The Reapers Take Aim At A Yautja
At the end of 2020, I offered up my first Dime Store Reads post. It was a brief review of the novelization of the film The Predator from 2018. I enjoyed the book well enough so I decided to head back to the same Dollar General that I purchased the novel at to pick up its prequel, The Predator: Hunters and Hunted. Written by James A. Moore, Hunters proved to be even more enjoyable than the film and book that it sets up.
In the story, an elite group of soldiers called the Reapers have been training for years in preparation for engaging and capturing a Yautja (Predator). Trained by Pappy Elliot, the only survivor of an attack in Vietnam, the group finds themselves outsourced to other departments to dispatch drug rings and other ne’er do wells. The group is lethal and chomping at the bit for a real challenge. Unfortunately, funding is on the verge of being cut for the team and Project Stargazer, a research project that hopes to study one of the Yautjas in order to reverse engineer its technology for the benefit of the U.S. government.
With two members of Project Stargazer in Washington, D.C. pleading their case, the Reapers finally get to engage a Predator on the Florida/Georgia border in the Okefenokee Swamp and the surrounding areas. They quickly find themselves in a battle for their lives while attempting to capture the alien visitor. After successfully trapping the Yautja and suffering major casualties, the group bring the hunter back to Project Stargazer’s base of operations. The monster manages to escape and the thinned out group has to battle it once more. With the loss of their comrades in mind, the Reapers plan to kill the Yautja in their second confrontation. Who wins? Read the book for yourself and find out!
Moore does an excellent job of alternating the story between the perspectives of the Reapers, the Predator, and other characters in the story. The Reapers feature some very interesting characters that are all given a decent amount of development. My favorite Reaper was a character named Hyde who, based on a quick search on other reviews of this book, proved to be one of the most popular characters in the story overall. Two characters featured in the film that follows the book, Traeger and Keyes, make an appearance, with Traeger getting some heavy development in the novel.
Parts of the story remind me of the first two Predator films, especially the second one starring Danny Glover and Gary Busey. There are brief callbacks to both of these films but this novel does well to stand on its own. Moore is no stranger to writing stories based upon established film and television series. He’s written novels that are parts of the Alien and Buffy The Vampire Slayer universes and is also a successful novelist of original series as well (Seven Forges novels, Bloodstained series, etc.). In this novel specifically, he does a great job of setting up and executing battle scenes. A favorite of mine is the Predator’s encounter with an alligator.
I really enjoyed this book and would love to see some of the surviving characters return in other novels or even in future films in the Predator series. As stated before, I picked this book up at Dollar General. It cost me three bucks and was more than worth it. I definitely recommend this novel.
Thanks for checking out this post. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this novel or any other Predator books. Feel free to tell me what you liked, disliked, or absolutely hated about any of the books.