LOS ANGELES ZOO
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA
LOCATED IN GRIFFITH Park, a four-thousand-acre stretch of land featuring two eighteen-hole golf courses, the Autry National Center, and the HOLLYWOOD sign, the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is more of a run-down tourist attraction than a wildlife conservation facility.
Funded by fickle city budgets, the zoo resembles nothing more than a tired state fair. Garbage cans along its bleached concrete promenade spill over. It is not uncommon to catch the stench of heaped dung wafting from cages where ragged animals lie blank-eyed, fly-speckled, and motionless beneath the relentless California sun.
To the northeast of the entrance gate, the lion enclosure is ringed by a slime-coated concrete moat. Once—if you squinted, hard—it might have resembled a small scrap of the Serengeti. But these days, undermaintained, underfunded, and understaffed, it looks only like what it is: a concrete pen filled with packed dirt and bracketed by fake grass and plastic trees.
By 8:05 in the morning it is already hot in the seemingly empty enclosure. The only sound is a slight rustling as something dark and snakelike sways slowly back and forth through a tuft of the tall fake grass. The sound and motion stop. Then, fifty feet to the south, something big streaks out from behind a plywood boulder.
Head steady, pale yellow eyes gleaming, Mosa, the Los Angeles Zoo’s female lion, crosses the enclosure toward the movement in the grass with breathtaking speed. But instead of leaping into the grass, at the last fraction of a moment she flies into a tumble. Dust rises as she barrel-rolls around on her back and then up onto her paws.
Lying deep in the grass is Dominick, Mosa’s mate and the dominant male of the zoo’s two Transvaal lions, from southeast Africa. Older than Mosa, he shakes his regal reddish mane and gives her a cold stare. As has been the case more and more over the last few weeks, he is tense, watchful, in no mood for games. He blinks once, briefly, and goes back to flicking his tail through the high blades of grass.
Mosa glances at him, then toward the rear fence, at the big rubber exercise ball she was recently given by one of the keepers. Finally, ignoring the ball, she slowly leans forward to nuzzle Dominick’s mane, giving him an apologetic, deferential social lick as she passes.
Mosa cleans the dusty pads of her huge paws as the large cats lie together under the blaring-blue California sky. If there is an indication this morning of something being amiss, it is not in what the lions are doing, but in what they aren’t.
For lions as for other social mammals, vocalizations play a major role in communication. Lions make sounds to engage in sexual competition, to compete in territorial disputes, and to coordinate defense against predators.
Mosa and Dominick have become less and less vocal over the past two weeks. Now they are all but silent.
Both lions smell the keeper well before they hear him jingle the chain-link fence a hundred and fifty feet to their rear. As the human scent strikes their nostrils, the lions react in a way they never have before. They both stand. Their tails stiffen. Their ears cock forward as their fur bristles noticeably along their backs.
Reprinted from the book Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York, N.Y. All rights reserved.
After a murderous attack at the Los Angeles Zoo, young evolutionary biologist Jackson Oz is convinced his findings are correct: Animal attacks on humans are rising at an alarming rate. Thus far, convincing the powers that be has been to no avail. Jackson finds out just how true his contention is when he travels to Africa and observes the aftermath of a massacre by lions that is not only unprecedented but also terrifying in its ferocity. Oz’s only ally is Chloe Tousignant, a French ecologist and witness to the carnage whom he rescues from an assault by crocodiles! How can they make the leaders of the world believe in the encroaching danger?
When Oz and Chloe arrive back in New York they’re horrified to see dogs hunting in packs…rats striking out on city streets…and gentle pets turned into predators whose reliance on cunning and apparent planning have humans on the run. Unfortunately there’s no place to hide. Will Oz and Chloe discover what’s causing this descent into madness before it’s too late?
James Patterson’s unputdownable, white-knuckle tales have made him a living legend. This book surpasses them all. Zoo is the thriller Patterson was born to write.
Hardcover Book : 416 pages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group, USA ( September 03, 2012 )
Item #: 13-492319
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.94inches
Product Weight: 15.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
MR. PATTERSON - STUNNED THAT YOU PUT YOUR NAME ON THIS PIECE OF GARBAGE. TERRIBLE ENDING. NOT YOUR USUAL EXCELLENT READ.
Great book,gets you to thinking about the future.
James Patterson has "never" disappointed me with his books. His plots are intriguing and always keep you coming back for more. Keeps you on hanging on to the very end, I have never been able to stop reading till I finish the book, it usually only takes me just a few hours unless the grand baby wants to play, then it is by end of the day, but never before I go to bed.
How does Patterson do it? He actually writes faster than the average human can read.I know he uses a writing team, but does he just put his name on the team's work? A new Patterson novel comes out every week.This one was very entertaining which is all anyone asks of good fiction , but I ask again, how does the man do it?,
I am new to James Patterson books i have read about 5 I thought it was a good book
Reviewer: Tammy G