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5 Books like The Dresden Files: Mystery and Magic Combine
Image source: Orbit Books

5 Books like The Dresden Files: Mystery and Magic Combine

Helen Maloney itcherWhether you love the ‘Dresden Files’ because of the down-on-his-luck Harry Dresden or the noir-style paranormal mystery, I have some fabulous books like the ‘Dresden Files’ for you to enjoy. In ‘The Devil You Know’, an exorcist finds a case unlike any other and ‘In the Good, the Bad and the Undead’, we follow a witch PI around. ~ Helen Maloney

One Cup of Magic

A man’s magic demonstrates what sort of person he is, what is held most deeply inside him.

Why is the ‘Dresden Files’ so good? Is it because Harry is relatable with all his flaws and foibles? Or because we admire his resolve to do the right thing, despite these flaws and the danger he’s in? Do we enjoy his geekiness and awkwardness with women, as well as his ability to attract trouble and the bad timing it coincides with?

Or is it the writing style, with the dry humour, pulp-fiction-esque narrative, full of paranormal and crime elements?

Thankfully, I have found 3 very similar books to the ‘Dresden Files’ to thrill and entertain us.

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Books Similar to ‘The Dresden Files’…

‘The Devil You Know’ (Mike Carey, 2007)

Image Source: Amazon

Like Harry, Felix has fallen on tough times and is full of money worries. He also has a proverbial axe over his head, haunting his movements and weakening his resolve.

Felix finds himself returning to the world of exorcisms in order to pay the bills, taking on what appears to be run-of-the-mill case, though things are not quite so cut and dried as they first seemed and Felix may have taken on more than he can handle.

For me, our two heroes are nicely similar but different enough to make things interesting: they both have a dry sense of humour, grey areas and cynicism born from experience. I found Carey’s writing as intriguing as Butler’s – within a matter of pages, I was hooked and keen to learn more.

Similarity Match: 90%
Although the paranormal elements and worlds are realms apart, the stories are told in a similarly engaging and entertaining noir style.

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‘Already Dead’ (Charlie Huston, 2005)

Image Source: Goodreads

Huston effectively meets expectations as soon as you realise the Joe Pitt novels are noir: he and his world is brilliantly cynical, seedy and fatalistic. However, his fatalism is more pronounced than Harry’s thanks to his being a rogue vampire who balances on a tightrope between the powerful clans who rule Manhattan. 

As with Harry and Felix before him, Joe finds himself in deep waters as he hunts for the carrier of a dangerous flesh-eating bacteria (think zombies), tries to keep an eye out for a rich girl gone slumming, and pursues a Vampyre cult stealing his blood. 

Why I’d recommend this series: the way Huston has turned the Vampyre and zombie myths into something fun and new is remarkable. 

Similarity Match: 85%
The dry humour and bad luck factor are very similar but there’s something about Joe and the almost indifferent attitude to violence that’s remarkably compelling.

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‘The Good, the Bad and the Undead’ (Kim Harrison, 2005)

Gone is the geeky quirkiness of Harry; enter the sassy, tough-on-the-outside, vulnerable-on-the-inside Rachel. Both of them, unfortunately for them but not us, are PIs or bounty hunters who find themselves working on the most interesting cases. (Side note: the fish case at the start of this book is hilarious).

Although not technically noir, it has many of the same elements: Rachel is very cynical at times, especially regarding humans. Her work is full of secrets and danger, and she often finds herself in life or death situation. On the other hand, the humour is more obviously sarcastic and despite the violence, the style is generally more light-hearted.

Similarity Match: 80%
Harrison has enjoyed revamping many of the supernatural factions, like Butcher, but the relationships are more complex and complicated.

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If You Like ‘The Dresden Files’, You Will Like…

If you fancy yourself as something of a super-sleuth, then the following books are for you. ‘Monster Hunter International’ is exactly as it sounds while ‘First Grave on the Right’ blurs the line between heaven and hell.

‘Monster Hunter International’ (Larry Correia, 2009)

Image Source: PDF Download Online

Following the sudden and nearly fatal discovery that monsters do exist, Owen joins the training program for Monster Hunter International – a monster bounty hunter agency. It’s not the best time, however, as The Cursed One has risen and if MHI don’t manage to stop it, then the end of the world is nigh.

Owen also maintains our theme with his cynicism, perhaps because of his background as an illegal fighter. I really enjoyed how it reminded me of a video game – I can’t tell you which part specifically, but I really felt as though I was watching it on screen and right there during the action sequences.

This book follows the style of a modern paranormal or urban fantasy novel but one which still has a sardonic sense of humour, making it a fun and interesting read.

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‘First Grave on the Right’ (Darynda Jones, 2011)

Charley Davidson is a grim reaper. She can interact with the dead and she becomes a portal when they are ready to cross over. Being a grim reaper has caused no end of trouble in her life but she continues to use her gifts to help others. Her newest case: solving the mystery of Reyes Farrow – another supernatural being who knows who she is and who is the most beautiful man she has ever seen.

I love this series. I’ve just got to put that out there. I love Charley’s quirkiness, the random and interesting cases she finds herself involved with, and how each new novel gives us another piece of the puzzle.

Like Harry, Charley is a magnet for trouble and is geeky and eccentric, but the humour is sassy and sarcastic and she is somehow a true mix of realism, hop and obliviousness.

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Add a Bit of Spice

If you’d like something extra to read with that mix of magic and mystery, then you might want to check out these title as well:

  • ‘Burn for Me’ – Ilona Andrews
  • ‘Kate Daniels’ series – Ilona Andrews
  • ‘Blade Song’ – J.C. Daniels
  • ‘Alpha and Omega’ series – Patricia Briggs
  • ‘Spiders Bite’ – Jennifer Estep

And Two Parts Mystery

Whether the supernatural elements include magic, monsters or angels, there’s no doubting that all these fantastic novels include a great dose of mystery.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following our heroes and heroines as they unravel dangerous plots and hidden conspiracies or secrets. I know I did.

I’d love to hear your views on these books so please share them before.

Hi, I′m Helen, I teach English in the UK and am a book addict (I′m serious - if I go too long without reading I get withdrawal symptoms!). I also love music, films, crafting, corresponding and video games. It is impossible for me to sit still unless I′m eating, holding a book or making something.

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