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A book review of ‘The Tiger Chase’ by Andrew McDermott

May 31, 2012

This  riveting g novel begins and ends in a China most of us thought was long past considering the great developmental strides that nation has achieved in just a few short years.  In Andrew McDermott’s  ‘ ‘The Tiger Chase’ there is a combination of an almost mythic China apparently untouched by the passage of millennia, along with the ruthless commercialism in that country and in the West that is destroying our disappearing Flora and fauna, and specifically in ‘The tiger Chase’, the vanishing tiger.

The story opens with the stalking by a local, disreputable Chinese poacher, of a rare wild tiger while the species is under severe threat, as it clearly is in the real world. Lee Chong wants to bag a tiger, make his fortune and even leave his wife. He does come upon one of the exceedingly rare tigers and gets wounded with a not unjust swipe of the tiger’s paws for his troubles.
The book then moves to the Minnesota Zoo where a vet named Beth Smith is engaged in conservation work. Beth is invited by the Chinese and American governments to partake in Species Survival Plan for the South China tiger. Amid rumours that the last tiger has been poached and killed, Beth signs up and the fast paced narrative really gets underway. She begins having prophetic dreams and then is drawn to Blue Tiger Mountain, a remote part of the Hunan provinces in China. Once there she learns from the cryptic guardian Huan Loh, that Beth is the reincarnation of the Yi Tigress and that she is destined to restore the balance of Ying and Yang by reuniting with the Yang dragon.
Beth goes back to Shanghai with a female tiger cub after its mother and the other cubs are killed by vicious male tiger. Here the Chinese people embrace the first wild tiger in thirty years and she is named Xiao Gong Zhu or Little Princess. Remarkably Beth gets permission from the chines government to take her, this rarest tiger in the world, to the LA Zoo and she names the tigress Zhu Zhu. The adorable tigress becomes a celebrity in media mad America, and a welcome iconic mascot for tiger conservation world- wide. Meanwhile gangster and drug dealer Tony Lee and partner in crime Raymond Brown, a killer from Hong Kong, covertly have an operation to bring the tiger to America and spirit it across the country.
A LAPD Detective named on John Dean is given the assignment of retrieving Zhu Zhu even though he claims to hate cats. He too had had a presentiment of these bizarre turn of events through a series of strange dreams.
Chased by the desperate and dangerous Lee and Brown 2000 miles across America, Detective Dean and Intrepid Vet Beth, take the 254 lb. tiger on a wild ride in the back of a station wagon. This leads to some odd and comic encounters that lighten the serious subtext of species survival. Some of the reactions to the gregarious beast are hilarious, such as when the parents of a young girl don’t believe her when she says she sees this massive, almost story book animal (she is holding the hot selling Little Princess tiger doll while this happens) in the back of the car.
I won’t spoil if by revealing the end yet suffice to say there is some real, credible crime genre action when a show down finally happens between the pursued and the pursuers. Happily, the future of tigers brightens at the individual, local and global levels, even if the struggle for their preservation is a work in progress as acknowledged by the author Andrew McDermott.
I found the novel enthralling and original and the laudable fact there is a genuine subtext of concern about the catastrophic plight of these animals hunted for their alleged medicinal and other properties. As recounted in ‘The Tiger Chase’ this insane drive to bag every last specimen of tiger, is really about status greed and money and so even intervention at the individual level is important enough to make a difference.

iveting g novel begins and ends in a China most of us thought was long past considering the great developmental strides that nation has achieved in just a few short years. There is a combination of an almost mythic China apparently untouched by the passage of millennia, along with the ruthless commercialism in that country and in the West that is destroying our disappearing Flora and fauna, and specifically in ‘The tiger Chase’ the disappearing tiger. The story opens with the stalking by a local poacher, of a rare wild tiger while the species is under severe threat as it is in the real world. Lee Chong wants to bag a tiger, make his fortune and even leave his wife. He does come upon one of the exceedingly rare tigers and gets wounded with a not unjust swipe of the tiger’s paws for his troubles.
The book then moves to the Minnesota Zoo where a vet named Beth Smith is engaged in conservation work. Beth is invited by the Chinese and American governments to partake in Species Survival Plan for the South China tiger. Amid rumours that the last tiger has been poached and killed, Beth signs up and the fast paced narrative really gets underway. She begins having prophetic dreams and then is drawn to Blue Tiger Mountain, a remote part of the Hunan provinces in China. Once there she learns from the cryptic guardian Huan Loh, that Beth is the reincarnation of the Yi Tigress and that she is destined to restore the balance of Ying and Yang by reuniting with the Yang dragon.
Beth goes back to Shanghai with a female tiger cub after its mother and the other cubs are killed by vicious male tiger. Here the Chinese people embrace the first wild tiger in thirty years and she is named Xiao Gong Zhu or Little Princess. Remarkably Beth gets permission from the chines government to take her, this rarest tiger in the world, to the LA Zoo and she names the tigress Zhu Zhu. The adorable tigress becomes a celebrity in media mad America, and a welcome iconic mascot for tiger conservation world- wide. Meanwhile gangster and drug dealer Tony Lee and partner in crime Raymond Brown, a killer from Hong Kong, covertly have an operation to bring the tiger to America and spirit it across the country.
A LAPD Detective named on John Dean is given the assignment of retrieving Zhu Zhu even though he claims to hate cats. He too had had a presentiment of these bizarre turn of events through a series of strange dreams.
Chased by the desperate and dangerous Lee and Brown 2000 miles across America, Detective Dean and Intrepid Vet Beth, take the 254 lb. tiger on a wild ride in the back of a station wagon. This leads to some odd and comic encounters that lighten the serious subtext of species survival. Some of the reactions to the gregarious beast are hilarious, such as when the parents of a young girl don’t believe her when she says she sees this massive, almost story book animal (she is holding the hot selling Little Princess tiger doll while this happens) in the back of the car.
I won’t spoil if by revealing the end yet suffice to say there is some real, credible crime genre action when a show down finally happens between the pursued and the pursuers. Happily, the future of tigers brightens at the individual, local and global levels, even if the struggle for their preservation is a work in progress as acknowledged by the author Andrew McDermott.
I found the novel enthralling and original and applaud the fact there is a genuine subtext of concern about the catastrophic plight of these animals hunted for their alleged medicinal and other properties. As seen in ‘The Tiger Chase’, this insane drive to bag every last specimen of tiger, is really about status greed and money, so even intervention at the individual level is important enough to make a difference.

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5 Comments leave one →
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