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Getting out of work, having that fresh, cool air hit my face, there’s nothing better. Tonight, the ground is wet. I missed a thunderstorm. Lights were flickering, the cat still hiding under the couch; I didn’t even know. Sometimes, you miss things working.

I was wearing my hearing protection and working near heavy machinery. There’s no windows, so time flows differently in a factory. A good book can make time flow differently, too, and this week, my suggested read is Storm Front, by Jim Butcher.

There’s always a storm brewing in Harry Dresden’s life. Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a wizard. He’s the only openly operating, practicing, professional wizard in the country. You can find him in the yellow pages under “Wizards”

HARRY DRESDEN--WIZARD

Lost Items Found, Paranormal Investigation

Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.

No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties,

or Other Entertainment.

Harry does some work consulting for the Special Investigations of the Chicago police department. It seems that vampire attacks, troll maraudings, and fairy abductions are dubbed unusual, but someone still has to look into it.

When Lieutenant Murphy brings Harry in to consult on a grisly double murder, he suspects black magic. It would take a powerful black mage to rip human hearts out from a distance. A wizard more powerful than any Harrry has met. A wizard more powerful than himself. This could be an interesting case. Magic, it can get a guy killed. 

This is the first book in the series and the first published book by Jim Butcher. It’s well-plotted and an excellent read. I had been meaning to read this series for a long time. Life keeps me busy and I didn’t get to it until I had more time.

During the first months of the pandemic, when I was younger and still full of hope, I stayed home when I could. No movies, no visiting friends, I read more than ever, and I started reading the Harry Dresden series. 

I seldom read more than one book by an author back to back. I like to mix-up my reading styles, but one book led to another and I finished every book, all fifteen. This series saved my sanity, I think. There are now seventeen books, and the series isn’t over. More Harry is yet to come.

I enjoyed reading Harry’s growth as a character and a wizard. There are interesting and quirky characters that are added along the journey, and each book builds the series. I do suggest reading the series in order.

Jim Butcher started this series over 20 years ago. Back when the term “urban fantasy” wasn’t thrown around so much, if at all. Maybe that’s why I waited so long. I’m a denzien of rural America. When is my demographic going to be represented*?

Well, the term “urban fantasy” just means using supernatural elements in a narrative set in the 19th-centurty to 21st century. The sub-genre has been around for some time, since the start of the Industrial Revolution. I guess you can say factory life gave birth to urban fantasy...

*If the book you want to read isn’t out there, then create it. I did. Operation Ragnarok is rural fantasy. It’s quick, fun, and geeky, but if it were a movie, it’d be PG-13. So, please be over thirteen if you read it.

Back to work tip: Protect your hearing. If your occupation recommends hearing protection, I encourage you to use it. Some places are lax about enforcing it, and some places will write you up. Regardless, it’s for your protection. You will miss that hearing when it’s gone. So put a plug in it.

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Kevin Coolidge is currently a full-time factory worker, and a part-time bookseller at From My Shelf Books & Gifts in Wellsboro, Pa. When he's not working, he's writing. He's also a children's author and the creator of The Totally Ninja Raccoons, a children's series for reluctant readers. Visit his author website at kevincoolidge.org


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