I was sent a complimentary copy of this novel by the author in exchange for an honest review. That fact of course didn’t influence my opinion at all.
In the Zone, one of worst districts of an unspecified American city, people find a bloodied torso of a homeless man. It seems he’s fallen prey to an entire pack of very vicious and very hungry animals – most likely dogs. Still were real dogs responsible for this killing? Soon enough another victim is found in the vicinity – this time a woman. It becomes clear something really dangerous is lurking in the shadows of the Zone.
Karen Bannister has been down on her luck for about a year since the tragic death of her boyfriend. She is a social worker employed in a homeless shelter and when one of the children goes missing she decides to go to the Zone and search for the boy. As she searches for him she comes across something terrifying, and unbelievable – a partially consumed body of a homeless woman. With the help of a local reporter and some cops she tries to figure out what is really going on. Will they manage to find out what is really happening? Will anyone believe them?
What I liked:
Although the cover art is a bit spoiler-ish (lovely but still), I wasn’t sure what direction will the plot take and I was pleasantly surprised: it wasn’t the most obvious route. It is a huge advantage of a thriller: being different than bazillion of similar stories being published every week. Once again I praise this author for finding a fresh batch of characters, both male and female. No, they don’t fall in love and no, they don’t look for a new love interest. They want to solve a puzzle, a very dangerous puzzle to boot, and make their home town a bit safer – a sentiment every sensible city dweller would share.
I also was pleased that the main baddie was given some humane feelings. When I come to think about it he wasn’t actually a baddie at all. Is a predator guilty of killing in order to feed his/her young and him/herself? If only Mr. Doyle developed that line of thinking he would make his novel truly unique and fascinating. Uh oh. I’ve already started complaining – time to move to the next section.
What I didn’t like:
I might carp here about different details like a bit dragging ending, misplaced commas and other punctuation marks which I managed to spot but, to be honest, I don’t feel like it. Let me focus on the main issue that bothered me and ask a question instead. One simple question: how come? How you can turn a child of one species into a young of another species? Is it doable at all without some serious, DNA-altering magic? Where was the magic exactly – I mean where was its source or whatever that caused it? I was waiting for the author to patch that big, gaping world build hole and answer that question. In vain. Perhaps it will be included in the sequel, because the ending was constructed in such a way that a sequel is very probable.
An interesting thriller but also one which could do with a tighter, more logical, better thought-out premise. Still I read it quickly and with obvious pleasure.