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Friday, September 28, 2012


Book reads like a script for a Hollywood blockbuster movie. (Review by Keith Millar)

Celebrated author James Patterson is regarded as the world’s bestselling thriller writer. Zoo is another offering in this genre and, as such, may be enjoyed by readers of this sort of escapist literature.

The world is facing a human induced ecological collapse. Something has caused a change in instinctive behaviour of animals. All over the world there are co-ordinated attacks on humans by both wild and domestic animals.

A young biologist, Jackson Oz, has been monitoring these attacks for some time and is getting increasingly concerned at this global paradigm shift. However, the mainstream scientific world regard him as a bit of a crank and have little interest in his theory which he calls HAC (Human Animal Conflict).

When he witnesses - and survives - a mass lion attack on a safari camp in Botswana, the enormity of the impending disaster becomes terrifyingly clear.

Together with French ecologist Chloe Tousignaut, who he meets and marries along the way, he tries to persuade the world leaders of the ramifications of what is happening, and what course of action to take. And all the while gruesome attacks by tigers, dogs, rats, bears, chimps and many other species are growing in cunning and ferocity. Soon there will be nowhere left for humans to exist.

The story moves along at a cracking pace and in many ways reads like a script for a Hollywood blockbuster movie. The characters are rather one-dimensional and it is easy to see an action movie star such as Brad Pitt in the role of Oz while Jessica Alba, for example, would be perfect as his wife Chloe. There are also a host of roles for the usual bumbling White House officials, and intense army officers.

I have not read much of James Patterson but, judging by his fame and massive sales figures, I can only assume that this book is not up to his usual standard.

ZOO is co-written by one of James Patterson’s regular collaborators, Michael Ledwidge. The book is published by Century, 2012. ISBN 9781846058301 - and the recommended retail price is R215. – Keith Millar