Fierce Kingdom (Hardcover)
As the cool air of autumn rushes over the mountains into our valley and heralds the coming of Halloween, many of us are looking for the perfect suspense/thriller novel to curl up with. "Fierce Kingdom" by Gin Phillips is the book I recommend to fill that need. It is a heartrending story of a mother and her young son trapped in a zoo with crazed, meticulous shooters.
That's right, a plot out of most people's worst nightmares. The monsters in this book don't lurk behind the doorways of your childhood imagination, but in the crevices of your brain that hold your biggest fears. They are the perfect villains because they are possible and visceral. They come for you even when you are enjoying a nice day in a public space, such as the zoo.
The beginning and the end of this book will grab you and refuse to let go. If you have children this book will especially take hold of you. Once you are trapped in the zoo with this mother and her four year old son you will want to read quickly, so that you can try to escape the madness yourself.
For days after reading this book, questions of "What would I do?" will run through your mind. There is the ethical, good answer, and then there are the answers that haunt you at night as you think about your own survival in a situation similar to this. The author deals with all of these options, which makes the psychological aspect of this novel as stimulating as the terror.
The writing style itself is not sacrificed for the sake of the genre. The fast current of the paragraphs pulling the heroine towards the impending end will occasionally dip you in a hot spring of mental instability on the part of the antagonist.
There are even momentary breaks allowing you to come up for air as the author takes the reader into sweet familial moments. But very, very small breaks that only heighten your concern for these suffering characters.
Phillips masterfully plays through the minds of both the victims and the shooter. So well, in fact, that you may find yourself caring for the villain, though you don't want to.
I have no qualms about recommending this book as it is now a new favorite. It has raised the bar on suspense writing that I will accept as thrilling. But be warned: Not even the very last sentence is truly safe.— From Book review: ‘Fierce Kingdom’ by Gin Phillips is thrilling suspense novel perfect for Halloween
August 2017 Indie Next List
“Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, are just about to conclude a day at the zoo when Joan notices an unnatural stillness and a lack of other people. She hears sounds, loud popping noises, and cannot quite determine what they might be. Then she notices the bodies. How quickly life shifts from a dream to a nightmare. She shushes Lincoln and hurries away, back into the zoo she knows so well, intent on finding a hiding spot until help arrives. This is an absolutely gripping exploration of what it is like to be hunted, to be trapped and awaiting rescue but still able to connect, with cell phone glimpses, to that other life that now seems so tenuous in the midst of real danger.”
— Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR
One of the New York Times Book Review's Best Crime Novels of 2017 "Warning: you'll finish this in one sitting." --TheSkimm "Expertly made thriller . . . clever and irresistible." --The New York Times An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she'll go to protect him. The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours--the entire scope of the novel--she keeps on running. Joan's intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself--the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines--is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger. A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself--from its tender moments of grace to its savage power--Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?
About the Author
Gin Phillips is the award-winning author of The Well and the Mine and Come In and Cover Me. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family.