Predators of Darkness: Aftermath (Darkness Series #1) by Leonard D Hilley II

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?

Very dark, very good.

Predators of Darkness is the first of a trilogy about the horrors of down town Pittsburgh in 2073 after a missile attack 3 years prior. The description of said attack and how ruthless people are to save themselves was, though very realistic I'm sure, a bit too brutal to my taste.

The shifters, the genetically altered animals/monsters, I thought were really interesting and I like how Hilley doesn't actually blame nuclear radiation, but instead gives a more feasible reason... but that's spoilerland, so not going into further detail about it. On the subject of genetics though, I do think Helmsby is a bit too stereotypical mad-but-good scientist with too awing achievements in his name.

One thing I did not like about this book was the pecking order of the human survivors. It sickens me the way the women fight each other over a man (beat the alpha female and you take her place). I couldn't help but shoot a dark thought at the author while reading that section, but thankfully it moves beyond that and I was able to ignore it mostly.

The main characters consist of the leaders Daniel and Lucas and the women Julia, Johanna and Lydia. Overall they were all well written, but I never felt like I properly knew any of them or their real motivations. We do learn about what sort of people they are though through their actions throughout the book. Daniel is the only character whom we really get an in-depth characterization of; the rest are more superficially handled, and besides the four or so main characters we barely learn anything about the other survivors besides a few random names and facts here and there.
I do have a few misgivings about the plot, but overall it pulled me in and I was fully taken by the end of it. The story in itself is quite brutal, but it besides that one scene it never overstepped the line. It's one of those books which I could easily imagine as a Hollywood action film, while reading it. It certainly has all the right elements - intrigue, mystery, action, love and romance, the hunts through the crumbling buildings, scavenging for food and avoiding/fighting the monsters! The story in itself and its setting in a gloomy fog-covered almost post-Armageddon-like Pittsburgh is very engaging and I often had a hard time putting it down. In conclusion I'm very much looking forward to reading the next in the series and find out what happens next - I have a feeling a lot of hardship is inevitable.

233 pages / print published in 2007, e-book in 2011
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2011

Many thanks to the author for supplying me with a copy of the book.

*note* Blogger restored the missing posts after their downtime and I decided to combine my original entry with the one I rewrote.


  1. This is a book that is totally up my alley. I love these kind of "what if" plot lines. Also, I live in Pittsburgh! It would be neat to see if I recognize anything at all...

  2. @BookGeek - there are a few places in Pittsburgh mentioned by name, that'd be so cool, recognising stuff :D Imagine reading about post-apocalyptic terror where it "took" place!


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