Lists

7 of Urban Fantasy’s Great Occult Detectives

 

When your spouse goes missing or business partner turns up dead, you call a private eye, but when you’ve got zombies at the door, or a demon on your trail, you’ve better call an occult detective. Here are seven great consulting wizards, half-elf investigators, and demon-blooded detectives from the worlds of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

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Harper Blaine
Series: Greywalker
Book One: Greywalker
by Kat Richardson

Seattle PI Harper Blaine survived a near-death experience and gained the ability to pass through the Grey: a shadowy world between not only the living and dead, but also the magical and mundane. This isn’t exactly a gift: Blaine didn’t choose to be plunged into this world, and she isn’t always welcome there.

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Anita Blake
Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter
Book One: Guilty Pleasures
by Laurell K. Hamilton

Regional Preternatural Investigation Taskforce investigator Anita Blake has a knack for necromancy. Being able to speak with the dead would be a talent most real-world detectives would kill for. While Blake indeed finds it useful, things can get complicated when you’re working in a world where the dead doesn’t always stay dead. Vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beings stalk Blake’s world. Fortunately, she’s more than capable of dealing with the bad guys. She’s an expert shot, trained martial artist, and perhaps more importantly, has collected a wide range of supernatural abilities beyond her own necromantic arts.

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October Daye
Series: October Daye
Book One: Rosemary and Rue
by Seanan McGuire

October “Toby” Daye is of mixed fae and human ancestry — a changeling. She tried to escape it for most of her life, but one day her past came calling. Now she’s an agent of faerie, willingly or not. McGuire describes this series as one in which the faerie realm and humanity has always existed side by side, but we humans got all the details wrong. Daye, hopelessly caught between these two realms, will always struggle to maintain some kind of balance.

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Carlos Delacruz
Series: Bone Street Rumba
Book One: Half-Resurrection Blues
by Daniel José Older

Carlos Delacruz was resurrected from the dead — kind of. It didn’t take all the way, and now he’s half-dead and half-alive. This makes him extremely useful to the Council of the Dead, the ruling party of the afterlife. Unfortunately, what the council wants isn’t always what Carlos — or the living — wants, and that’s where the trouble begins.

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Harry Dresden
Series: The Dresden Files
Book One: Storm Front
by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden is a consulting private detective and wizard based in Chicago. He’s thoroughly schooled in the mystical arts, but isn’t afraid to rely on more conventional methods of defense when required. Don’t be surprised if he’s got a shotgun alongside his magical staff — and you should assume both are ready for action. Combat magic is kind of a specialty, actually.

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Peter Grant
Series: Rivers of London
Book One: Midnight Riot
by Ben Aaronovitch

Metropolitan Police Officer Peter Grant wants to be a homicide investigator, but the supernatural world has other plans. Following an encounter with a ghost, Grant is assigned to a special unit investigating paranormal threats to the kingdom. When your beat includes gods and spirits, a nightstick and whistle just won’t do. Grant’s going to have to learn magic.

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John Taylor
Series: Nightside 
Book One: Something from the Nightside
by Simon R. Green

Investigator John Taylor was raised in the Nightside: a supernatural sanctuary beyond the forces of Heaven and Hell. The bad side of the Nightside, actually. As a child of the ancient spirit known as Lilith, Taylor has a very unique ability: He can find lost things. That’s not as trivial as it sounds, though, and John has some very powerful enemies. If you’ve come to a point where you need John’s help, then things have become dire, indeed.