THE CHILDREN'S ZOO by Lillian O'Donnell

THE CHILDREN'S ZOO

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

New York cop Norah Mulcahaney is back, in typically readable form, but this time O'Donnell seems more interested in dramatizing a social issue--the too-lenient treatment of teenage criminals--than in providing much in the way of mystery. Thus, a few chapters into the book, it's made fairly clear that a group of psycho-kids (not under-privileged) is responsible for a series of thrill-killings--at the Central Park Zoo (the animals and a guard) and in a fancy hi-rise (an aged, famed musician; a mother and daughter). Meanwhile, too, the teenage niece of Norah's cop husband Joe is raped with a bottle by her classmates. ""Rich kids are out for kicks same as poor kids"" is the idea, but O'Donnell lays it on a bit too thick here, with sketchy family histories that hardly explain the rampant sociopathic behavior going on. Still, there's some solid action-suspense in Norah's showdown with one of the knife-wielding kids (she gets nothing but trouble for shooting in self-defense). And there's a bit of deduction when Norah--who must battle red tape and police corruption--figures out which of the kids is the mastermind, setting a trap for him. Well-paced and occasionally scary in its violence, then, but somewhat overdone in its message and short on traditional-mystery satisfaction.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1981
Publisher: Putnam