Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
Chicago's wizard detective and protector, Harry Dresden, returns in his 11th occult mystery actioner. Harry, a reluctant Warden of the White Council (magic's ruling body) finds fellow Warden and personal nemesis Donald Morgan, bloodied and near death on his doorstep. A senior member of the council has been assassinated and Morgan was found with a knife, blood still dripping, over the body, but with no recollection on how he got there. Escaping capture, Morgan turns to Harry, noted for his sleuthing skills as well as his wizardry, for help. There's never been any love lost between the two, but Harry is confident from his many run ins with Morgan that he would never betray the council. Harry agrees, but failure will mean his own death as an accomplice as well as Morgan's.
And so the chase is on.
From vampire sex clubs through the streets of Chicago, from the darkly enchanted lands of the NeverNever to the halls of the White Council itself Harry pursues the truth, seeking to unmask the traitor and clear Morgan's name. Of foes and menaces there are many. An almost supremely powerful Native American spirit demon, a renegade vampiress of the White Court family of vampires, a renegade conjurer and his fellow Wardens, on the hunt for the wanted Morgan. But through the years Harry has formed a small army of allies that aid him in his almost hopeless quest to bring a renegade master wizard to justice. Friends live, friends die, and new allies are had, and in the end politics overshadows the truth, if not justice. And when the case is wrapped there are more questions than answers and the clouds of conspiracy begin to gather for the next installment.
Jim Butcher has proven a master of urban fantasy and the Dresden novels, unlike all the cheap occult erotica floating around, have a nice bite to them. Harry is a hero with foibles and flaws, but pursues his goals with a single minded determination. He's just too stubborn to die or fail and his dry commentary on wizardry and the occult life lighten the edge in tough spots. Butcher has created a large supporting cast through the years and weaves them deftly in and out of the story. This, like others in the series, may be read as a stand alone, though a single taste will undoubtedly leave the fantasy fan seeking out Harry's early adventure. And if you're new to urban fantasy this book will make an excellent appetizer.