By Gin Phillips
Penguin Books, 9780735224520, July 2018, 288pp.
The Short of It:
A tense, gripping story about a woman and her young son fighting to stay alive during an active shooting situation at the zoo.
The Rest of It:
After a lovely day at the zoo, Joan and her four-year-old son Lincoln, slowly make their way to the exit when shots ring out. At first, the sounds do not make any sense. Fireworks? At the zoo? At the end of the day? As Lincoln chatters away, Joan sees the first body. She’s barely had time to process what’s she’s seen before she is picking Lincoln up and running for their lives.
This book will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. I chose it for my birthday read but it was far from relaxing! Phillips does an awesome job of setting the scene. It’s the zoo, after all and while reading I could “see” all of the animals, the foliage, the enclosures and I could “smell” everything too. I was right there with Joan and Lincoln and let me tell you, it was like I was living it myself.
The entire book is Joan and her son trying to survive. As you can imagine, keeping a four-year-old entertained and quiet is hard on any day but when you are trapped in an enclosure and every sound could give you away, finding ways to keep your son happy becomes a priority. Lincoln is a great kid but he gets hungry, thirsty and needs to go to the bathroom. He doesn’t understand what is going on or why they have to hide even though he’s clear who the bad guys are. It’s all an adventure to him but for Joan, she is beside herself with worry. Will they make it out alive?
I really enjoyed this book. It gave me such anxiety to read it but I read it in one sitting and it just seemed so authentically written. The mom stuff, the kid stuff, and the setting. With so few characters, I’m sure the challenge was how to keep it going but Phillips did.
If you want to spend a few hours totally riveted, then pick up a copy of Fierce Kingdom. It’s been picked up for a movie adaptation too.
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