The grade-B horror movie of the '50s reincarnates in book form in this overly familiar but energetic collaboration between veteran paperback horror novelist Eulo ( The Bloodstone ) and screenwriter Mauck. At the L.A. zoo, Rajah, a huge Siberian tiger, is exhibiting unusually aggressive behavior that has led veterinarian Meg Brewster to set a special night watch for a clue to the animal's rages. Crisis hits when Rajah scales a 20-foot wall and drags a zookeeper down to his cave. Meg quarantines the cat, sends blood samples to her mentor, deals with the L.A. cops and fends off the press. Over her irate objections, however, her boss and the zoo board, in order to capitalize on the publicity, put Rajah back on view. Predictably, an excited crowd pushes loose a security rail and tumbles into the furious tiger's arena, from which he claws a bloody path to freedom in the 4000 acres of Griffith Park, sparking terror throughout the city and drawing cops and federal agents ordered to shoot to kill. Meg's fears for Rajah turn to suspicion when her bosses try to pin the cat's escape on her, the feds yank her files and samples and her mentor is killed after leaving a frantic phone message. Further events link the zoo and a top-secret scientific experiment, and it all culminates in a blood-spattered mountainside chase. There's not much here that will surprise veteran horror or thriller fans, but the authors stir their cliches briskly and milk their sleek juggernaut of muscle, teeth and claws for all it's worth. (July)
Eulo (House of Cain, Tor Bks., 1988) and screenwriter Mauck spin a taut, engrossing tale about Rajah, a giant Siberian tiger in the Los Angeles Zoo; at 700 pounds, he is the largest of his kind in the world. Rajah has been restless, so zoo vet Dr. Meg Brewster orders a close watch. At a late-night feeding, Rajah attacks and kills a young female zookeeper. He later escapes from the zoo and embarks on a killing spree to satisfy his growing hunger. In the meantime, Brewster, a strong and determined figure, races against time to figure out why Rajah has turned into a vicious killer with a near-human capacity to think. The answer lies in mysterious, government-sanctioned animal experimentation. This tale is perfect for late-night ``scare-yourself-silly'' sessions. Some graphically detailed scenes may bother the squeamish, but it is recommended where fast-paced suspense fiction is in demand. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/94.]-Dean James, Houston Acad. of Medicine/Texas Medical Ctr. Lib.