I'm very excited to announce the publication of ZOO (Shoreline) the debut novel by Arleen Solomon Rotchin who is well-known in Montreal and Palm Beach Florida as the author of a bestselling memoir titled Sam's Will (Shoreline). She's better known around my house as 'Mom' and 'Granny'. In Sam's Will, Arleen told the story of her ten year battle (personal, financial and legal) to settle the estate of her late father, Montreal garment-pioneer Sam Solomon, who was also, not coincidentally, the model of a character in my novel The Rent Collector. Sam's Will made the non-fiction bestseller lists in both Palm Beach and Montreal. Zoo is somewhat of a departure, though not really. It will be enjoyed by the same folks who loved Sam's Will (and there were plenty) because it also tells a story about money, greed, excessiveness and human failing, and does so with the same quirky, funny style and sharp observation that Arleen has become known for. In Zoo, a photographer named Chela tells the uncanny, timely story of her neighbour and friend Geena who's just been convicted of tax fraud and stock manipulation. Meanwhile, as Rome burns Nero plays; Geena throws extravagant parties for her Palm Beach cohort and they behave like the sky isn't falling. Ultimately, Geena can't avoid jailtime and from prison writes letters to Chela declaring that she has had a revelation that she is the victim of The American Dream. During the summer Chela returns to Montreal to teach a group of kids in crisis how to use cameras (the old-fashioned kind with f-stops and shutter speed settings) and the two stories begin to shed light (photography-lingo pun intended) one on the other. Highly recommended.