Book review: Zoo 2 is fast and fierce


2016 thriller novella cover

Clever scenes, exotic locations, and, for an animals-attack thriller, nothing too over the top.

James Patterson’s Zoo 2, which Patterson and his marketers call a “bookshot” is actually a novella and a sequel to the longer 2012 novel, Zoo.  It picks up where the original left off, with intrepid, un-credentialed scientist Jackson Oz and his family in Greenland taking refuge from the resurgence in animal attacks ongoing in the U.S. and other temperate regions.

The President summons Jackson back into action.  Jackson decides to leave his wife Chloe at her parents’ home in France while he goes to research the possible spread of aggressive behavior from animals into isolated human cases.  Some readers don’t seem to like the concept that “humans are evolving” in this sequel.  There is a ‘feral human’ story line, and it worked for me!  The dangerous human theme doesn’t go overboard into full zombie apocalypse mode, but it’s a serious enough threat that it changes the dynamics from the original Zoo book or the “Zoo” TV series. If this sequel had only been another series of animal attacks, it probably would have unsatisfying, boring, or both. The feral human angle gave it an extra dose of horror.

Zoo 2 is well-written—a step-up in professionalism compared to some other monster novels out there.  (This may be thanks to Patterson’s co-writer, Max DiLallo.) The shorter novella platform was just right for the subject matter and for me. A quicker read than the original Zoo with fewer hokey set-ups.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book is something that happens early on at Chloe’s home in Paris.  Let’s just say that two people end up dead, when killing off one character would have worked just as well.  Especially considering that Chloe didn’t seem to be that upset—you think she’d have been devastated, possibly for the rest of the book.

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