cover image APEX


Tyler Michael. Tyler Michael, $9.99 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-0-578-78199-0

Chris Arians, the 23-year-old protagonist of Michael’s impressive debut, a riff on Richard Connell’s classic survival story “The Most Dangerous Game,” teaches camping skills on the weekend somewhere in the Northeast. Participants on one survival trek he conducts include computer science undergrad Kevin Wu and MBA candidate Kate Alan. On the trail, Chris, Kevin, and Kate encounter a hiker, Ranger, who joins them on their trek and later drugs them at their campsite. They awake in unfamiliar terrain, oblivious to the plan of APEX, a covert organization that gets paid millions to set up hunts with humans as prey, to allow three men to stalk them. The men hope to earn points and win a competition by killing as many of the trio as possible within 36 hours and making it safely to an extraction point. Chris, Kevin, and Kate quickly realize the deadly stakes and scramble to stay alive. Michael makes his leads fully realized characters and maintains nail-biting suspense throughout. This superior outing augurs well for future books from this author. (Self-published)