Linnea Sinclair – "The Down Home Zombie Blues"

4 Dec

GENRE: Romance / Science Fiction
PUBLISHED: Bantam Books, 2007

The back blurb:
“Bahia Vista homicide detective Theo Petrakos thought he’d seen it all. Then a mummified corpse and a room full of futuristic hardware send Guardian Force commander Jorie Mikkalah into his life. Before the night’s through, he’s become her unofficial partner – and official prisoner – in a race to save the earth. And that’s only the start of his troubles.
Jorie’s mission is to stop a deadly infestation of biomechanical organisms form using Earth as its breeding ground. If she succeeds, she could save a world and win a captaincy. But she’ll need Theo’s help, even if their unlikely partnership does threaten to set off an intergalactic incident.
Because if she fails, she’ll lose not just a planet and a promotion but a man who’s become far more important to her than she cares to admit.”

I had fun reading The Down Home Zombie Blues. It’s an action-packed adventure story with strong and likable main characters. I like reading Sinclair’s novels just for them alone: the hero and the heroine might have baggage but they deal with it like adults. The side characters are not as distinctive but with all that was going on I didn’t mind. The “monsters” in this story reminded me in some ways of old horror movies, and the villains were nearly a non-entity with their sole characteristic being evil (which can be counted as one of the few weaknesses of the novel).

The focus of the story is on the action, not so much on the characters. But despite that, and even though the story spans just a few days, the romance is convincing . It’s shown that the hero and the heroine like, respect and understand each other. I’m able to believe these two have a true shot at love. I prefer this to scenarios where the convincing of the reader is done with showing that the hero and the heroine constantly have something twitching down low.

There are some nice little touches that I liked in this story:
– Theo’s trying to make sense of what is happening with references to science fiction movies (for example, he talks about “beaming up”). I’m pretty sure I would try to describe it the same way.
– crude and out-dated methods can still have their uses. For example, Theo is able to save Tamlynne with manual resuscitation when Jorie doesn’t have her advanced medical equipment at hand. Mere bullets are able to penetrate an energy shield because the shields weren’t designed to defend against them. (They get modified pretty quick.)
– I liked to figure out what Jorie’s referring to when she talks about things (driving a car, for example). Talk about a different perspective.

Aside form my “villains-being-evil” complaint, I thought that the ending was wrapped up a bit too fast. I wanted more closure for the story line about Jorie’s rival for the captaincy. I also wanted to know a bit more about how Jorie’s command of the outpost will work with the no-involvement policy for nil worlds. But then, maybe these questions will be addressed in a sequel. There’s certainly room for it with the main story line pretty open.

If there is a sequel, I will be there to read it.

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Probably yes.

Grade: 4 / 5


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