There has been a novel, eight short stories (some of them long enough to be called novelettes) and a novella featuring monster hunter Mordecai Slate. Throughout the series Slate’s primary motivation for hunting down and killing the creatures that lurk in the night and haunt our nightmares has been the bounty money that someone is usually willing to pay to get rid of them. If there is more to it than that, Slate has never been willing to reveal it. He’s pretty tight lipped about his past. One thing we know he is not principally motivated by hate or revenge.
In HUNTING MONSTERS IS MY BUSINESS, The Mordecai Slate Stories, some insight may be found by looking at Slate through the eyes of another character. In this story, the wife of an old friend of Slate’s has called on him for help, after her husband suddenly disappeared. Her call comes at a time when Slate is, perhaps for the first time in his life, psychologically vulnerable, due to certain incidents that occurred in VAMPIRE SIEGE AT RIO MUERTO.
After serving Slate a home cooked meal, Libby Carlson asks Slate if he knows why he’s chosen his particular profession. Slate jokes that it’s a dirty job but–
“You don’t know why you risk your life tracking down and killing things that would freeze the hearts of most men, do you?” Libby Carlson said. She shook her head and smiled. “You may not know the reason, but I do. It came to me one night talking to Tom. He was telling me the story of how the two of you were tracking down some god awful-sounding creature up in Oregon. Something half-human, half bear-like.. It was terrorizing a small village of settlers. A widow hired the two of you to hunt it down.”
“I remember,” Slate said. “Tom saved my life that day.”
“He told me about that. But what stuck with me was the way he described the look on the widow’s face when you brought the carcass into the settlement. He said it was a look that said, bad as everything is in this dark world, there is still some justice in it. There are still some people who make justice happen. I could tell from the way he talked about it, what that meant to him. That was the reason he did what he did, even if he didn’t know it. To see that look.” Her eyes glistened. “I reckon it’s the same with you, even if you don’t know it.”
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