In this, my third short story collection of the weird, I've brought together for the first time sixteen of my fantastic tales set amidst the awesome landscapes of Arizona. You may look forward to indulging in the following strange accounts:
The Ghost TownA ghost town by definition ought to be a closed book, an eroding fragment of history; but suppose it were a book no one had ever before read? Join the narrator of this tale as, while sifting that lonely rubble in the San Pedro Valley, he uncovers evidence of a world that never was, but just might come to pass.
At the End of a Dusty RoadAnd ghost towns should by rights be old and dead, forever docile . . . if one may trust the lingering inhabitants to see it so. If not, brace yourself for the kind of peculiarly menacing vision presented in a forgotten border outpost, where death festers with horrid animation.
A Detour to Skull ValleySkull Valley isn't a ghost town; look it up on the map and journey there if you will, but don't fall through the cracks of reality on the way. If you do, as occurs to the hapless traveler in this story, you may face unpleasant surprises, and the dread of wondering where ends the creepy strangeness.
The Shack on Escudilla MountainNothing could be grander than a hike among the loveliness of Arizona's renowned White Mountains. Imagine, however, that the picture postcard scenery conceals unquiet terrors of yesteryear. So far from civilization, be careful not to lose your path, and be suspicious of whom you meet; he may be less and horribly more than he seems.
The Witch's CaveAn anthropologist visits a tired old community on the dry, barren slopes above the Verde Valley. Intending a textbook study, he learns of that which won't make the professional journals. Witchcraft survives there, and it's as deadly as ever.
SedonaSedona, the jewel in Arizona's crown; beauty beyond compare, poetry carved in stone, poetry composed in thought; the citadel of the New Age. Yet what lies behind that "bland optimism?" Might the glories of the spirit mask an evil spanning all time and space? Yes, they might.
My War Against the InvisiblesHideous aliens come to Arizona! Commencing their freakish scheme of conquest from the Verde Valley, they mean to kill or enslave us all. One desperate man fights back.
The Diary of Philip WylerAlien invasion again, this time in years past, with a mysterious corporation operating for furtive ends by the San Pedro River. Peruse the old diary along with noted researcher Professor Anton Vorchek, and try if you can to separate the layers of mystery upon mystery embedded within this case. What really happened back then, and what can it mean now?
Among the HoodoosThe remaining tales of this collection document the adventures of Professor Vorchek as he investigates irruptions of the supernatural and the supernormal, often accompanied by his beautiful if querulous assistant Theresa Delaney. In this outing, set amidst the geological wonderland of the Chiricahua Mountains, they confront crazed cultists seeking to unleash--for their own gain--loathsome horrors upon the world.
A Chance ResultDeep in the fabled Red Rock Country beyond Sedona, Professor Vorchek and Theresa go up against a stiff-necked anthropologist who simply won't understand that his excavations are ripping the lid off of age-old madness. He'd better learn soon, because his team is dwindling fast!
The Mystery of the Inner Basin LodgeA scientific conference held on a bitter winter night high up among the San Francisco Peaks above Flagstaff proves a cunning trap for Vorchek and Theresa. They've walked right into a web of evil woven by a murderous cultist eager to let loose the dormant cosmic powers lurking there. Even Vorchek's mighty intellect may prove insufficient to ward off the peril.
The Legend of the Vulture MineIf there be a price for knowledge, who pays it? The question arises when Vorchek, with Theresa in tow, investigates morbid claims involving those deep, long abandoned shafts in the desert beyond Wickenburg.
The Revenge of the PastThe ephemera of callous modernity meets the undying and spiteful past when a new housing development abutting the stark White Tanks Mountains outside Phoenix disturbs an ancient Indian ritual site. Vorchek and Theresa dive in to the hauntings and hideous mayhem that ensues.
The House on Anderson MesaVorchek sends his graduate student to study reports of a haunted house in the forested wilds below Flagstaff. That student will surely earn his credits the hard way, and the final test is one difficult to pass!
The House on the Hill of StarsBy Oak Creek on the verge of the Red Rock Country stands the Wilson House, said to be haunted. Once upon a time a family went in, and they never came out. Now Vorchek has come to investigate, with dutiful Theresa by his side, along with one very obnoxious graduate student. Vorchek's methodology is precise, comprehensive . . . and possibly a little underhanded? He will achieve his goals, regardless of the consequences.
Into the VortexJust how far will Vorchek go in pursuit of arcane knowledge? In this climactic tale of supernatural analysis, the dedicated professor leads an expedition comprised of Theresa and students into the uncharted wilderness of Sedona's Red Rock Country to investigate mysterious energy emissions in territory infamous for lurid events in the past. What they find there is so weird, and the results so personally varied, that it may be difficult to predict individual fates. Glorious wonders or shocking dangers: both may be true!
If you plan to see the marvels of Arizona, it's best to know what you're getting into before embarking into the unknown. All these tales can be had in one convenient, portable volume at Amazon.
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