A friend just loaned me Storm Front by Jim Butcher. It's book one of the Dresden Files series, and I liked it.
It's a tale of a wizard detective-for-hire in Chicago. His business isn't doing very well, but he does occasionally get work helping out the Chicago Police Department, as when they find two people with their hearts exploded out of their chests mid-coitus. When things of an obviously magical nature are involved, he is their go-to man, as he's the only wizard listed in the Yellow Pages.
The supernatural aspects of the book-- vampires, faeries, the methods of magic-use-- don't seem to be incredibly innovative. Rather, Butcher sticks mostly to the classics, drawing from established mythology and lore, Paganism, voodoo, and the like. He hints at things that have happened to the main character, Henry Dresden, in the past, and at an organization in the magical world that I look forward to learning more about.
Some aspects of the writing do seem a tad overdone, like Dresden's hard-boiled, sarcastic inner monologue and his contact in the Chicago PD's tough-woman-in-a-man's-world demeanor, but I believe it is Butcher's first novel, so much can be forgiven. Besides, I don't think it detracted from the overall quality of the book to any significant degree.
Also, on Dresden's staff on the cover of the book, it looks like there is some backwards katakana (one of the phonetic alphabets of Japanese) spelling out matorikkusu. Matrix? My tricks? Just some random symbols chosen for the aesthetics of the thing? Not sure.
I look forward to reading about more of Dresden's undoubtedly shenanigan-filled cases.
Four out of five magic wands!