A one-time veterinarian descends into a maelstrom of violence and grim ethical dilemmas.
A kick in the head by a horse ruined Frank Winter’s budding veterinary career. Then a doping mistake at the track leads two quiet men to haul him off to a remote zoo full of castoff circus animals. Thrown into a tank of alligators, he escapes with the help of a starving lion. After carelessly killing a trucker, Frank stops for gas in a dying town near the California border, meets Horace Sturm, who virtually owns the town, and pitches him the idea of taking in the zoo animals and arranging to have people pay large fees to hunt them. Sturm, whose brain tumor makes his sanity questionable, is a ruthless businessman who takes Frank’s idea one step further. Frank ends up taking care of the animals, who must be kept in good enough shape to hunt, and after the original animals are killed, Sturm sends his minions off to collect unwanted former pet lions and other exotics and builds up a profitable business in hunting and animal fighting. The evil business spirals out of control, putting Frank in another precarious position.
Jacobson trenchantly denounces the substandard treatment of animals and the questionable practice of paying to hunt captive animals in a debut packed with relentless scenes of death and torture. Sensitive readers beware.