It all started in the 1940s . . .

Shortly after World War II, there are isolated reports of disturbing incidents involving people who are not what they appear to be. They are, for lack of a better term, monsters—but they have taken human form. Some of these creatures appear to have created their human guises out of whole cloth; others assumed the lives of real people. And they have, to varying degrees, successfully masqueraded undetected in those roles. As the authorities realize that these gruesome, but still rare, reports are true, various govenmental and law-enforcement agencies start working to keep the unsettling details from the public.

Two short novels in one volume!

The Big Dark
a short novel by Scott Pearson

Los Angeles, July 1948. Private detective Henry Shaw is in trouble with his former partner on the police force, Bob Neville. After Shaw’s first encounter with a monster in human form years earlier, he’s developed a knack for spotting them as he works his cases in the City of Angels. Identifying them would be fine, but his habit of immediately eliminating them is making it difficult for Neville, who’s been tasked by the LAPD with keeping the existence of these creatures secret from the public. On top of fresh heat from Neville, a disturbing new case is pushing Shaw to his limits.

Meet John Doe
a short novel by William Leisner

Los Angeles, October 1948. Bob Neville’s efforts as the head of the LAPD’s secret task force on the monster problem has come to the attention of the FBI, and he’s asked to assist a pair of special agents on a developing case. A volunteer caregiver at the Old Soldiers’ Home in Lincoln, Nebraska, has had an emotional encounter with one of the creatures. While she recounts their cross-country chase, Neville wonders if some of these so-called monsters, despite frightening and deadly behavior, might not be so monstrous after all.

By the 1950s . . .

An increasing amount of monster sightings makes it difficult for the authorities to continue passing them off as hoaxes or the unreliable reports of drunkards or the otherwise delusional; nevertheless, that remains the official government position. The Cold War has created enough paranoia on its own, so the authorites are doing all they can to keep the monsters secret and avoid widespread panic. Much like the flying saucer craze, monster stories are spreading across the country (and the world) and are getting sporadic coverage in the media. For many people, it’s not a big leap to connect these two unexplained phenomena.

“The Creature in Jay Cooke Park”
a short story by Scott Pearson

Carlton, Minnesota, early June 1955. Hoping to have a fun summer vacation after ninth grade, Eddie tries to reconcile his two best friends by taking them camping to search for a monster he’s heard is lurking in nearby Jay Cooke State Park.

“The Loneliness of Monsters”
a short story by Scott Pearson

Carlton, Minnesota, late June 1955. Ginny struggles to hide the existence of her son Danny from her family—who are increasingly worried about her reclusive behavior—and her alcoholic ex-husband, who has never gotten over how their marriage ended.

The Big Dark & Meet John Doe cover design by Scott Pearson with properly sourced and licensed photos and fonts. Respect copyright!
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