Harry Dresden knows that being the only one working in your field can be tough. For example, being a wizard who works as a private detective in Chicago. Things start getting especially complicated when Harry discovers that someone is using black magic to kill people... and he's the only suspect.What looked like it was going to be a simple murder case turns into a race against time as Harry tries to prove his innocence before the White Council pronounces judgment against him... or he becomes the next target.Storm Front is the first book in The Dresden Files, written by Jim Butcher. Now has its own Shout Out page.
Storm Front provides examples of the following tropes:
Big Creepy-Crawlies: Scorpions the size of cats. And then rottweilers. And then bears. And then...
Big Entrance: When Harry confronts Gentleman Johnny Marcone, he does so by blowing off the doors of his gentleman's club in a burst of magic (towards himself, protecting himself with a shield, so as to keep bystanders from getting hurt), then fireballing the jukebox into slag, and popping every lightbulb in the joint to make an impression. In a later story, Marcone has remembered this, and has the dramatic entry points of his establishments furnished with flimsy doors, so that when similar things happen, the shrapnel won't do any damage. The strategic entry points, on the other hand, are equipped with reinforced steel.
Burn the Witch!: Addressed. In his first case of the series, Harry is explaining the basics of magic to his client and tells her that the Old Testament's "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" law does not make a wizard's life very easy.
Early in the book, Harry mixes an "escape" potion, for emergencies. Bob, whose help he needs to do so, insists that he also mix a love potion (because Bob is a Lovable Sex Maniac). Later, a demon attacks while Susan Rodriguez is visiting and Harry's in the shower. He sends Susan to drink the escape potion while he fights it off, but she drinks the love potion by accident. When Harry retreats to the room the potions were in, he manages to get her to drink some escape potion and he drinks the rest of it, allowing them to escape.
Thunder storms were mentioned in passing several times before Harry realizes they are being used to power the curse.
Harry, while investigating, finds a small film canister. It turns out to be a powerful tool for Harry to stop the ritual Shadowman will use to kill him as he breaks the magic circle with it.
The thunderstorm-powered curses could also count as one for eleven books later.
Chekhov's Gunman: When talking with Toot-toot, Harry mentioned Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness. Starting in the fourth book Summer Knight and on, Mab would prove to be a powerful and influential figure not just in the background, but in Harry's personal story as well.
Clear My Name: Numerous people accuse Harry of carrying out the heart-exploding spell, on account of him being the only known practitioner in the area who would have the power and know-how to do it, so part of the plot is Harry having to prove to the overzealous Morgan that he didn't do it.
Cool Sword: Like all Wardens, Morgan has a magic-cutting sword. The burning desire to swing it through Harry's neck, though, is all Morgan.
Crime of Self-Defense: Used against Harry by the White Council when he was sixteen, since the battle resulted in Justin's death, Harry has no witnesses, and the Council would just as soon be rid of a warlock's former apprentice
Crying Wolf: Because of Harry's previous lies to Murphy, she didn't believe him when he warned her not to open his desk drawer.
Domestic Abuse: After soulgazing his client, Harry learns she's a victim of this.
Double Meaning Title: Storm Front holds a double meaning. First, storms are how a weak Warlock like Victor Sells is able to kill people from a long distance away and in such graphic ways. Second, a storm front is that which precedes a storm and after this book Harry, in no particular order, faces against werewolves, Fae Queens, vampires, ghosts, Fallen Angels, dirty cops, a war he started, and a whole other slew of issues with little end in sight. And through each ordeal he weathers though it.
Possibly a triple meaning, if you consider that Harry himself is like an oncoming storm to his future adversaries, and his development into a mega-badass kicks off here.
Elevator Action Sequence: Harry and an unconscious Murphy are trapped in an elevator with a monster scorpion from hell ripping its way through the roof. Harry slams the car against the top of the shaft with a wind spell, squishing the scorpion against the ceiling, then catches them with a shield at the bottom.
Fantastic Drug: ThreeEye is one such drug as it forces a person to open their Sight, making them see the world as it Truly is and what people are like on the inside. It is also highly addictive.
Fan Disservice: Victor Sell's first victims were caught by his spell in the middle of sex. When Harry looks at the murder scene later, he notes that the image could have been "a striking erotic tableau", if it wasn't for the fact that they both have had their hearts explode from their chests. Harry notes that it really takes down the Fanservice potential.
The photographer Harry speaks to has a similar opinion on the orgy he witnessed at Victor Sells' beach house. From hints he drops, one would have to be very kinky to be aroused by what he saw.
Full-Frontal Assault: A very nasty demon shows up while Harry is in the shower and Susan is in his living room.
Geometric Magic: Circles used in magical rituals are seen used by both Harry and his enemies in the book. To make them work, all one needs is the shape and to infuse it with one's will and power. There is also a crucial weakness cited for them. If the circle's line is broken by a physical object, it destroys the circle and ends whatever was being done inside of the circle.
Godzilla Threshold: A minor one. Confronted with a toad demon in a heavy rain that prevents him from making use of his old standby fire, he is forced to try for a lightning spell despite the dangers. Fortunately, it works.
Groin Attack: Harry claims his knee was aiming for the Shadowman's gut, and missed.
Heart in the Wrong Place: The victims slain by the exploding-heart curse are described as having holes on the upper left side of their chests.
Harry himself apparently believes this trope, as he refers to his barbarian PC's attack as a "perfect heart strike" — two inches under a Mook's left nipple — while role-playing in the short story "Day Off".
Hidden Villain: We never meet the people who opened Victor to his magic and turned him into a Warlock.
Morgan knows how Harry says his own name, or at least most of it, giving him an edge over Harry.
The Shadowman holds his control over the toad-demon Kalshazzak.
Because Shadowman was foolish enough to say it within hearing range of Harry, Harry knew it too and knew how to free the demon of Shadowman's bind.
The Lost Lenore: The Beckitts lost their only daughter because of mob violence involving Marcone and seek revenge for their loss.
Magic A Is Magic A: As expected for the first book in a series, a lot of Harry's exposition is devoted to laying out how magic works, and several of these mechanics (e.g. magic circles, running water) are vividly demonstrated in the course of the story.
Mundane Solution: Harry is faced mere feet from Victor Sells, who is about to cast the curse on Harry. Harry lacks the magical power to block it outright. So, he pulls out the film canister and tosses it across Sells' magic circle, breaking it and stopping the curse.
Apparently Harry went through a lot to get Toot-toot's true name.
And then there's Harry's past experiences with making potions. He had trouble with a diet potion, an anti-gravity potionnote "We fixed the floor! It was no big deal!", and once mixed up a hair tonic potion with an invisibility potionnote He was trying to grow a decent beard.
Pragmatic Villainy: "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone is this hands down. He won't threaten needlessly. If he can just buy off a person, he will do it. If someone cannot be bought, he will consider killing them in an efficient and non-tortuous means. He runs the streets with this mindset and ensures people follow his way.
Right after Harry kills the scorpion with the elevator, when he steps outside and discovers that it has just started to rain. (The Big Bad is using thunderstorms to power his death spells, and Harry is next on the roster.)
Our Vampires Are Different: Harry meets his first vampire, Bianca of the Red Court (though it's not until Grave Peril that the courts are delineated). These are flabby bat-like creatures wearing human-looking flesh masks.
Save the Villain: Morgan holds this on some level as he does feel Harry is a bad guy for his past crimes, but because he was innocent this time, he was obligated to save him.
She Knows Too Much: Shadowman plans on killing Susan Rodriguez because she was present when his demon attacked Harry and her.
Squishy Wizard: Harry mentions this is a shortcoming of certain wizards who rely too much on magic to fight with become one of these. He guesses correctly Shadowman Victor Sells thinks him to be one. Victor is sadly mistaken when Harry gets physical with him.
Thirteen Is Unlucky: Mc Anally's bar invokes this with its thirteen carved columns in an asymmetrical pattern, thirteen tables scattered around, and thirteen ceiling fans in various locations. The randomness and number act as a magical break wall to the emotionally-induced magical outputs by patrons. The lights and fans rarely stop working.
The Shadowman holds this at the end when he calls out his demon-slave's name out loud when he summons it, giving Harry both the thing's Name and how it is pronounced, allowing him to use the Name to free the demon from Shadowman's control.
In the climax the Beckitts don't know firing a gun in a room filled with magic could have caused the whole gun to blow up.
What You Are in the Dark: Morgan the Warden faces this when Harry has fought against the evil Warlock, freed his control over the toad demon without binding it to himself, and even tried to save the Warlock. Morgan in his few scenes has shown with great examples he hates Harry and would love to kill him and could let him die in the fire. But he cannot bring himself to let Harry die because in this moment he was innocent of the crimes and will even testify to this to the White Council.