NoveList Recommendations Part 2: Mystery Fiction with a Fantasy Twist

Published Monday, July 15, 2019

Haven’t we all been disappointed when a book we choose to read doesn’t meet the expectations of an awesome, back-cover blurb? Novelist Plus can help! Novelist can assist you with a search to find the next great series, or by recommending a “read-alike” title that's thematically similar to your favorite books. So, before you lug home a big stack of “maybes,” or fill up the memory on your device with “please be my next favorites,” we suggest spending a minute or two on Novelist to better the odds that you will enjoy what you choose.

You can find Novelist Plus on the “Resources” tab on the library’s website at Also, Novelist provides recommendations below your search results through our online catalog. When you find a title you are interested in, just scroll down and you’ll see more title and author suggestions. Please ask library staff if you’d like any more tips for using Novelist. We’re happy to assist you.

Storm Front
by Jim Butcher

For my Novelist search I decided to find read-alikes for Storm Front by Jim Butcher. This series follows Harry Dresden, a Chicago-based private investigator who also happens to be the only person listed under "Wizards" in the phone book. A frequent consultant for the police on paranormal crimes, Harry is called in to investigate when two mutilated corpses are discovered in a hotel room. Someone is using magic to commit murder -- and it's up to Harry to find the killer.

The crime/mystery genre is one I’ve always struggled to get into, mostly because my usual draw is to science fiction or fantasy. However, I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, which is truly the best of both worlds! Fans of the TV series Supernatural and Sherlock Holmes (starring Benedict Cumberbatch) will enjoy this read as it almost combines those two worlds together in a fun, unique way.

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Near Enemy
by Adam Sternbergh

Novelist Says: Though Near Enemy is cyberpunk science fiction and Storm Front is urban fantasy fiction, both compelling books incorporate elements of hardboiled detective novels in gritty urban settings. These may interest mystery fans who don't mind reading across genres.

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by Seth Patrick

Novelist Says: While Reviver lacks the magical fantasy elements found in Storm Front, it is another fast-paced, action-packed, and genre-bending novel that combines chilling supernatural terrors with an intricate and hard-boiled mystery plot.

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Dead Witch Walking
by Kim Harrison

Novelist Says: The protagonist in each novel helps solve crime and also happens to have magical powers. Their rebellious personalities often get them into trouble and keep them under the scrutiny of the authorities, even as they help put bad guys away.

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The Republic of Thieves
by Scott Lynch

Novelist Says: Both novels focus on the adventures and misadventures of a lone, cowboy-like protagonist in a magic-filled universe. Combining mystery and fantasy, these action-packed stories keep readers guessing and engaged.

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Hot Lead, Cold Iron
by Ari Marmell

Novelist Says: These richly detailed, fast-paced urban fantasies introduce hardboiled paranormal detectives -- Storm Front's present-day wise-cracking wizard and Hot Lead, Cold Iron's faerie PI in 1930s Chicago. Both share dark, high-stakes violence that contrasts with an irreverent sense of humor.

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Moon Over Soho
by Ben Aaronovitch

Novelist Says: These gritty and fast-paced urban fantasy novels deliver a view of the bizarre, and a strong sense of place -- London (Moon over Soho) and Chicago (Storm Front) -- through the eyes of wizards contending with dark magic and police bureaucracy.

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Broken Homes
by Ben Aaronovitch

Novelist Says: Wise-cracking wizard detectives solve paranormal crimes in these gritty urban fantasy novels that blend dark humor and high-stakes supernatural violence. Storm Front is set in Chicago, with a mob subplot, while Broken Homes takes place in London.

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Box Office Poison
by Phillipa Bornikova

Novelist Says: Smart, irreverent protagonists enliven these fast-paced urban fantasy crime novels. The grittier Storm Front follows a hard-boiled wizard P.I., while the sassy, gutsy lawyer heroine in Box Office Poison ends up investigating Elven murders of humans in Hollywood.

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Angel's Ink
by Jocelynn Drake

Novelist Says: The good-guy goals of Drake's warlock/tattoo artist and Butcher's free-lance wizard/private detective spell trouble for corrupt magical authorities lurking on the fringe of their respective alt-urban realities. Supernatural power struggles keep these appealing, individualistic male protagonists on their toes.

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About the Author

Devin is the Adult Services Librarian and has been working at EPL since 2014. She loves traveling, her cat Pippin, and everything Tolkien.