This was my August Book of the Month pick. Three hours of being in panic mode.
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy and everything seems perfect. She hustles to leave as it is almost closing time, but as she reaches the exit, she hears noises and notices dead bodies on the ground. With her child in her arms, she sprints back into the zoo. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running. Joan is forced to hide with her son to keep them safe while figuring out how to escape!
“That is what you do when you have a child, isn’t it, open yourself up to unimaginable pain and then try to pretend away the possibilities.”
In this very straight-forward thriller, we are forced to endure a terrifying and intense three hours in a zoo that’s full of unexpected danger. As the events unfold for Joan and her adorable four-year-old son, the reader, and our protagonists, are left completely blind to what is happening around them. All the while, we hear little Lincoln’s voice in our heads, admiring his mother for keeping him quiet without undue distress. Phillips does an excellent job injecting these characters with artistry, relatability and realism, which in turn makes this a powerful novel.
The story is mostly written from Joan and Lincoln’s point of view, but there are chapters written from the perspective of the antagonists and other victims. There is intense violence (against humans and animals alike) so be warned if that is an issue for you. Otherwise, it is this violence, combined with the dialogue that can get into your head and create a feeling of panic. Additionally, the fact that the story is written in real-time, even down to the minute, contributes to the level of intensity and emotion. It also fuels the feeling of the stretching of time, which often occurs in life-threatening situations.
Overall, I thought this story was very unique and well written. It is a book you can EASILY read in one sitting! I highly recommend it!
I rated this INTENSE book 4 / 5 stars!