- Meg Raymond
Have you met Fiona, the baby hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo on January 24? She was six weeks premature, and her survival was uncertain. She has quickly grown from an adorable pink blob to a big, healthy teenager. Her father Henry sadly passed away in October. Watching the zoo's regular video updates has kept me glued to my computer. Who knew I could love a baby hippo?
So when River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, two alternative history novellas by Sarah Gailey featuring feral hippos, came across my desk, I was all like "YES, INDEEDY - GIMME - GIMME." True fact: The United States Congress hatched a plan to import hippos to Louisiana as a source of meat ("lake cow"), AND the hippos would eat invasive plants, like water hyacinth. It seemed like a Good Idea at the time. The plan never panned out in real life, but, in Gailey's books, the plan is launched (although she moves the time period back about 50 years)—and things quickly go awry. Hippos escape and turn feral in the swamps of Louisiana. Because—another true fact—hippos are fast, and they are deadly.
These two books are a raucous crime caper (excuse me, an operation), featuring a wildly diverse crew of outlaws and ne'er-do-wells hired to clear the feral hippos out of the swamps and make river travel safe again. Winslow Houndstooth likes knives. He is joined by a curvaceous French woman skilled with a whip, a pregnant Latina assassin, an explosives expert named Hero, as well as river gamblers and lawmen.
If you like your humor raw and violent, you should enjoy these two books.