Title: Apex Predator | Author: S.M. Douglas | Pub Date: 2016-10-21 | ISBN13: 9780997695526 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 1 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration
In a world destabilized by soaring inequality, climate change, and war the deaths of several high profile bankers leave national security experts scrambling for answers. A disgruntled and discredited FBI Agent striving to bring to justice the corrupt individuals responsible for wrecking his community is instead ordered to protect those same Wall Street power brokers. In the postindustrial wasteland of a bankrupt Detroit he stumbles onto a lead capable of not just cracking the case, but with potentially explosive ramifications for the future of mankind. Meanwhile a team of historians investigating a mysterious Second World War era mass grave make a startling discovery in a medieval village located deep within a foreboding Ukrainian valley. Brought together they face an ancient terror in a global adventure that forces them to confront the tragic history of Eastern Europe’s blood lands. There they struggle to reconcile their findings with the evidence that a mythic evil is possibly real, and murderously intent on keeping its existence a secret until able to set in motion events that could change human history.
The cover of Apex Predator is very nice looking. The wolf against the castle and the blue and black tones mingle well together. The title stands out nicely. The food descriptions were quite mouth-watering if a little unnecessary at times.
I also do appreciate what they’re trying to say about how Detroit got screwed over with the auto crash and resulting unemployment rates and mortgage fraud. We hardly spend any time there though, before all of the action moves to Eastern Europe.
Unfortunately that’s about all I can say for Apex Predator. The writing was stilted and didn’t flow smoothly. The author tries to work in just about every current issue in massive expository info-dumps. It makes the dialogue in the book awkward and unnatural. None of the issues are gone into with any depth nor are they worked in naturally into the plot of Apex Predator. There’s also a several page Q & A between the Wall Street savvy FBI Agent Brody and a character designated the idiot for plot convenience so Brody can tell us all about the fascinating details of how exactly the mortgage scams worked. Obviously us ‘Everyday Joes’ are just too dumb to figure that out by themselves. It’s as thrilling as it sounds.
There are also alternating chapters in Apex Predator from the Big Bad Banker Villain of the book which, frankly, are disgusting and crude. One of those lovely little chapters insinuates that a woman deserves a forced blow job because she’s showing a bit too much cleavage. In the middle of a bank office no less. There are also other sexual assaults, abuse of a baby (non-sexual but still disgusting) and each chapter ends with some variation of “Life is good/great/awesome”. It gets repetitive and tiresome.
The female characters in Apex Predator would be a joke if they weren’t such unamusing stereotypes. There’s Tanya, the stereotypical Eastern European femme fatale. Cindy, the archaeologist, isn’t given a whole lot of page time. There are a few others that are there as well but they are not given nearly the depth (such as it is) of the male characters.
That brings up another complaint of mine with Apex Predator. There are a ton of characters introduced. Some of them seem important at the beginning then are never heard from again. Others who aren’t very important to the plot are given more page time than they deserve.
With the aforementioned problems it commits the most egregious error a book can. Apex Predator is quite boring. Every now and then there’s a tidbit of action to go along with it but not nearly enough. I’m not even a reader who typically enjoys oodles of action There’s a lot of sitting around, being all expository and dull.
Oh yeah, and there’s werewolves that are eating corrupt bankers. Speaking of the werewolves (which are described surprisingly well) there’s a professor at the University of Michigan who, rather than even having the slightest professional curiosity about the fang found in a victim, retreats entirely and cuts himself off from any more inquiry about it. So, in the author’s eyes, Detroit is a burnt out wasteland (all of it apparently) and the University of Michigan is staffed by unprofessional professors who run at the first sight of something a little weird.
Perhaps with some heavy editing and more fully developed characters there’s some room for improvement. A lot of room. Developing the characters would improve it a lot, as would streamlining a lot of the unnecessary details and people.
I’ll wrap this up with a few suggestions to the author. I would definitely reconsider putting the names of real musicians in the book. Particularly in the contexts they are in (a juvenile joke about Nicki Minaj and Beyonce performing at a Trump-esque bankers birthday party). I’m not sure about the legality of it but at the bare minimum it will end up dating the book in the long run.
I honestly can’t recommend Apex Predator, not without some heavy rework, a good editor and another run through a proofreader would be a wise idea. I noticed a few typos here and there. Nothing to make it unreadable but it does make it look a bit unprofessional. Another proofread or edit would also smooth out some of the awkward sentence structure.
One Skull out of Five Skulls