I'm looking for the title of a short story I read years ago.

It is about a cop chasing down a serial killer but it turns out both of them are actually aliens and the cop turns into a blob and envelopes the other alien until it dies.

It was part of an anthology. I read it maybe 7 years ago but the anthology could have been much older than that. For some reason I keep thinking it was in a horror anthology as opposed to to a straight up sci-fi anthology. The story takes place on Earth and it reads like a standard cop/detective story but then you get to the end and boom you get the alien twist.

  • Hi there! Could you please edit in some more elements about this story? For instance, how long ago is "years ago"? 5 years? 20? 50? Was that story written in English, was it a translation? Did you read it in an anthology - if so, what did the cover look like? Stuff like that, and whatever else you can think of, to increase the chances of a successful identification. Cheers!
    – Jenayah
    Aug 19, 2018 at 4:26
  • 5
    That does sound like Larry Niven's The Meddler (for which I can't find a short link giving the description, but can find a couple of illegal sites with the full text....)
    – andrewsi
    Aug 19, 2018 at 18:21
  • @user14111 - it is not. It's also not one that came up when I was searching...
    – andrewsi
    Aug 19, 2018 at 22:49
  • In The Meddler the private eye isn't an alien IIRC. Aug 19, 2018 at 23:48
  • 1
    @OrganicMarble - you're quite right; but he is followed around by an alien, and it's possible that a vaguely remembered story might also confuse something like that
    – andrewsi
    Aug 20, 2018 at 1:02

1 Answer 1


Dean Koontz, "Hardshell".

It's in these anthologies: "Predators" (1993), "Strange Highways" (1991), and "Night Vision 4" (1987). Two reviews on Goodreads for the Strange Highways short story mention it's about a cop and a serial killer chasing each other and that they obviously aren't quote fully human. The killer is also mentioned to be a shape shifter.

Dead men don’t bleed.

A game of cat and mouse develops in an abandoned warehouse (have you notice that in any story the warehouse always are abandoned?!) between a wounded cop and a vicious killer.

However, who is the “cat” and who is the “mouse” is still to be seen, since there are a lot beyond the evident.

Strange Highways review, Alejandro

Hardshell - In a abandoned warehouse, LAPD Det. Snow is chased by immortal Karl Skagg the "Shape Changer". He learns Karl's 300+ years old. And Det. Snow could to be made immortal?

Strange Highways review, Fred

  • Thank you for your help! It is Hardshell by Dean Koontz. I would never have been able to remember this on my own :)
    – Ravynn
    Sep 1, 2018 at 5:01
  • One day we'll come to you with a question.... ;-) Sep 1, 2018 at 18:24

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