Llewellyn Publications, 2019
America has some well-known cryptozoolgical puzzles, like Bigfoot, but it also has a rich folklore, still developing in the present day, of monsters, lake serpents, and just plain odd creatures reported anywhere from once to 3,000 times (Bigfoot again).
To take a quick tour of this richness, we have Chasing American Monsters.
Jason Offutt clearly had a good time creating this tour of states and their monsters, and readers will happily come along. All fifty state entries have some interesting nuggets, even for a well-informed cryptozoology fan who's read collections like this before. In my favorite spot, Alaska, he mentions some recent sightings of the Lake Iliamna monster I'd forgotten, although he's another writer who refers to early Russian reports without details or sources.
On Stellers' sea ape, Offutt expresses a healthy skepticism that's too often absent here. To get the nitpicks out of the way, Offutt repeats some falsehoods (e.g., that a monster photo appeared in a certain issue of the Tombstone Epitaph when it's long been disproved), and some misstatements like the wels catfish being a species from Spain, when the wels is not native (it has been introduced) and has a far greater range. There are few primary sources here: almost everything is from media and online materials. Nothing wrong with that, but a bit more investigation is warranted before giving us, say, the supposed Loess not-quite-human skeletons. Some creatures presented here are clearly just tales not meant to be taken seriously (no one is expected to believe in fish-eyed Night People, complete with clothes and children) , but many are treated as animals, and it's not always certain which is which (to which the author would no doubt reply that's part of the fun.)
You too, will have a great time reading through these tales. Offutt comments at the end he thinks a few of the monsters are real,but you don't need to believe in any of them to enjoy this book. Wonderful illustrations add to the fun.