I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
When the penguin keeper is found dead at the bottom of the penguin pool, zookeeper Madigan Amos is determined to find out what happened to him… even if it means apprehending armed intruders, getting caught in the middle of a terrorist attack, and sparring with a machete wielding murderer.
The police struggle to conclude whether or not the death was accidental, but it’s not the only recent, unexplained happening at Avery Zoo. Since the tragic, avoidable death of a serval, animal rights activists have plagued the zoo. Activists with a reputation for extremism. Do they have something to do with the penguin keeper’s demise?
Madi also has her suspicions about two new zoo employees, but what exactly do they have to do with the goings on? Are they activist spies, or do they have their own scores to settle?
I read this book to fill the Amateur Sleuth square of my 2019 Halloween Bingo Card.
I couldn’t resist buying this book--it had too many things that were irresistible. Penguins, my favourite birds. A zoo setting, when I volunteered in the education department of my local zoo for 17 years. A mystery, and me a fan of that genre. I wasn’t expecting wondrous things, which is good, because this was a serviceable little cozy mystery, but nothing exceptional.
I lent it to a zoo friend, for whom it was a “meh” experience. He is a retired penguin keeper, so maybe he didn’t appreciate that this book’s penguin keeper ended up at the bottom of the pool during the first few pages of the novel. I thought that the author did a pretty fair job of showing the kind of politics and personal interactions that complicate the zoo workplace. She was probably a little kind though. It’s the people who are the vicious ones in the zoo world (but don’t go in with the bears or big cats anyway). The things she was realistic about? The people who put their children right into harm’s way, seemingly not realizing the dangers.
One thing I give full marks for is the beautiful cover. I love it.