Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mystery #5

Here you have it, folks! Mystery number five. Storm Front by Jim Butcher, Book One in the Dresden Files series. I want credit for delivering on my challenge six weeks early! This summer is some kind of record for number of books read!

Some of you are thinking that this is not a mystery. It's shelved in my library under science fiction. It even says on the cover "As seen on sci-fi." You'd be partially right. It is science fiction (or, rather, fantasy, since it's got a lot of magic and monsters.) However, it most definitely has a huge mystery component. The whole book is based around "who done it." The main character just uses his powers as a wizard to find out.

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a wizard. People hire him as a sort of private eye to use magic to help them out. He works as a consultant to the Chicago Police Department. A meek, scared woman comes to him for help finding her husband, just moments before the police department needs his help figuring out how a couple was killed during sex. That's right, a prostitute and a man with mafia ties are found in an "indiscreet" situation with their hearts literally pulled from their chests. Gross! What kind of dark magic could pull off such a thing? Harry finds a connection between the woman's lost husband and these brutal murders. He also realizes that he's next on the list. Can he find the murderer before his heart explodes? Will the White Council find him guilty of breaking the laws of magic? Will he find the woman's missing husband? Lots of creepy - and yet somehow exhilarating - things happen in this book! Loved it!

I'm calling it a mystery, and I'm also calling this mystery challenge complete. What I've learned is that labeling books is a two-sided thing. It helps people find what they know they like. Sci-fi fans can go straight to sci-fi. Romance fans can go straight to romance. However, these labels also psychologically separate people from books that they might love because they don't think they like sci-fi or romance, for example. Six weeks ago I said I don't typically read mysteries. Well, I don't typically read fantasy either, but my favorite book of the whole challenge combines those two genres. Yesterday I picked up a book called "Blind Submission" by Debra Ginsberg that looks good. It's cataloged as fiction, but I've never had a clear line in my professional head about what makes something mystery vs. a fiction thriller. Whatever. It looks good and that's all I need!

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