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Zoo
Zoo
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316097446
$27.99/U.S.
416 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 0446571792
$15.00/U.S.
416 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Total

For 36 years, James Patterson has written unputdownable, pulse-racing novels. Now, he has written a book that surpasses all of them. ZOO is the thriller he was born to write.

World

All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear.

Destruction

With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it's too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide. With wildly inventive imagination and white-knuckle suspense that rivals Stephen King at his very best, James Patterson's ZOO is an epic, non-stop thrill-ride from "One of the best of the best." (TIME)

Zoo
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316097446
$27.99/U.S.
416 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 0446571792
$15.00/U.S.
416 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Prologue | IT'S ALL HAPPENING AT THE ZOO

One

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.

Like wolves, lions hunt and ambush in coordinated groups. The behavior the two display now shows their readiness for taking down prey.

Dominick moves out of the grass and into the clearing. Even for a male lion, he’s enormous—five hundred pounds, nearly nine feet long, and four and a half feet tall at the shoulder. The king of the jungle sniffs at the air and, catching the human scent again, moves toward it.

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Zoo
Fiction/General
Audiobook (Unabridged CD)
ISBN: 1607884631
$34.98/U.S.
Hachette Audio
Read by Jay Snyder

Jay Snyder has performed on Broadway and off Broadway, regional theater, television, film, and more recently has been working in the Voice Over industry. Having provided many voices for animation, video games, commercials, documentaries, and audio books, he has also greatly enjoyed directing audio for Hachette, Marvel, Disney, and ABC World News.

Zoo
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316097446
$27.99/U.S.
416 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 0446571792
$15.00/U.S.
416 pages
Grand Central Publishing

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