Alien Hunter and its sequel Alien Hunter: Underworld are the first two novels in an exciting new series by idiosyncratic Texas-born author Whitley Strieber. Although originally a writer of horror fiction, Strieber is best remembered for his 1987 book Communion, a powerful and deeply personal account of supposed contact with mysterious alien beings.
Whatever one’s individual opinion of the claims presented in Communion, it’s undeniable that Strieber has a talent for writing about aliens and otherworldly beings. In the case of Alien Hunter—which is being made into a television series by the SyFy Channel—this particular talent of Strieber’s is very much in evidence.
A blend between detective fiction and science fiction, Alien Hunter concerns a top-secret team within the government whose job is to track down dangerous alien criminals and prevent them from inflicting further harm upon the human race. The protagonist and chief alien hunter in the story, a brilliant police detective named Flynn Carroll, has good reasons for doing what he does: his beautiful young wife was taken by aliens. Her disappearance occurred in the dead of night, the perpetrator so stealthy as to be almost ghost-like.
Flynn’s mission to find his missing love and the non-human beings responsible for her abduction occupies his every waking moment and becomes his life’s obsession. Working by his side is the equally determined and stoic Diana Glass, an expert computer hacker. It is she who recruited Flynn into the heavily clandestine alien hunting team, serving the role of his boss. As the team becomes more organized and better equipped, they base themselves in an office located deep in the basement of CIA headquarters in Virginia.
If you’re worried that Alien Hunter is a rip-off of the Men In Black movies, you needn’t be, because it isn’t. It is however slightly reminiscent of The X-Files, with Flynn being akin to Fox Mulder and Diana Dana Scully. By this I’m not suggesting that Alien Hunter lacks originality but rather that the storyline and characters are somewhat formulaic.
Though hardly Strieber’s deepest and most ambitious work, Alien Hunter is a lot of fun, featuring some intriguing ideas about aliens and plenty of adventure and pistol-toting action. I can confidently say that I’m looking forward to the release of further books in the series in addition to the SyFy adaptation, which has already been slated for 13 episodes and is expected to premiere in 2016.