Set in a world where murderers and other criminals acquire magical animals that are mystically bonded to them, Lauren Beukes's Arthur C Clarke Award-winning novel "delivers a thrill ride that gleefully merges narrative styles" (Publishers Weekly).
Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty 419 scam habit, and a talent for finding lost things. When a little old lady turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, Zinzi's forced to take on her least favorite kind of job--missing persons.
Being hired by reclusive music producer Odi Huron to find a teenybop pop star should be her ticket out of Zoo City, the festering slum where the criminal underclass and their animal companions live in the shadow of hell's undertow. Instead, it catapults Zinzi deeper into the maw of a city twisted by crime and magic, where she'll be forced to confront the dark secrets of former lives--including her own.
In Beukes's riveting parallel world, those who cause someone's death are both blessed and cursed with companion animals who mark them as killers while giving them special powers. In a run-down slum in Johannesburg, journalist and former addict Zinzi December uses the power provided by her Sloth to find lost objects, supplementing her meager income by running 419 scams. When a rich client is murdered, Zinzi is drawn into an investigation that involves teen pop stars, sleazy record producers, and ethics-challenged newspapermen. ; IMDB listings, newspaper articles, and book excerpts quickly establish how much (or little) this alternate universe is different from ours. Zinzi herself narrates with a hard-boiled voice that glides easily between resigned despair and hope as her case and her personal life (including her relationship with her animaled lover, Beno t) intertwine. Beukes (Moxyland) delivers a thrill ride that gleefully merges narrative styles and tropes, almost single-handedly pulling the "urban fantasy" subgenre back towards its groundbreaking roots.