Patterson and Michael Ledwidge combine their considerable
talents to write Zoo, a can’t-put-it-down thriller
that is also a little bit science fiction and a lot horror.
It is the story of a change in our environment that causes
animals to behave in insect-like ways. Mammals are all affected,
except humans. A young scientist, Jackson Oz, has noted the
change, and has predicted that humans would be attacked by
animals in large numbers within the next few years. He has
been ridiculed for five long years, but he believes his data
will prove true.
Oz knows animals well enough to know that the chimpanzee he
rescued from a perfume testing lab, Attila, will eventually
be unmanageable and he won’t be able to keep him in
his apartment any more. But he didn’t think it would
be soon, because Attila was only five years old. This happened
to older chimpanzees.
Then, two lions escaped from a zoo in Loa Angeles, killing
the keeper that had cared for them for years. Dogs began to
run in packs, attacking people everywhere in well-planned
raids. Oz saw it in lions in Botswana, but there was something
strange about the attacks. They were carried out by male lions
in groups, and male lions are territorial creatures. The female
lions are the ones who work together to hunt for the pride,
because they are better hunters than the males. Something
was very wrong.
Zoo moves fast, with one crisis after another. Then,
the story moves ahead five years and continues its breakneck
speed. The characters are human, if a little different due
to their occupations. Narrator Jay Snyder does a great job
of making the story realistic. It’s one of the most
memorable plots I’ve ever read. Listen to Zoo
and note that even the sex and profanity are pretty minimal.
It’s a great story.