Book review: Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.


James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge – Zoo (2012, Little, Brown and Company, New York)

All of the animals on the planet Earth have suddenly and inexplicably turned into bloodthirsty monsters out for human flesh in this fast, furrious (see what I did there?), and frequently gratuitously gory read from James Patterson.  This is actually the first Patterson book I’ve read (he has about a trillion titles so I don’t know how I managed to miss him so far) and I admit, I chose it because the plotline reminded me of something Michael Crichton would have come up with.  The story is largely formulaic, which I anticipated: we have our wisecracking, slightly irritating (first person) narrator-hero, Jackson Oz, a young biologist possessing a simultaneous lack of credibility and insight no one else seems to possess…that is, until he rescues beautiful ecologist Chloe Tousignant in Africa and the two band together to try to warn mankind.  When things go very, very sideways, it’s up to Oz to try to save the world.  The conclusion might be disappointing to some, but offers an interesting commentary on our high-tech society.  Zoo is an easy, quick read and reasonably entertaining, as long as your expectations are not too high.

There is, of course, a television show based on this book, and no, I haven’t had a chance to watch any episodes yet.  (If you have and you enjoy it – or if you can’t stand it! – let me know in the comments).

12 thoughts on “Book review: Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.

  1. We watched the first season of Zoo, and really liked it, even though it shares many of the same characteristics as you described in your review. However, for us, the second season ran out of air, and we only watched one or two episodes.

    • I can definitely see that the premise would rankle some readers! Political, absolutely, and pretty silly, too…. Did you enjoy any of his other books? I feel like I ought to give him another go, maybe one of his mysteries or thrillers instead.

      • So here’s the thing. Yes, I used to LOVE his stuff. But the problem for me really is that he is just a mass marketer. He truly doesn’t even write his stuff. You can see it on all of his books “By James Patterson and…” He gives the other person an outline and they do it. Alex Cross is a great character. The Women’s Club is fun, too. But when he publishes 6 of those a year, you just can’t keep up. Certainly whatever he is doing is working and I don’t begrudge him anything, but if I want to sit and read a good book, he is just not my guy. There are others I love 100x more. Not to mention, just going to the library, and looking through the stacks is one of my little pleasures. You never know what you will find by just judging them by their covers. I have read one or 2 by the folks he writes with and they have been good.

        • Yes, I totally agree with you on all of these counts! I am going to give a couple of the Alex Cross books a shot as others have recommended them to me as well, so we’ll see how I feel after I’ve completed them. As you say, there are so many gems out there, waiting to be discovered…. Thanks so much for your comments, I love to hear from enthusiastic readers! (And I’m delighted that you browse the stacks at the library – I work in a public library and I’m seeing a trend where fewer people actually browse…they tend to place an item on hold and just pop in to pick it up. It’s likely due to a shortage of time. At least everyone is still reading, one way or the other!).

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