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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

Book One | THE BEGINNING OF THE END

Chapter 4

I SAT BENT over in my chair for a few minutes of therapeutic seething. I listened to an uptown train blasting by my window, then a downtown one. Then I crossed the room, picked up the pad again, and went back to work.

HAC: Human-Animal Conflict. This was the theory I was working on.

Basically, it was my belief that all throughout the world, animal behavior was changing. Not for the better, either. Not even a little. On every continent, species after species was suddenly displaying hyperaggressive behavior toward one particular animal.

The enemy was us. You and me. People. Man, man.

The facts were undeniable. From Romania to Colombia, from the Pyrenees to the Rockies, from St. Louis to Sri Lanka, there’d been an exponential increase in animal attacks on humans—by wild leopards, bears, wolves, boar, all kinds of different animals, you name it. In fact, the worldwide rate of wild animal attacks in the last four years was double the average of the previous fifty. For emphasis, I repeat: double.

It wasn’t just wild animals, either. In Australia, injuries from cats and dogs had swelled by 20 percent. In Beijing, it was 34 percent. In Britain, nearly four thousand people had needed hospital treatment for dog bites in the previous year.

For some reason I hadn’t pinned down yet, some kind of concerted transspecies evolutionary backlash against Homo sapiens was underway. Or, to put it in other terms, something was driving animals to go haywire, and the time to do something about it was running out quicker than the plastic wand supply at a Harry Potter convention.

I know how it sounds—wing-nut city. Different species of nonhuman animals working in some sort of collusion against humans. It’s absurd. Insane, impossible. I used to think it was a big, strange coincidence, too. Just lots and lots of totally unrelated, isolated incidents. Initially, it was just a goof among my colleagues that I’d started to track the phenomenon on my tongue-in-cheek blog, Man Against Nature.

I stopped laughing when I started looking at the evidence more closely. Nature, actually, was at war with man. And our side wasn’t even noticing.

The expression “between the devil and the deep blue sea” is a nautical one. The devil is what old sailors used to call the seam between two hard-to-reach planks on a ship. In order to caulk it, one had to be suspended from a plank held over the water. If you fell into the ocean, it was certain death. If you didn’t caulk the plank, the ship might sink. Either way was dangerous. Either way, you were screwed.

That’s exactly where I was now, out on a line, suspended between bad and worse. I felt like I was out there caulking the devil, hanging above the deep blue sea.

If I was wrong, I was crazy. If I was right, the world was doomed.

I’d been doing my best to get the word out, but was getting nowhere. I’d maxed out all my credit cards and those of several sympathetic relatives, speaking to anyone who would listen. My trip to Paris was for the purpose of attending an animal rights conference that I’d fibbed my way into in order to get some speaking time. I only got about halfway through before I was laughed off the stage.

No, people weren’t getting on board in the slightest. You’d be shocked and dismayed at the amount of intellectual intolerance directed at people who favor red lumberjack hats and wrinkled pajamas.

The L.A. zoo thing I’d just seen was the topper. The report had said that the cats had been born in captivity. Why would a pair of zoo lions one day just decide to start killing people and rampage through a city? Because there are two hundred channels and nothing is on? It didn’t make sense. Zoo lions don’t just go out berserking. There’s simply no reason for them to. Until now.

I speed-dialed my press agent to try to get on Fox. As usual, I got kicked immediately into voice mail. Even she thought I was nuts, and I paid her. Not a good sign.

After I recorded my latest plea to her, I decided to do the only thing I could think of. I plugged myself into my iPod and blasted some Motörhead to get some much-needed mental juices flowing. Help me, Lemmy. I slurped more Red Bull and tried to think while watching some more of the world’s unfunniest videos.

I sat up when Attila yanked my earbuds out.

“Yo, Attila,” I said. My roommate held out his hand for a low five. I gave it to him. “Look at this craziness. Every time I think things are going to calm down, the activity doubles. Sarah won’t call me back. Boy Who Cried Wolf, I feel your pain, you know?”

“Heeaagh! Heeaagh! Heeaagh!” said Attila.

Then he made a few panting hoots and scrambled into my lap and gave me a sloppy kiss and hairy-armed hug.

Attila, by the way, is a chimpanzee.

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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