Harry Dresden is a private detective, a *special* private detective... he happens to be the only wizard PI in Chicago. Mainly he covers his own cases, although business is poor, but he also helps Chicago P.D. out with cases that are unexplained or that clearly concern magic.
A woman comes to see Harry and asks her to help find her husband. It seems he's been dabbling in magic and has gone off somewhere: the woman is concerned he may have injured himself. Then Harry gets a call from Murphy, at the police department, to attend a crime scene. When he arrives at the hotel room he finds a man and woman in bed... dead and having clearly been attacked by something magical. The carnage is appalling.
The White Council, a sort of ruling body of wizards, is also after Harry, thinking he might be behind the murders. Morgan, another wizard, has been watching him for years hoping he might slip up and reveal his true personna. The fact that Harry is actually one of the good guys having not quite sunk in. Suddenly, Harry's life is not quiet any more. It's much busier and downright dangerous than he would actually like it to be. So dangerous in fact that Harry is certain his death will be the inevitable result of his own investigations.
I can well understand why this series is so popular. It's rather a nice mix of crime and magic and for me that's always a winner. Harry as a character is all kinds of shades of grey. A wizard and a good guy but also very human with foibles and full of uncertainties. His life is complicated and not many people are willing to give him a break. I got rather annoyed on his behalf about that, I must admit. People who should have trusted him didn't, although I suppose if they had given him the benefit of the doubt there wouldn't have been any story so...
A good start to a 'new to me' series. The plot fair galloped along, pacey and exciting, the narrative reminding me of 1930s style crime yarns with the downtrodden PI being manipulated by person or persons unknown - nothing being quite what it seems. I certainly plan to continue with the series but will get them from the library in future as there are rather a lot and I can't justify buying a stack of books I probably won't reread, much as I suspect I'm going to enjoy them.