Fiction Fest: Sneak peek at Phyllis Gunderson’s ‘The Mounds Anomaly’

Mounds Anomaly 2x3Utah-based author Phyllis Gunderson’s latest book, “The Mounds Anomaly,” will be in bookstores on June 11 and is available on, and

The book offers fact-based fiction with controversial ideas tucked into an adventure. When the heroine, Matt Howard, finds a gold coin engraved with a cryptic symbol, her life unravels. She should have put the coin in a shoebox under her bed, but Matt can’t leave it alone. The symbol guides her to the Michigan Mounds, which lead to a Smithsonian cover-up. With her teaching job in jeopardy and her ten-year-old adopted daughter in tow, Matt finds herself on a hazardous hunt to uncover forbidden history.


When Matt finds a cuneiform symbol engraved on a gold coin, her colleague, Wayne, brands it a fake from one of the greatest hoaxes in American history.  Determined to find the truth, Matt interviews the Michigan State archaeologist who is preparing a display of the fraudulent artifacts for a museum.  Matt decides to confront Wayne with the new information.

Gleefully, I marched to his office and knocked.


“Hi, Wayne.” I spoke nicely because I’d planned ahead.

“Oh, it’s you,” he said curtly and continued to examine a coin in its plastic sleeve.

“I’ve done a little sleuthing and thought you’d like to know how many Michigan Mound artifacts were officially referenced.”  He put his coin down and looked at me expectantly. I almost crowed in triumph. “In the neighborhood of ten thousand, which seems a lot for a couple of men to manufacture.”

“And where did you get this information?” He was too calm.

“I talked to the Michigan State Archaeologist, Dr. Barlett. He estimated that number.”

“And did Dr. Barlett tell you about the pictures engraved on the majority of the artifacts he had?” Wayne was self-assured and arrogant. This was not going as I had anticipated.

“Just that the inscriptions were hieroglyphs, cuneiform, Greek, a little Phoenician—“

“Nothing about the pictures?”

“I didn’t ask.  I assume the pictures are typical: snakes, birds, animals, human forms.” I shrugged.

“Oh.” He checked the opposite side of his sheathed coin.

“Okay,” I finally said. “Are you going to tell me?”

“Tell you what?”

I really didn’t like this person. “The reason the pictures are significant.”

“Because,” Wayne said, without looking up, “the pictures include scenes from Bible stories.”