Authors A to Z: Butcher

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Jim Butcher

 Jim was born October 26, 1971. He is best known for his contemporary fantasy book series The Dresden Files. He is also the author of the Codex Alera series, and the Cinder Spires series. Butcher was born in Independence, Missouri. He is the youngest of three children, having two older sisters. He still lives in Independence, and has one son.

While he was sick with strep throat as a child, Butcher’s sisters introduced him to The Lord of the Rings and The Han Solo Adventures novels to pass the time, thus beginning his fascination with fantasy and science fiction.  As a teenager, he completed his first novel and set out to become a writer. After many unsuccessful attempts to enter the traditional fantasy genre (he cites J. R. R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and C. S. Lewis, among others, as major influences), he wrote the first book in The Dresden Files—about a professional wizard, named Harry Dresden, in modern-day Chicago—as an exercise for a writing course in 1996 at the age of 25. For two years, Butcher floated his manuscript among various publishers before hitting the convention circuit to make contacts in the industry. After meeting Butcher in person, Ricia Mainhardt, the agent who discovered Laurell K. Hamilton, agreed to represent him, which kick-started his writing career.

Genre:Adult books for young adults; Fantasy mysteries; Hardboiled fiction; Urban fantasy
Character:Flawed; Large cast of characters; Quirky; Snarky
Tone:Strong sense of place

The first volume in the Dresden Files is Storm Front

storm front

We meet Harry in the midst of a bit of a dry spell, with his rent overdue and no cases on the horizon. He’s also in a bit of trouble. The White Council, the organization that governs wizards, has a close eye on Harry because he killed his teacher. The First Law of Magic prohibits wizards from using magic to kill. Normally breaking the law carries a death sentence, but Harry did so in self defense and so is under the Doom of Damocles, a kind of probation.

The case starts, as these things often do, with a woman. Or rather two. Butcher’s gift for layering plots gives us the traditional damsel in distress—Monica Sells who wants Harry to find her husband—as well as a job for the police department and specifically Karrin Murphy, the head of the Special Investigations department of the Chicago PD, the cops who deal with things that go bump in the night. Harry’s relationship with Murphy is somewhat prickly, but respectful.

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I chose Mr. Butcher to represent the letter B because I am currently reading the Dresden files and enjoying them immensely. If you are a fan of Urban Fantasy, Jim is a must for your reading list. As always a big thank you to Novelist and goodreads, these sites make my job easier and make finding my next book fun and easy.goodreadslogoNOVELISTLg