Five Star, Apr 7 2010, $25.95
He was distracted by the blood he saw his mom cough up while attending a racing horse at Arlington. Not paying enough attention to his patient, promising veterinarian student Frank Winter takes a kick to the left side of his head leaving him with brain damage and ending his career. Frank still owes his college debts to Castellari who has plans for him to make remittance.
Sergio and Guilio abduct Frank and Red for a horse doping that ended up on the news when the steed died. The boss of the two thugs Castellari does not like public mistakes so they must pay. They are dumped at a zoo for circus animal throwaways. There the felons toss Frank into an alligator tank, but he escapes with the help of a lion. He flees, ending up in Whitewood, California where he meets the town monarch Horace Sturm who is dying, like his fiefdom. Horace persuades Frank they can make money while humanely dispatching the starving zoo animals with safari hunts.
Pulling no punches Jeff Jacobson hammers at the hunting for sport community and at animal abuse, abandonment and neglect with a tale that Sam Peckinpah would have loved to film. The vivid in red story line is fast-paced from the moment that Castellari’s thugs arrange a visit to the zoo for Frank. Aptly named as the animals are in the ooze below the Foodchain, readers who enjoy plenty of guts, blood and gore will join Frank on his joy ride; those who prefer cozies will want to pass.