Zoo-James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Zoo
James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Vision/Grand Central, Dec 17 2013, $10.00
ISBN: 9781455525157

Biologist Jackson Oz observes a growing trend in which male animals from a wide variety of species become aggressive attackers of humans. He develops the Human-Animal Conflict (HAC) hypothesis in which he ponders whether the underlying cause that has changed the behavior of even docile pets into violent aggressors could be some form of modern day technology sending out “signals”.

He heads to Africa to test his HAC theory, but upon arrival male lions charge at his vehicle with him inside. Barely escaping, Oz rescues ecologist Chloe Tousignant from dozens of attacking alligators. The two scientists try to warn the world, but leaders choose self-preservation proclaiming Oz to be a nutcase with a wacko concept. As Oz and Chloe continue their research, he modifies his theory to include animals working as a cohesive assault unit propelled by industrialization; concluding with mankind will become the hunted if radical changes don’t occur now.

After a slow unnecessary early interlude in the sack and throughout too much explanation rather than action, the environmental premise with its deniers makes for an engaging save mankind in spite of itself thriller. Oz comes across as brilliant but fickle while Chloe is never developed beyond being an adulating sexual sidekick for the hero to love and rescue. Overall Zoo is an entertaining tale that could have been a great cautionary parable.

Harriet Klausner

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