Predator: Concrete Jungle

An alien predator is stalking the streets of New York, and a tough cop is out to stop it.

This novel is an adaptation of Mark Verheiden's first four-issue Predator mini-series from Dark Horse Comics, one of the earliest tie-ins to the 20th Century Fox movies.

The original paperback is out of print as of this writing, but the novel has been reprinted along with Predator: Cold War and Sandy Schofield's Predator: Big Game in The Complete Predator Omnibus from Titan Books. (Which is not, despite the title, complete, it's just those three novels.)

Why I wrote it | What I changed | My research

How and why I wrote it:

In the early 1990s I decided that I wanted to try my hand at a novelization. I wasn't really in a position to get a gig novelizing a movie; the studios had a list of authors with Alan Dean Foster at the top, and unless every single person on that list said no, they didn't look elsewhere. Movie novelizations had very rigid standards in some respects -- deadlines were absolute, the author had to be able to work fast and clean and stick to the script, etc. The studios didn't trust first-time novelists and only used them when desperate.

I didn't want a desperation job, which meant I wasn't going to get a movie, but there are other novelizations. Dark Horse was looking for someone to do a novelization of their Predator comic book mini-series, for example.

I thought that looked like lots of fun, but there was a problem. I was trying to narrow the Watt-Evans brand to fantasy and wanted to credit the novelization to Nathan Archer, and Dark Horse wanted a writer with a track record, not a first-time author. So in order to get the Predator job, I needed to get Nathan another credit ASAP.

So I wrote a Deep Space Nine novel first, then went back to Dark Horse, and they said yes.

Why I wrote it | What I changed | My research

Why it's different from the original comic books:

Predator Vol. 1

There are some differences; let's see if I can remember them all...


Why I wrote it | What I changed | My research

Some background:

One thing I saw as a possible problem when I agreed to write this novelization was that I didn't know much about cops or guns, and the story is built around cops and guns. Fortunately, my editor had foreseen this possibility and had arranged a contact for me at the NYPD, for research purposes.

What this meant, in practice, was that I spent almost an entire afternoon on the phone with Lt. Adam Kasanoff, going over what would work and what wouldn't, what sort of weapons would be best in what situation, and so on. He was the one who told me about the police shooting range on Twentieth Street, including giving me a pretty detailed description of the place. The book is still full of Hollywood-style absurdities, of course, but that talk with Lt. Kasanoff provided at least a little grounding in the real world and made it a much better story. He was a very pleasant guy to talk to, very helpful, and I'm grateful. Predator 2 on VHS

My other essential research, of course, was watching the movies. There were only two at that point, "Predator" and "Predator 2," but I got VHS tapes of both and watched them through carefully a few times, noting down details to make sure my novel didn't contradict anything, or add anything that might be an issue later.

The only problem with that was that at the time I had two young kids, and I didn't want them watching movies that violent, not to mention the sexy stuff in "Predator 2." (I was pretty sure the dirty jokes in the first film would go right over their heads.) So I forbade them to come into the den while I was doing my research.

What I didn't think about was the fact that you could sit on the stairs, out of my line of sight, and see straight into the den, with a good view of the TV. Which of course they did.

It doesn't seem to have done them any harm in the long run.