Sunday, February 11, 2018

Book Review: 'Predator's Game' by S.L. Shelton

Author S.L. Shelton has created in Scott Wolfe a character that may just rise in importance to the level of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan - different roles but very similar degrees of intelligence and adventure. Much of that of course comes from Shelton's colorful background: he served in the US Armed Forces as an explosives expert followed for nearly two decades as a developer, designer, trainer, and a CEO in the computer field, and always committed to his passion for rock and mountain climbing. Leaving the corporate world behind (and also to a great extent his love for climbing due to injuries) he is now settled as a man of the earth in privacy, rallying all of his imagination and frustration and explosive creativity to molding his alter ego - Scott Wolfe. His series of espionage/political/military thrillers books - the Scott Wolfe Series number at present four volumes - and if the public response to these first books is any indication, he will likely be projecting the adventures further in slick time. PREDATOR’S GAME is the sixth volume of this ongoing saga.

The timing for this series is ripe while we as a nation are grappling with the increasing schism between the poles of wealth and the rest of us. Few writers can distill the ugly side of corporate corruption and dysfunctional world governments as well as Shelton. The manner in which he can create a complete thriller out of a Prologue is a talent few others can match: ‘Tuesday, January 18, 2011 (The night of the attack on Camp Peary in Virginia) 3: 25 a.m.— Defense Intelligence Agency Special Projects Section, research and training compound, Fort Detrick, Maryland. Trissa, or Tris to those who knew her, stood in the back of the small control room watching Albert Emrick, head of the covert enhanced assets program for the Defense Intelligence Agency. She leaned comfortably against a concrete column, arms folded, almost bored with the need for her presence. But she knew it was best practice to have a Jagger in the control room during an Op— just in case insight into their unique capacity, their thought processes or tolerances, was required. She was taut and lean and she saw everything— a veritable killing machine. Being in the DIA control bunker while her gene-paired, enhanced partner Gannon was at Camp Peary abducting a technician was almost a slap in her enhanced face. She was the stronger of the two— but it had been luck of the draw. And so she waited.’

The plot is well condensed in the author’s synopsis: ‘This is the unfolding story of corporate corruption in the world's governments and the adventures of a young Scott Wolfe, who is unknowingly swept into a secret war of massive proportions. Coming out of battle, but feeling confident, Scott Wolfe is prepared to operate outside of Langley oversight. Someone has been breaching security, passing secrets that could get everyone killed and Scott is not taking any more chances. A windfall of information is disappearing at an incredible pace and Scott only has a short window of opportunity to follow the trail before it goes cold. He's closer to Combine than he's ever been but a new predator has entered the game, something he's never faced before—something bred for killing. Running silent, with his incredible skills and with no Agency rules, might not be enough this time. Hanging in the balance are the lives of his friends and coworkers at TravTech and his dream girl, Kathrin. With all he's learned, and as far as he's grown, Scott is pushed to his absolute limit in an attempt to end the secret war. It's not clear if his best is enough to keep him and those he loves alive.’

Take all of your favorite films and television series (`Strike Back' is a good example), grace them with intelligent writing and you get an idea of what S.L. Shelton has accomplished in the Scott Wolfe Series. Center of the target! Grady Harp, April 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.