The spaceship came plummeting out of the sky--a soundless, streaking, purple glow, moving faster and faster until it ripped at the trees, crashed through them and struck sickeningly against a hill. Momentarily it flared brightly, then went out. It was not long after that the murders began--strange, inexplicable deaths, all the victims found with their heads crushed as if their skulls had exploded outward. The trail of victims led from Arkansas to Tennessee, to Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan--sixteen unrelated people who had only one thing in common: All of their brains had withered, as if sucked dry of their contents... And somewhere wandered an evil stranger from another planet, his personality expanding, his brain power increasing, preparing for the inevitable encounter that could make him master of the world! Joan Hunter Holly (1932-1982)--writing under her own name and as "J. Hunter Holly"--published 12 science fiction novels between 1959 and 1972. "Encounter" was her first book.