basement apartment) and who knows a lot about creating potions. The fairy, Toot-Toot was meh, a useful creature to move the story along. I like that Harry got a girlfriend, so I don't have to expect a Mulder/Scully thing between him and Murphy, who he considers a friend. And I liked the odd rules for magic, which seems refreshing while sounding archaic in nature.
This is definitely a series I will get back to.