Los Angeles, 1948. In my novella The Big Dark, private detective Henry Shaw is in trouble with his former partner on the police force, Bob Neville; Shaw has a knack for finding the monsters that are turning up in the City of Angels, but he’s making it hard for the authorities to keep the presence of the horrific creatures from the public. On top of that, he’s got a new case that’s heading in a disturbing direction. Next, in William Leisner’s novelette Meet John Doe, Neville is called in to assist federal agents on a case involving the escalating monster issue, leading him to wonder if some of these so-called monsters might not be so monstrous after all.

Tales of the Weird World War is a shared-world idea I came up with and further developed with my partner in crime, Bill Leisner. These first two stories set the stage for a world increasingly altered by the mysterious appearances of various beings and creatures of unknown origin. The excerpt below is the opening of my story.




The Big Dark

I’d followed the tall blonde with peekaboo hair all morning, watching other men watch her pleated skirt sliding across the nylons on her long legs. It was easy to understand why her new husband was sweating in his office, air conditioning be damned. He, of course, suspected an affair. I suspected worse—a hunch that something was just wrong, like dogs barking wildly before an earthquake. It wasn’t the first time I’d had that feeling.
       Her meandering walk through Hollywood had led her into a diner on Highland just south of Sunset. I waited outside, looking at radios in the window of the shop next door, happy for the break. My bad leg was complaining without its brace, but I didn’t wear it on tails, not anymore. I took off my hat and wiped my forehead. The day was warm and humid, the sun too bright. Smells of burgers and fries wafted from the diner, lingering on its patrons as they passed behind me. My stomach growled, but was drowned out by traffic and the tramp of hard soles on concrete. . . .



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