Zed is having a bad day. She's twelve and there's someone around who's killing kids, which she doesn't have time for. Today, she's already knifed a rapist, traded with half the drunks and addicts in town, talked to the dead, bargained with a sociopath, and extracted crucial information from a mental patient--and she hasn't even left the building.
Welcome to what Whitbread Prize winner Lindsay Clarke has called "a nightmare world which I am trying to escape, but cannot. "Welcome to the Tower, an urban development project no city wants to lay claim to; a place to steer clear of if at all possible, but if you can't, you'll fit right in.
Zed is a vivid, claustrophobic, at times nightmarish novel about madness, survival, and crumbling institutions; it is Moby Dick set in the squalor of an inner city, where rules are abandoned, and it's every man (and young girl) for him or herself. In the spirit of J.G. Ballard's High Rise or Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory, Zed depicts a frenzied underworld; it is a novel of verve and feverish, expansive imagination.
Winner, ForeWord Magazine Science Fiction Book of the Year Award, 2006
Zed is the kind of work about which the adjective 'disturbing' usually applies. That's really an understatement.... It is a riveting, sometimes scary work.... Zed is laced with the kind of wit that could take the rust off your handlebars.
-University of Toronto Quarterly
The combination of near future dystopia and murder mystery means that one is drawn relentlessly along toward a conclusion which, even if it doesn't seem completely justified, is fitting for such a vivid and explosive book.
A hellishly engaging novel ... Zed not only merits cinematic interpretation, it demands it.
A masterfully written first novel.... Zed, both the book and protagonist, is truly original ... the definition of provocative, if you can handle it.
-Zoe Whittall, NOW Magazine
McClung's dark, wicked sense of humor shows through as she chronicles Zed's profoundly disturbing exploits. Shocking and complete with alarming psychological insights, Zedis like nothing you've read before.
One of the best books of 2006: a piercent lament for all kids who are ill-used by their keepers. One of the top 100 books of 2006.
-The Globe and Mail
A humorous, but disturbing read.
-The Vancouver Sun
Zed is a tale to be pondered by all those who wield power over the vulnerable. McCLung's plot twists and images wrestle the emotions before the intellect can pin them down, but when her message at last emerges from the blood and bedlam the effect is devasting: Terror begins at home. Then it grows.
-The Globe and Mail
Her debut novel Zed doesn't seem to be classified as a "horror" but holy crow, this book sufficiently filled my horrific quota. A NOW review tweaked my interest on this one and I wasn't disappointed. Despite being written from the point of view of a 12 year old girl, Zed, this book is most definitely not for kids. Heck, this book is not for most adults. Murder, rape, addiction, sociopaths ... all that and more, navigated by young Zed within the confines of an inner city project. Zed is appalling yet believable. I can't wait for Ms. McClung's next book!