In the Shadow of the Predator by Steven Yuresko
In the Shadow of the Predator, written by Steven Yuresko, is a sensational story filled with predators. Set in the not too distant future, sex offenders face far stricter laws and consequences, and the rules and regulations continue to tighten. A well-known psychologist, Dr. Tannem, is on a mission to create a new society. This new concept stems from his own secret pedophillic desires. With hundreds of millions of dollars to spend he convinces the ruler of the Yucatán Region of Mexico, Ernesto Valentinez, to allow him to create a resort on a small island under Valentinez’s control. Valentinez is disgusted by the idea of providing a place where grown men can come to sexually abuse children without fear of punishment, but he needs the money. He may be a drug lord and have his own sex slaves, but he is still disturbed by Tannem’s concept. Yet, there is so much more to the story than Dr. Tannem and Valentinez. Spencer Hyde, a convicted sexual predator, was a former patient of Dr. Tannem’s in prison, but now that he is out and living in one of the highly controlled gated communities for sex offenders, law enforcement decides to use him as an undercover agent. Spencer ends up becoming exceptionally important to Tannem while secretly feeding information to his contacts. Once on the island and while helping prepare for the grand opening of the resort, he meets Naiya, a former sex slave who escaped from Valentinez. Throughout the story, you can see that Spencer is trying to change his behavior and prevent future sexual crimes. However, he is quite drawn to the teenaged Naiya, and Tannem tempts him by sending a little six-year-old girl to live with him. Is it possible that Tannem will succeed in creating a sexual playground for child molestors or will he get what he deserves in the end? Will Spencer succumb to temptation or will he finally be able to turn his life around?
Steven Yuresko has written a complex mystery thriller, but In the Shadow of the Predator is easy to follow. There are a few grisly death scenes and a few graphic sex scenes, but overall such scenes are moderate. Yuresko is cautious with the physical intimacy between the adults and the children in the story, but be prepared for some disturbing suggestions of what reallly goes on. At the core of this story is the twisted and frightening mind of an authority figure, and a psychologist who tries to make it okay and acceptable for adults to desire sexual relations with children. The characters were easy to connect with and care about, including Spencer. In the Shadow of the Predator is a page turner and while it includes shocking scenes now and again, Yuresko has filled it with a powerful interwoven message about real love and the psyche.