Well now, I very nearly didn't read this. After the first two or three chapters I started to pick holes in it all and wasn't really 'into' it very much and thought I should maybe quit while I was ahead.... Laziness was the decider in the end and I stuck with it because it was either that or traipse downstairs to get a replacement from the bookshelf....
Anyway, it got a bit better after those first few chapters. Or at least I think it got better, I'm not altogether sure if it did actually. Maybe it was just more of the same and I got used to the style. That's the thing with this book, I'm not sure what to make of it or what to think.
Harry Dresden is a wizard. But a crappy one. Or is he? I don't think he's meant to seem crappy but that's how he comes across to me.
He's got a gumshoe/Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade thing going on but he's also got wizardy powers and you'd think that would be a huge advantage to him, but no, he doesn't know what he's doing half the time or even HOW to do it (and if sometimes he does know - he's too scared to do it).
If you took out the wizard stuff then this is just a detective story. Without magic he's just Columbo (minus the razor sharp mind). He even has a ratty duster coat that he eats, rests and plays in.
It's a book about a down on his luck Private Eye who is useless with women (although women seem to go for him, for some reason) and he's got special paranormal powers. That's it in a nutshell really.
So, why then do I like it? I have no clue. I honestly don't know - I just do. I wouldn't recommend it to others, I won't stay up 3 nights running to devour the rest in the series and I don't even particularly like Harry Dresden as a character. Doesn't make any sense but it is what it is.
I want to read the next few, and I will, but I'm not desperate for them. And if he would just stop defining women by how much make up they wear and what they wear, he and I will get along a lot better in later books.