I was watching TV one day, and I saw the ad for the new series Zoo, based on the novel by James Patterson. My first two thoughts were “Oh my gosh that looks amazing!” and “Oh, I know that book. Not a huge James Patterson fan though...” . But, ever the intrepid armchair explorer, I decided to give Patterson a second chance and picked up this novel.
First off, to all you Patterson fans out there, I apologise. I read one book of his about 10 years ago, and it just didn't grab me. I've since been told by avid Patterfans (that's what I'm calling you now) that the book I chose wasn't his best, and I should give him another chance. Boy, were you right. As a fan of fast-paced thrillers, Zoo was right up my alley. Reminiscent of Michael Crichton, this novel is one of those thrillers based in reality, where at every turn you think to yourself “This really could happen”.
Imagine if nature suddenly backtracked a few millenia, to a time when humans weren't at the top of the food chain, and survival meant avoiding being someone else's dinner.
Biologist Jackson Oz has noticed something strange happening. Slowly but surely, animals are brutally turning against humans, in a massive widespread rebellion. Not only that, but they seem to be exhibiting unprecedented behavioural changes; for example, a hunting party of lions entirely composed of dozens of males, which Oz witnesses first hand on a research trip to Africa. From here, things get out of control quickly, and Oz must convince the government to act now before it's too late.
The pacing of this novel is fantastic. The scattered entries from the point of view of the animals is done incredibly well (where in the hands of a lesser author may have seemed trite), and keep you gripping your seat and internally yelling at humans for blindly stumbling into traps you now know are waiting for them.
This is a perfect quick holiday read – impossible to put down, and likely to stick with you long after turning the last page.