Deep in the Alaskan forest, ranger Sloan comes across the torn and bloody carcasses of Grizzly bears. Searching a human cause for the massacres, he discovers a team of poachers hunkered within the Alaska wilderness, waiting for the chance to score a big kill. He also finds evidence of the most fearsome killers in the universe: the Predators.
Love him or hate him, most people will know Steve Perry as the father of the modern day Predator fanboy culture. Along with his daughter, Stephani Perry, they single handily created the very culture the Predator fanboys love. Alien fans will know him as the man who started off the Aliens novel series. And now, fourteen years after writing Prey, Yautja God himself has finally written his first solo Predator novel.
Now I’m just gonna get this out the way, I’m not fond of Earth Hive and I’ll openly have a “heated” discussion with Steve on our forums but Turnabout…Turnabout just plain rocked.
I’m very particular about characters in these novels and it seems to be something that only Predator novels can nail. Following in the footsteps of Greenberger and Friedman with Flesh and Blood, Perry’s Turnabout focuses on three characters which gives him the time and pages to develop them.
Turnabout is first and foremost a character story and it shows. Each character is introduced as complex with an interesting past. The show is stolen by Sloane, however, as he progresses and develops his relationship with Mary. Over time we learn about Sloane’s past as in Vietnam and I really began to believe in his motivations.
Mary’s complexity comes from her brother, the reason she’s even in Alaska. Through a series of nightmares, we learn loads about Mary and her brother. I really found the nightmares to be quite engrossing. The first one was somewhat of a curve ball but it left me itching for me. I wanted to know who it was! How it was relevant!
Turnabout kept a very steady but fast pace. Short chapters helped to keep things moving. Like Sloane, the book makes sure it keeps moving. Considering that the main character is a sniper and he mentions the importance of patient and while the chance for it to slow down the pace and bore the reader is there, Perry kept well away.
Something that could concern readers is the technical information peppered throughout the novel. Specifically gun information. It’s blatantly obvious that Perry has done his research. For some this might slow down the novel, seem as nothing more than a way to bulk up the word count. For others it might add a depth of realism. For me it deepened Sloane and Regal’s characters. I felt like these people really know their trade and that made them more dangerous.
I think the major turn off point for those Predator fans who recognized Perry’s name will come from the lack of focus on the Predators. Like I mentioned earlier, Turnabout is a character story first and foremost. Yautja fans will be immensely disappointed as there are no parts involving the Predator culture Perry himself helped conceive.
But it’s not all sunshine and daisies. Steve Perry has this incredibly weird way of structuring his sentences. His comma placement had me re-reading quite a few sentences to make sure I was reading it right. But what’s one complaint?
As I finished this novel, the Alien fanboy in me cried out. He was extremely jealous that the Predator novels have pretty much all been entertaining reads and Turnabout was no different.
There’s not much more I could possibly rave about for this novel. However, I will say this: If you’re a Predator fan buy this novel. An Aliens fan sick of poor characters in the Alien novels? Buy Turnabout. A Perry fan? Buy this novel!
Well now for the part where I give a score. Okay here’s a first for AvPGalaxy. I award Steve Perry’s solo Predator debut a 5 out of 5!