This is a collection of five novellas/short stories of detectives in various genres. Some of them have no speculative fiction elements. However, since one of the stories has a dragon detective, I’ve adding this to my Once Upon a Time reads. I’ve read two of the stories before.

”Blind” is set in Seavy Village, Oregon and it’s told in a first person POV. Scott didn’t have the happiest of childhoods and he thinks that his brother is wasting his life by living in the small town tied down to his wife and three daughters. Scott moved away as soon as he could and became a millionaire working for Microsoft. But when his brother dies in strange circumstances, Scott returns to the village to find out what has happened. He has to confront his brother’s family and a mystery from his past.

In ”Discovery” Pita Cardenas is a lawyer in a small town and because she’s desperate for work, she takes on a case against the rich and powerful, which means this time a railway company. She has to become a detective in addition to a lawyer in order to win the case.

”Stomping Mad” is set in Los Angeles during a movie SF convention, Jurassic Parkathon. The main character is called Sam Spade of science fiction because he has successfully helped out the police a few times. He is part of the convention’s staff and clearly an SF fan. When something goes wrong, the con’s staff turn to him.

The main character in ”Dragon Slayer” is a dragon. Humans have been killing more and more dragons in the recent years and the dragons have become worried about it. The main character has gone to see all of victims and so when another dragon is found dead, he is consulted even though he is young and insignificant.

The last one is ”Retrieval Artist”, the short story which inspired Rusch to write a whole series in that world. In this story, we meet Miles Flint, a former police officer who is now a Retrieval Artist. In this world humans and aliens are trying to live side by side peacefully but in order to do that, the humans have to follow alien laws which don’t always make sense to humans. A Retrieval Artist hides humans who have broken alien laws. Flint gives his clients new identities but he also charges exorbitant rates and have to know that he’s doing the right thing. That’s not easy.

Rusch is one of my favorite authors so it’s no surprise that I liked all of the stories. The last two were my favorites, though. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like the dragon society and I’d like to see more of it. I love the Retrieval Artist series and this story is a good introduction to it.