Introducing Harry Dresden. (Comments about hindsight from the rest of the series at the end.)
But here we have Dresden, who advertises in the Yellow Pages under Wizards, and is really short on cash. He gets a call from a woman whose husband has gone missing, and then the police call him in a murder.
An obviously magical murder. While he has a doom hanging over his head, because he killed a man with magic -- prohibited -- and had no evidence except his own word that it was in self-defense, and the wizardly White Council let him live with the knowledge that one misstep and he's gone. And the warden Morgan is haning over him, eager for that misstep.
The story involves a drug that lets you see like a wizard, thunderstorms, a fairy who, it turns out, likes pizza better than bread and milk and honey, accusations from a police lieutenant, a toad demon, a reporter, and much more.
Reflections on what is to come:
[Spoiler (click to open)]And it's astounding, looking back. I think his money problems just faded. And he's going to acquire a much deep social network. Not to mention that both Murphy and Susan are quite sharply different from what they are going to develop into. Not to mention Toot-toot, who is pretty hostile. Though Bob is very recognizable, as is, of course, Mister (cats being like that).