Zoo City

Lauren Beukes
Lauren Beukes, Angry Robot (www.angryrobotbooks.com), $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 9780875660558
Reviewed on: 09/20/2010
Release date: 00/00/0000
In Beukes's riveting parallel world, those who cause someone's death are both blessed and cursed with companion animals who mark them as killers while giving them special powers. In a run-down slum in Johannesburg, journalist and former addict Zinzi December uses the power provided by her Sloth to find lost objects, supplementing her meager income by running 419 scams. When a rich client is murdered, Zinzi is drawn into an investigation that involves teen pop stars, sleazy record producers, and ethics-challenged newspapermen. ; IMDB listings, newspaper articles, and book excerpts quickly establish how much (or little) this alternate universe is different from ours. Zinzi herself narrates with a hard-boiled voice that glides easily between resigned despair and hope as her case and her personal life (including her relationship with her animaled lover, BenoƮt) intertwine. Beukes (Moxyland) delivers a thrill ride that gleefully merges narrative styles and tropes, almost single-handedly pulling the "urban fantasy" subgenre back towards its groundbreaking roots. (Jan.)
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