Storm Front (Dresden Files Book 1), Jim Butcher
I don't know why I hadn't read these before, since I have a bit of a Thing for modern-urban-supernatural stuff, but I hadn't. So I finally got around to acquiring a copy of the first book from desdenova in such a brutal and horrible way that it made her deathly ill. So now I can post about it.
Storm Front takes place in vaguely-present-day Chicago, following the exploits of a wizard named Harry. (Yes, really, and no, it's not a rip-off. Think Houdini, named after.) I'm already at a bit of an advantage, since I've only been in Chicago like twice in my entire life, and don't know it well at all, and thus wasn't driven mad by Butcher not bothering to follow any sort of actual plan of the city (which I've heard is a problem in this book). So there's that. Yay me? I can't quite figure out though if it's supposed to be the actual present day, or one that's *slightly* more paranormal-knowledgable. I mean, people seem to not quite believe in a lot of the stuff, but they also don't seem quite as disbelieving as you'd expect, if you get my drift. Anyhow.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, definitely enough that I'm picking up the second and giving it a whirl. The conflicts between wizardishness and present-day mundanity were nice (and SHUT UP LJ, stop telling me those aren't words). Dresden's character is... not perfect, but deep and interesting enough to have me at least semi-hooked, and the rest of the characters feel slightly stock in some cases, but at least they're *interesting* stock, and he fleshes them out a bit.
I was a bit annoyed at times at how... silly things get at times (like... trapped sunlight and the sound of mouse scampers in a jar? Meh), and there were a couple occasions where I could see "twists" coming a mile away, but hey. At least it's crafted well enough to get me past those kinks. So like I said, coming back for more. Probably a larger problem is that I don't really buy into the, ah, authority group(1) and its place in the world, but we'll see how that turns out in further books.
And hey, nothing's perfect, right?
So anyhow, if you like modern-day supernatural (or wizards named Harry), and you haven't yet, you might wanna give this one a try.
1 - Slightly Spoily Footnote: Okay, we have a White Council that appears to exist solely to make sure mages use spells for the Shiny Happy Goodness of magekind (okay okay, I know they're not that sappy and twee, but still)... and yet they look down their noses at the police and would be easily willing to take one of them out without a problem? Meh. Come on, I don't think even a council of mages/wizards is going to be all that separate from the Real World, ya know? This isn't Hogwarts after all.