LORD OF THE KILL by Theodore Taylor


Age Range: 11 - 13
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Light on plot, heavy on agenda, this sequel to The Sniper (1989) belabors readers with the author’s outrage over the illicit use of rare or exotic animals in “canned” hunts and Asian medicine. Taylor (Hello, Arctic, p. 1045, etc.) gets the ball rolling by plugging in elements from the previous tale. Once again, just as teenaged Ben Jepson’s high-profile animal-rights activist parents disappear while traveling in a remote corner of the world, and the foreman of their big-cat preserve in California is hospitalized leaving Ben in charge, the compound is attacked—this time by multiple enemies. First, Asian gangsters involved in tiger poaching drop the body of a young prostitute into the spotted leopards’ compound, then, after Ben takes time out from the ensuing investigation to blow the whistle on a ranch where discarded zoo animals are sold to would-be hunters, parties unknown contrive to whisk the preserve’s huge Siberian tiger away in the night. Breaking into italics, generally for no discernable reason, the author tells the tale tersely, hammering away at unscrupulous zoos and wild animal handlers in repetitive conversations or ruminations, and giving Ben a trail of convenient clues that lead, finally, to the kidnapped tiger, a second corpse, and an end from which strings dangle like carpet fringe. Taylor’s cause is a worthy one, but the perfunctory story onto which he loads it is a nonstarter. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-439-33725-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2002


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