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Predator: Concrete Jungle is a 1995 novelization of the comic book series of the same name, written by Nathan Archer and published by Bantam Books. In the midst of an oppressive heatwave, NYPD Detectives Rasche and Schaefer find themselves on the trail of a brutal serial killer who is slaughtering and mutilating the city's hardened criminals. As the body count rises and the NYPD itself is targeted, the men come to realise the killer may not be human at all, while Schaefer suspects events are connected to the disappearance of his brother Dutch.

Publisher's Summary

With the record-breaking heat come frayed nerves and a rising crime rate. New York City detectives Rasche and Shaefer are assigned to look into the most brutal murders they've ever seen — flayed bodies hung like curing meat on a rack — and they can't believe that just an over-heated temper tantrum is the cause.

When Shaefer has a close encounter with one of the murderers, he realizes he's run into something much bigger than the police suspect. The creature leaves him with an alien device implanted in his neck and a strong feeling the fight is a personal thing.

Plot

In New York City, a secret meeting between two of the city's gang bosses, Lamb and Carr, is broken up by an unknown assailant. Responding to the reports of gunfire, Detectives Rasche and Schaefer ignore orders to stay out of the scene and enter the abandoned tenement to find Lamb and most of the others present skinned and hung from the rafters; only Carr has survived the slaughter, and he manages to escape before Rasche and Schaefer can arrest him. Their Captain arrives and reprimands the two officers for disobeying orders not to enter the premises, warning them to stay off the case and informing them that the "feds" will handle it.

Several days later, another attack targets an NYPD firing range, leaving only the unarmed desk clerk alive. Rasche and Schaefer again enter the scene without authorization, and are duly confronted by General Phillips of the US Army, who takes the detectives aside and presses them not to pursue the killings. Schaefer is unrepentant, especially when Phillips mentions he knew Schaefer's missing brother, Dutch. Following the meeting, Rasche and Schaefer return to the scene of the mob massacre to look for clues. Schaefer heads inside alone and is attacked by the killer, a giant figure who throws him out of a window, but not before Schaefer is able to tear off the suspect's mask. Rasche takes his injured partner to hospital, where doctors reveal a mysterious metal device has been attached to the back of Schaefer's neck and threatens to sever his carotid artery if it is removed.

Realizing he has been tagged specifically, Schaefer tells Rasche to take a vacation with his family while he himself travels to Central America, following up on information given to him by his brother Dutch shortly before his disappearance. Retracing Dutch's steps, he heads into the jungle, finding a destroyed rebel encampment and eventually a huge blast crater. There he is attacked by a Predator, which he recognises as the suspect from New York, and just barely manages to kill the creature by kicking it over a cliff where it is impaled on a branch. Thinking the job completed, Schaefer plans his return to the US, but on the way out of the jungle is captured by Eschevera, a drug dealer he previously wounded in New York. Taken to Eschevera's compound, the drug lord prepares to have Schaefer tortured, only for his fortified compound to be attacked by a group of Predators. Schaefer escapes the carnage and flees back into the jungle, where he is recovered by General Phillips.

Back in New York, a shocked Rasche discovers there is a fleet of Predator ships hovering over the city when he happens to look through the mask Schaefer recovered earlier. He tries to convince his superiors, but is captured by Phillips' men. From them learns that Phillips intends to hand Schaefer over to the aliens, having presumed that the hunters are here to settle the score after Dutch killed one of their member in Central America and hoping that giving them what they want will convince them to leave Earth in peace. Learning the location of the swap, Rasche escapes and heads there to save Schaefer. He arrives to find Schaefer already holding his captors at gunpoint, and the two flee the scene.

Determined to fight the Predators, Schaefer takes an incredulous Rasche to recruit Carr and his men for a final showdown with the aliens, arming them with heavy weapons recovered from an NYPD lockup. Schaefer gets the Predators' attention by firing at one of their ships with an RPG, and sure enough the creatures land and disembark for a close-quarters fight on the ground. Assistance arrives in the form of soldiers and a fleet of US Army helicopter gunships after Phillips reconsiders his stance of appeasement towards the aliens, but even so the Predators' advanced technology gives them the upper hand. However, a huge storm suddenly breaks over the city, signalling the end of the heatwave. In response, the creatures return to their vessel, one of them removing the alien device from Schaefer's neck, before lifting off and departing Earth with their ships.

Afterwards, Schaefer gives Carr and his surviving men a few hours head start before he comes after them. An injured Rasche states his intention to retire following the calamity of the last few weeks, a decision Schaefer accepts with good grace. Phillips, meanwhile, expresses the need for secrecy surrounding the aliens and tells Schaefer the incident will be covered up, to which the detective tells him, "Good luck with your lies, General."

Differences from the Comic

There are several differences between the novel and the original comic on which it is based:

  • The second Predator attack in the comic takes place in the subway and the Predator targets armed civilians. However, in the novel, the Predator attacks a shooting range in the basement of a grocery, targeting cops.
  • The novel adds a scene after Rasche is sent on vacation where he and his family are forced to escape from Phillips' men at a small motel resort.
  • The novel also adds a scene after Schafer is captured by Eschevera where Phillips sends a helicopter team to retrieve the fallen Predator corpse. However, the team is wiped out by other Predators sent to protect the body.

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