A teen-ager fights to save his self-respect--as well as the big cats that someone is shooting in the dead of night. Ben's celebrity parents are off in Africa, leaving him to care for the 90 or so tigers, lions, leopards, and cheetahs at a southern California wildlife research center. Aware that he doesn't have his parents' brilliance, Ben is uneasy at being left in charge--even before his competent foreman is hospitalized following a traffic accident. Then Ben begins to find animals that he's loved for years shot dead; and his parents suddenly drop from sight. But Ben rises to the occasion--taking protective measures and acting with intelligence and authority as the tension winds tighter with each additional death. Surprisingly, the sniper is not Ben's bullying, hostile neighbor, but a man from his father's past, insanely bent on revenge. The sniper's meek surrender to police seems a bit anticlimactic, yet it will keep readers focused on Ben's inner trials and triumph. A satisfying, suspenseful story, with plenty of authentic, intriguing detail about big game.