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Patrick's son Charlie has left home in disgrace. His zoologist wife Jane is on a field trip in Zaire and his daughter Jo is engrossed in her studies. So Patrick is left alone to look after the ailing Devonshire monkey sanctuary that he and Jane took on in a bid to save their marriage. Alone, that is, but for the big, panther-like cat that preys around the park, evading capture, lurking in the shadows and in the back of Patrick's mind as he tries to uncover the truth behind the murder of their oldest female primate. Patrick's fears begin to fade. But then one night something happens that is so shocking, so deplorable, that it rips apart everything he ever held to be true - and unleashes a horror he could never have imagined...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781416522799
ISBN-10: 1416522794
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Pocket Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: 1-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United States

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Natural History


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Book Review: Natural History by Neil Cross - Reviewed by (10 Mar 2012)

I was first introduced to Neil Cross when I read Burial a couple of years ago. His writing is raw, dark and gripping. In Natural History I found his writing even more disturbing.

Patrick, his wife Jane and their children Charlie and Jo have settled in Devon after buying a monkey sanctuary. We become part of their daily lives and their struggle to care for the animals in this failing park while trying to navigate their place in each other's different worlds.

There is an undercurrent throughout this novel that is unsettling and predicating that something terrible is going to happen. The climax of the story is violence that is so inexplicable and the reader is left struggling to understand where it came from.

This is not an enjoyable read, but you are compelled to continue to find out what becomes of the members of this dysfunctional family and if they do end up saving the monkey sanctuary.

Natural History is akin to a movie where the characters have not been explored fully and you are left wondering why they are like they are and why they make the choices they do. And at the end of the story the reader is left feeling slightly empty and confused.


Author Biography - Neil Cross

Neil Cross is the author of several novels including Always the Sun and Burial, as well as the bestselling memoir Heartland. He has been lead scriptwriter for the two most recent seasons of the acclaimed BBC spy drama series Spooks and continues to write widely for the screen.

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