FEAR NO EVIL by John Gordon Davis


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Another loud, ineffectual Message novel from the author of Leviathan (1976), this time pleading the cause of zoo and circus animals. One night charismatic Davey Jordan, with help from Cherokee Big Charlie Buffalohorn, kidnaps a bunch of animals from the Madison Square Garden circus and the Bronx Zoo--and trucks them to Arkansas, where he hopes to release them into the wilds. But along the way the trucks are forced into the woods, so Davey, with wolf-dog Sam, begins leading the animals by foot along the Appalachian Trail. Gunless, he can't feed them; the big cats are too dumb or tame to hunt for themselves. And then vet Elizabeth Johnson of the Bronx Zoo arrives with predictable bad news: ""The police are after you, I tell you. And the hunters--you know what they're like. You'll be shot to ribbons!"" Thus, the whole menagerie eventually charges a police barricade, with Davey riding on the back of Rajah the elephant: some animals are wounded; Davey tells the beasts he's sorry (""He wanted to shout his fury to the heavens""); he mercy-kills Daisy the chimp. And when Operation Noah is mounted to recapture the animals, members of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth start gathering in protest--but all ends disastrously, bloodily, accompanied by heaven-storming sobs, with only a few bears allowed to remain at large. Mawkish, counter-productive breastbeating: the animals deserve better--and so do readers. (See Durrell, below, by way of contrast.)

Pub Date: May 20th, 1982
Publisher: Macmillan