Zoo City

Lauren Beukes, Angry Robot (www.angryrobotbooks.com), $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 9780875660558
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.)
Reviewed on: 09/20/2010
Release date: 00/00/0000
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