This is the first book of The Dresden Files, a fair sized and presumably still growing pile of novels and also, I understand, a TV show. It came out in 2000, so presumably everyone's already read it. It's sort of similar to the modern urban vampire books I talked about in my last review, except that instead of being about a werewolf or a vampire, it's about a wizard. Fairly nice world building; he presents magic as being able to do quite a lot without spoiling it by giving many silly details of how it works.
Lots of action and explosions; it would look great on a big screen as long as you had a big FX budget and spent it wisely. The characters are maybe a little thin, since there isn't much time between explosions to develop them, but they're convincing. Not too long on deep inner meaning, but enjoyable.
7 out of 10.
I'm supposed to include a plot summary, but I can't remember the events and the sequence well enough to write a detailed synopsis. The high points: Harry gets called into investigate the horrific killing by magic of the bodyguard of Johnny Marcone (the local mob boss) and a high priced call girl. Murphy, his contact in the police, wants his help on the occult side, but Marcone doesn't want him in the case. The call girl worked for a vampire madam, and Murphy doesn't want Harry involved, but he checks into it anyway. He lies to Murphy enough to get her pissed off. He nearly gets brained by Marcone's thugs. And the wizard who really did it summons a demon that trashes his apartment and nearly kills him. Harry is under extreme pressure from Murphy for some results and even more dire pressure from the White Council, who think he's responsible for the murders. Harry's one lead gets killed by the same sorcery, and the pressure just goes up. Harry figures out that the mysterious client from the beginning of the book is actually the terrified wife of the killer, and manages (barely) to win first the small fight, against one of the villain's giant scorpions, saving Murphy's life, and the big fight, making his saving throw against the Dark Side of