CLAW by Ken Eulo


Email this review


 This tale of a tiger on the loose takes a slash at modern society's coldness toward the animal kingdom. One night in the Los Angeles Zoo, a tiger named Rajah leaps 20 feet to rip one of his keepers to shreds. The community demands Rajah's removal or death. Police lieutenant Dragleman suspects that someone murdered the keeper and then threw her into the tiger's pit. Meg Brewster, the zoo's head veterinarian, decides that a chemical imbalance must have caused the tiger's brutality. When Larry Shindler, a physical anthropologist, examines Rajah's blood, he finds swarms of malevolent microbes whose presence helps to explain the tiger's behavior. As Shindler is on the verge of discovering that unknown scientists had performed covert neurological experiments on Rajah, someone kills the anthropologist, making it look like suicide. Meanwhile, crowds visit Rajah's cage, eager to see the killer tiger. On one busy day, the cat breaks free, injures several onlookers, and escapes into the wilderness. Dragleman then receives a call from an unnamed source revealing the truth about Shindler's death. Brewster learns that the experiments on Rajah have backfired, and everyone involved has chosen to ignore the mistake. Along with a team that includes (unbelievably) her ex-husband, the veterinarian searches for Rajah for several days. Finally, Brewster's troupe has a showdown with the tiger and the evil scientists. The book ends with Rajah's return to China, the land of his ancestors. Eulo (The Brownstone, not reviewed) and first-time novelist Mauck would have enhanced their animal-rights theme if they had lengthened the sections written from the tiger's point of view. Despite inconsistencies and an inconclusive climax, this humane thriller is both touching and exciting, thanks to snappy dialogue and heart-stopping action.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-671-79963-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1994