Predator: Turnabout is a 2008 novel written by Steve Perry and published by DH Press. Set in the Alaskan wilderness, it sees an ageing park ranger having to deal with both illegal poachers and alien hunters when a group of each visits the area to stalk and kill bears for either profit or sport.
No cell phones. No zip codes. Now easy way out. In the backwoods of an Alaskan hunting ground, game warden Sloane patrols the countryside for poachers. When he stumbles on the carcass of a Kodiak bear, he assumes that greedy hunters have looted the countryside, again.
But Sloane is wrong. This bear was not killed by poachers, but by an unknown threat... the Predators.
Sloane has other enemies to contend with. Jack Regal, for one, a wealthy adrenaline junkie in the poaching game for the money. He also has people to protect, like Mary Collins, a city tenderfoot in the wilderness looking for the place where her brother died.
Trackers. Poachers. Game hunters. Fighters. The hunters become the hunted in a man-against-man, man-against-beast struggle for survival against the odds.
Sloane, a former Marine sniper and Vietnam veteran, now works as a park ranger in the wilds of Alaska, where he lives a quiet and peaceful life maintaining the park and its wildlife. When he discovers a beheaded grizzly bear in the forest, he immediately assumes poachers are responsible, despite the uncommon barbarity of the slaying. He returns to his ranger station and finds a young woman named Mary — whose brother Paul was recently mauled to death by bears in the park — waiting for him. She has come to visit the site of the attack, hoping to gain some closure by doing so, and Sloane's superiors order him to escort her there. Despite his indifference to her plight, he agrees.
Elsewhere in the park, a group of poachers led by Regal discover a bear they had been tracking has also been beheaded. Fearing competition, he sends two of his men to find the poachers responsible, but they fail to return. Their bodies are discovered by Sloane and Mary on their way back from the site of Paul's death, their skulls and spines torn out. Returning to the ranger station with Mary, Sloane finds he is unable to call for assistance as the radio is not working. Leaving Mary behind, he heads out alone to find the culprits. His search eventually leads him to witness two Predators fighting a bear using only their Wristblades, a brawl from which they emerge victorious. A shocked Sloane returns to the ranger station to retrieve greater firepower in the form of his CheyTac Intervention sniper rifle.
Meanwhile, Regal and his men have also found the bodies of their dead comrades and decide to leave the area. However, they find their ATVs have been destroyed. With civilization several days' hard march away, they instead make for the ranger station, hoping to either call for extraction or hijack a plane. Mary flees into the woods when she sees them approaching, and Regal sends two more of his men after her. They track her through the forest and catch her, but she is saved when a Predator intervenes and kills them both. Terrified, Mary escapes alone into the woods.
Elsewhere, Sloane locates the Predators' hunting camp, discerning that there are four of the creatures in the area. He snipes one of them at the camp from over a mile away, his powerful rifle killing it in a single shot, but a second Predator opens fire on him with its Plasmacaster, forcing him to retreat. He heads back to the ranger station to check on Mary, finding the remaining poachers still holed up inside. He kills one of the men when they threaten him, and the two survivors, Regal and a poacher named Martin, flee the scene. As they press deeper into the woods, they come upon the headless bodies of the men sent to retrieve Mary, and Regal assumes Sloane is responsible, having gone mad with PTSD after the Vietnam War.
Sloane finds Mary and takes her to an emergency shelter he has set up in the woods. They spend the night together, before Sloane heads back out to find and kill the remaining Predators. He manages to snipe another of the creatures, but while he is gone Regal and Martin find Mary and take her hostage. Again a Predator attacks, killing Martin, but Regal manages to escape with Mary. He locks his hostage up in a shed before going to find Sloane, wanting revenge for his dead men. Expecting his enemies to be hunting him, Sloane leaves a trail to lure them after him, before setting up an ambush. One of the remaining Predators anticipates the trap and almost gets the drop on Sloane, but it is shot dead by Regal, who is himself then sniped by Sloane.
Realizing his luck most likely will not hold, Sloane reunites with Mary and the pair try to escape the area on foot. However, they are confronted by the final Predator, which disarms Sloane and challenges him to a knife duel. He is little match for the creature, but just as it prepares to finish him it is shot dead by Mary with Sloane's CheyTac. Concerned that other Predators may come to investigate their fallen comrades, Sloane insists they push on to a radio tower some 20 miles away, where they can wait for help. The following night, they see an enormous explosion near the old ranger station, before hearing a ship departing overhead, and realize the Predators have cleaned up any trace of their presence.
- Predator: Turnabout is one of several Aliens/Predator/Alien vs. Predator novels that were never officially published in the United Kingdom.
- Unlike the two previous Predator novels from DH Press, which employed the Hish-qu-Ten concept for the Predator race, Turnabout is far more vague on the creature's society and motives; in fact, the story is told exclusively from the point of view of the human characters and (uniquely among the novels featuring Predators by Steve Perry) provides no insight into the titular antagonists and their thoughts. This recalls the early Predator novels published by Bantam Books.
- Despite this, the novel does contain a subtle reference to the original Yautja concept for the species, first created by Perry for the novel Aliens vs. Predator: Prey — at one point, Sloane imagines a victorious Predator showing off his skull to its fellow hunters, labelling its quarry an "ooman", a word established as part of the Yautja language in Prey.
- The book also features a humorous cameo by Predator star Arnold Schwarzenegger as himself, during a brief sequence where Mary dreams that she is on the beach in Los Angeles and sees him taking part in a publicity outing as part of his role as Governor of California.