Review: ALIEN HUNTER UNDERWORLD Meets You in the Middle

Alien Hunter Underworld
Written by Whitley Strieber
Published by Tor
August 2014
Hardback, 301 pages

When I wrote my review of Whitley Strieber’s Alien Hunters, I mentioned I was happy to finally start at the beginning of a series. The book captured my attention and I’m glad to say its sequel, Alien Hunter Underground, kept with the speed and suspense as its predecessor.

It’s been a few years since our last adventure with Flynn Carroll. Since then, he’s grounded himself into whatever part of whatever government agency deals with alien criminals. His skills have improved, so much that they are not human. And of course, he’s in trouble. First with the alien criminal world, but also with his higher ups. His methods are not admired by his superiors, who believe he’s too rogue. But what do you do with an alien that doesn’t exactly fall into the justice system here on Earth?

Flynn is not only the hunter in this book; he’s also the hunted. We discover that his actions from the first book have put a target on his back. Following a series of crimes that regular law enforcement would never tie together, Flynn follows clues that lead him down a path of self discovery that he didn’t expect, though he kinda did. Plus, in a turn of events he did not expect it leaves both Flynn and the reader wondering at the end of the story: what next for Earth?

In the first book, we learned why the aliens were interested in Earth and how some of their “science” worked. This book takes a deeper dive into that. Even though Flynn is out to get the bad guy, he uses this pursuit as an excuse to take a surprising side journey (surprising, at least, to the reader) that I found more intriguing. I’m not saying his primary chase was not entertaining, but I personally wish more time was given to this side story. I understand how the two sort of need to be together since trying to get the bad guy leads him to that deeper dive into the science. But I think when the side story comes to a head, it should have been given more time and depth. Or if there was a way to put an asterisk on it that leads to you to an extra hundred pages, that could have been good, too.  But that’s wishful thinking.

Like its predecessor, Alien Hunter: Underworld is fast paced; blink and you miss something. Strieber deftly manages to avoid overwhelming the reader with over the top weapon and alien lingo. There’s just enough to make you think “yeah, this could be real stuff.” He also keeps you on your toes, not too much downtime.  And he has remained consistent in keeping the feelings you have (well at least I have) for the characters secure, or in one characters instance, raging anger.

I’m in luck that I get to read all three books (yes! One more to go) in a row. I couldn’t imagine having to wait the year between these books and then another for the third. Luckily I don’t think it would be hard to pick up the second book and enjoy it without having read the first. Strieber doesn’t assume the reader knows everything already and recaps just enough.

Overall, Alien Hunter: Underworld is a good middle book moving Flynn’s story forward. I look forward to the next, Alien Hunter: The White House. Knowing what I know, I can only imagine what’s in store for the characters…..and this country.

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