Hades & Hocus Pocus

van Lester Dent

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Two classic noir novellas about young men who find treacherous jobs during the Great Depression In Hades, Alexander Titus, a former Olympic decathlon star, comes to Hollywood looking for work. He and his friend Haw Gooch are down to their last dollar when they find jobs as bodyguards for erratic film producer Roger Quinlan. Quinlan seems quite paranoid, claiming that he’s being stalked by a demon and that he found Hades in a cavern in New Mexico. The story sounds crazy, but when Titus is framed for murder, he realizes Quinlan’s alleged hell might be the one place where he can also find the truth. In Hocus Pocus, two penniless traveling magicians respond to an ad for a mind reader. A psychology professor hires them to infiltrate a group of evangelists who incorporate mind reading into their preaching. Cal “Marvelous” Merton and his assistant, Imagination Daly, will study the evangelists’ methods and report back on whether their mind reading is genuine. But as Merton and Daly join the New Apostles, the air of danger is palpable, and questions arise about their employer and what exactly they’re investigating.

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