Predators of Darknessby Leonard D. Hilley II
Series: Darkness #1
Published on April 11, 2007 by Outskirts Press
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
The desolate streets of downtown Pittsburgh in 2073 are a reminder of the missile attack that forever changed the lives of the surviving scientists and students hidden in the fallout shelter of Helmsby's Genetic Research Center. Believing themselves to be the only survivors, they station themselves inside the center until food supplies near depletion. Thinking the fallout has lessened, they emerge three years later to discover strange creatures patrolling the streets in search of human flesh and blood. The creatures possess the ability to shift their genomes and alter their appearances by realigning their genetic sequences. Daniel Hutchinson, their leader, teams with Lucas Ridale and together they set out to scavenge the area for food and supplies with the hope to find other survivors. But Daniel's most recent journey uncovers mysteries more frightening than the shifters. He discovers the tip of Pittsburgh has been fenced off from the rest of the area. Low-flying helicopters observe the streets, making him ponder the question: Were the shifters released as simply part of a military experiment with humans being their prey?
A slow beginning: I struggled to get through the first several chapters and questioned if I was going to finish the book. Everything seemed to move… not slowly, but not a lot of action either. That could just be my personal taste though. I enjoy a good bit of action to really get you into the story and it wasn’t really there. Tension was high and the conflict clear, but there wasn’t that hook to really capture the reader.
Proven wrong: It took me about halfway through the book, but I really got hooked on the story. I found myself instead of looking for reasons not to read it, to keep on reading. The characters became real in my mind; their emotions my own. I love a good character-driven story and the different points of view in Predators of Darkness: Aftermath really added to the whole plot.
Dark, dark is good: I knew it was a sci-fi thriller before reading, but I never expected it to be so dark–in a good way. The whole concept of using innocent people as lab rats isn’t something you want to think about, but Hilley goes there and he pulls it off wonderfully. From page to page, you never knew if the characters would survive this new Pittsburgh, a city I’ve been to before and could never picture the way he depicts it. Not only the setting, but the thriller aspects of the story were done very well and really showed the darker side of human nature.
I started reading Predators of Darkness: Aftermath with the plans to not finish it and I find myself giving it 4 stars. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.