Title: The Gunderson Case Files: Volume One

Publisher: Knotted Road Press

Author: Blaze Ward

Pages: 172pp

Price: $13.99 / $4.99

Eugene Gunderson has been many things in his life. Police officer. Soldier. Cook. Wanderer. And now private investigator. He has also seen many things in his life, giving him a higher tolerance for the weird, the odd, and the terrifying. And so he finds himself working the weird, odd, and terrifying cases in 1954 Los Angeles. Whether it’s delivering divorce papers while a kaiju stomps through the city, following strange men with ray guns, or investigating a murder aboard an alien spacecraft, Gunderson is your man. And, if he really likes you, you can even call him Gigi ….

I came across The Gunderson Case Files when a friend shared his To Read pile on FaceBook. Quite a few of them looked interesting, so I downloaded some samples. I enjoyed the first dozen pages of The Gunderson Case Files so much that I immediately purchased the whole book.

So much fun! Imagine a world where all of our fantastical pop culture ideas about the 1950s are real: gigantic radioactive monsters, aliens, vampires and werewolves, femme fatales and superheroes, and creatures of myth and legend. And then there’s Gunderson: a big guy with big fists and a quick mind. An ordinary guy with no strange abilities; just a love of puzzles and a serious stubborn streak. Plus, he’s really good at keeping secrets. Pay his fee and whatever truth he uncovers over the course of his investigation — aliens secretly observing earth, ancient Goddesses in hiding from magical hunters — will remain with him.

This first volume contains six stories. Seven are listed in the table of contents, but “Justice” can actually be found in the anthology, Crime and …. (I will now be adding that to my own To Read pile.) And I hope that Ward will put together a second volume sooner rather than later. I also hope that at least a few of those stories follow up on characters introduced in the first collection. Miss Lynx is awesome, and deserves her own series; or at least cameos in Gunderson’s stories. The deeply mysterious Madame al-Taghat would make a excellent occult detective, particularly given her ambiguous ethical code and ruthless nature.

The Gunderson Case Files is an absorbing, fast, fun read. Highly recommended to fans of The Arcane Casebook series by Dan Willis, the Keeley and Associates series by Layla Lawlor, and the Sonoma Witches series by Gretchen Galway.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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