The Ethan Banning Files are series of short stories starring Naomi Clark’s rough-around-the-edges P.I. These three stories are a great introduction to one of Clark’s most addictive characters- they’re like an Ethan Banning gateway drug. Once you get a glimpse of the train wreck that is his life, it’s hard to look away.
“Gone to the Dogs” is the most mundane of the three stories, in that nobody dies (or comes back from the dead). But it’s just as funny, and it gives a day-in-the-life view of Ethan’s world and a clear perspective on his priorities.
“Ungrateful Dead” is creepy, spooky, and hysterical. When Ethan’s friend Charlie, a morgue attendant, comes to him with a unique problem, he has to decide just how far he’s willing to go to keep himself in Chinese food and booze. This story is probably the best foreshadowing of Ethan’s later adventures in Afterlife and Demonized. It also showcases Clark’s powers of description and the deadpan narrative that makes this series so much fun to read.
In “Ice Ice Baby”, Clark tackles one of mystery’s oldest tropes when the P.I. stumbles on a dead girl in the bathroom of his favorite bar. By now I found it totally believable that Ethan would poke at the stab wound on a half-frozen corpse. Oh, Ethan.
I highly recommend these stories to any urban fantasy fans! Ethan is a really fun character, and Clark is one of the best writers in the genre today.
Title: “Gone to the Dogs”; “Ungrateful Dead”; “Ice Ice Baby”
Author: Naomi Clark
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication: Naomi Clark; 2011
Price: $0.99 each (Kindle)