My favorite mystery books are The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. No, these are hardly straight mystery! These are urban fantasy books in which the main character, Harry Dresden, solves a magical case in each book. They are action-packed adventures that keep me riveted from start to stop. There's even a nice sense of humor in the first-person viewpoint which keeps things light and fun, even during the darkest of hours.
Like many similar series, this is best read in order, but I sometimes tell people to start with book three. The first two books are more stand-alone, few long-term plot points begin there (and the ones that do are easy to figure out from context), and, well, the author's writing style just improves the further you get into this series. It's kind of like this: If you think the first book is just okay, keep going! Fans of the series disagree as to the exact moment of turnaround from okay to WOW, but most would put it somewhere between 3 and 5. Meanwhile, book 3 sets up a conflict that isn't fully resolved until... 10, 11, 12? Okay, I'm losing track.
Oh lord, you just said! How many books am I going to have to read? Normally, I'm right there with you. Seriously. Some series just plain need to end while they're still good. I chose four books for Cassie Scot because I didn't want to overstay her welcome in reader's minds (but I did need a few books to complete her character arc). I've given up on series when they just kept going and going and going and nothing has even changed.
But, and this is how Butcher does it with The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden is not a stagnant character. Each book builds and grows. Harry's powers grow. And more importantly, there are personal costs for every decision he makes. As long as Jim Butcher continues doing that, I'll take thirty of these! (I've seen him in person. When asked how many books he's going to write, he jokes that it depends upon whether his kids go to grad school.)
I can't recommend this series enough to fantasy fans. This is CSI meets a grown-up Harry Potter. This is a marriage of mystery and magic that is not to be missed!
Secrets and Lies
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Number of pages: 274
Word Count: 85k
Cover Artist: Ural Akyutz
Cassie Scot, still stinging from her parents' betrayal, wants out of the magical world. But it isn't letting her go. Her family is falling apart and despite everything, it looks like she may be the only one who can save them.
To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two teenagers missing from a summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness. Book 2 in the Cassie Scot series.
About the Author:
Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.
At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.
In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.
Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.
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