According to author John Lee Schneider, alligators were like big and lazy frogs. “Mud-rooters,” he called them. They might look fierce, but over the years they’ve grown fat with environmental protection.
Crocodiles, on the other hand, were something completely different. They were leaner, more athletic and much more adapted for active predation, particularly of large prey. A saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) was huge and it was the most aggressive predator in the world. “Never turn your back on a croc,” warned the author.
These days the Florida Everglades is a melting pot of the most dangerous species on Earth. Saltwater crocodiles, Nile Crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus), Nile monitor lizards, pythons, cobras, copperheads, cottonmouths and mambas are all part of the creepy-crawly community. And to make matters worse, heterosis (i.e. hybrid-vigor) has escaladed the situation even further. Swamp apes, bog creatures and all sorts of Chimera-like mutations now roam the swampland unheeded. “The local ecosystem has been corrupted to the point of a mad science project,” said Schneider.
The biggest mutant of them all was a killer croc named Caesar. Not only was he twenty-two feet long and more than two tons, but he was pumped full of manmade hormones and steroids. “King Caesar” was the fearless hybrid hatchling of a saltwater crocodile and a Nile crocodile—and that made him a modern day dinosaur.
Because of his size, temperament and eating habits, Caesar attracted a lot of attention. The Everglades National Park wanted to tag him, poachers wanted to skin him, black market agents wanted to capture him and private sector conservation groups wanted to protect him. Plus, there were a handful of swamp folk who wanted to keep the giant herp for themselves.
Into this tinderbox came a mysterious young woman named Abby O’Neil (not Abby Holland). She was a wretched, spiteful, straight-razor totin’ woman with a secret vendetta. Nobody, not even the author, could predict what she would do. “She had intelligence in combination with true amorality,” wrote Schneider. “It was a factor that simply could not be gauged—to be perfectly aware of strictures, societal mores—yet, utterly unaffected by them.”
No one was a match for Polk Salad Abby, the tattooed swamp minx. Without a doubt she was the star of this novel and the ultimate predator. “She brought justice to the primordial swamp,” said the author. Swamp pirates, park rangers, social justice warriors and King Caesar never had a chance.
[Hybrid Vigor / By John Lee Schneider / First Printing: March 2019 / ISBN: 9781925840643]