Called "captivating, with characters very well developed and the plot develops with just the right pace," the Stepping Stone Cycle is a series of novellas by acclaimed self-published author Gary Ballard set in the Cthulhu Mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft. Each novella is written as if it was an episode on a television series, and this compilation contains the complete text of the first three episodes of season 1 - First Stone, The Metal Black and Drowned.
Episode 1 - First Stone
Forensic psychologist Dr. Jack Carter wakes from a semi-catatonic state in a mental hospital, with no memory of the previous year. His wife Sarah has disappeared and as the last human being to see her alive, Jack is the prime suspect in her disappearance. Without a body and with no physical evidence to prove foul play, the lead investigator and Jack's friend, Bill West, must continue to search for the truth even if it means fingering Jack for the crime. When a serial killer in West Virginia's coal country claims to have killed Sarah Carter, Bill and Jack rush to the crime scene. What they find is a deeply disturbed man with no memory of his crimes or of taking credit for Sarah's death. As Jack tries to decipher the mysterious series of runic symbols the killer carved into his slaughter house, he unlocks a deeper cosmic mystery that goes beyond anything he could imagine.
Episode 2 - The Metal Black
When forensic psychologist Dr. Jack Carter returned to consciousness, he and his wife, Sarah, had been missing for over a year. With no memory of their last days together, Jack became the prime suspect in her disappearance. Vowing to search for her to the ends of the earth, he is drawn to the site of a gruesome double murder in small-town Mississippi. Two normal teenage boys with no history of violence slaughtered two girls named Sarah in an occult ritual and their jailhouse confession idolizes the lyrics of a song by doom metal band The Metal Black. Blaming the teen’s violence on the song’s macabre lyrics, their grieving mother brings a lawsuit against the band. Brought on to the case as an impartial psychological consultant, Jack finds eerie similarities between the song’s descriptions of the violent death of a woman named Sarah, his wife’s disappearance and the teen murders. When Jack meets the songwriter, he discovers a mystery beneath the sleepy town that causes him to question his own fragile sanity.
Episode 3 - Drowned
Forensic psychologist Dr. Jack Carter has had to question his sanity – a year’s worth of memory lost, his wife, Sarah, missing and himself the prime suspect. His most recent cases have led him to meet beings he could only classify as supernatural. Called to consult on a mother’s mental health after she confesses to drowning her five children, Jack finds there’s more to the death of these kids than a fanatically religious mother’s fractured grasp of reality. Every turn in the case leads him to face the truth – a powerful entity known only as The Sleeper is spreading a murderous corruption throughout the world. Can Jack survive its terrible pull and discover the truth about what happened to Sarah?
About the Author
I currently live with my beautiful wife and three very insane dogs in Mississippi, where I continue to write my novels, play guitar and video games, and blog on my personal blog at