Excerpt & Stories
My name is Tam Paradiso and I’m a homicide detective for the 21 District of the Philadelphia PD—second generation, my dad was a cop. And, oh yeah, I hunt monsters as a sideline. My life is not all that special—lots of waiting around, doing mundane things like tagging evidence and interviewing witnesses, washing the car and dropping off the dry-cleaning, until something happens and I find myself chasing a ghoul down a urine-soaked alley and fighting for my unremarkable life.
Xavier Hernandez is an imposing figure—former defensive end for a college team I can’t remember—he’s not fast enough for the pros or chasing ghouls down alleys. But he’s not bad in a fight, and just seeing his bulk discourages most from trying anything, and I’m glad he’s on my side.
Ghouls are not especially fast, but the alley was full of trash and potholes and I’d managed to find them all. One caught me off guard, all nasty claws and teeth. Ghouls feast on dead flesh mostly, but they’re not opposed to causing it to be dead it the first place. Bullets don’t do a thing to stop a ghoul, but fortunately I’d had my silver blade on me and managed to fend it off before X made it around the corner.
I work a lot on combat training, also martial arts, weapon handling and unknown to my colleagues, urban legends and lore. Lots of research goes into how to kill monsters, because very often, bullets from a police-issued Glock are useless. The hardest part is keeping things under wraps and not blabbing that I’ve just gone two rounds with super strong, razor mouthed ghoul.
For some reason, only I can see the evil entity underneath the illusion of humans. To my partner and everyone else, the hostiles look like regular people. You know, when you first meet someone and that uncomfortable little chill comes over you? The creep factor? It’s like that for me, only worse. I call them hostiles. Maybe that’s why I became a cop—getting rid of the bad guys comes second nature to me.