Thursday, December 27, 2007


Here's the review of Linnea's latest book that will appear in the January issue of my newsletter. (Visit to subscribe.) I felt empathy with the characters right away and could hardly put it down. I was so excited that I immediately ordered a couple of her earlier novels. Linnea, might there be a sequel to DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES someday? I want to see how Jorie and Theo handle the challenges facing them in the future.

THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES, by Linnea Sinclair, definitely lives up to the anticipation! Zombies (oddly named, since they aren't undead of any kind, but the term makes for an irresistibly attention-getting title) originated as an artificial life form designed purely for defense and the detection and destruction of dangerous infections. Having gone rogue, they now mindlessly prey upon warm-blooded organisms, especially higher species of mammals. Small-town Florida homicide detective Theo gets called to a case centering on a mysteriously mummified body. Meantime, extraterrestrial Guardian Jorie arrives on Earth to investigate that same death, the zombie killing of one of her people's covert agents. (By a fortunate chance, English has a remarkable similarity to Vekran, an ET language Jorie speaks fairly well. Although this resemblance isn't explained, I had little problem suspending disbelief in it—maybe there's an "ancient astronaut" visit in the background somewhere?—and the premise obviates the usual translation problems of alien contact.) Theo has seized as evidence the dead agent's computer, which would cause catastrophic repercussions if the local authorities discovered its alien origin. In the process of recovering the device, Jorie has to beam Theo up to her ship. Now that he knows about the extraterrestrial presence, the only way he can avoid a benign but lifelong exile from Earth is to convince her people that they vitally need his help to deal with local conditions. So he and Jorie become temporary partners in hunting for the remaining zombies and discovering why they have suddenly begun to breed on this "nil-tech" world. The crisis is complicated by possible involvement of the Tresh, a hostile species among whom Jorie was once a prisoner of war, and the suspicion and jealousy of one of her fellow officers, who's secretly attracted to her. Jorie, who has to overcome her own prejudice against "nils" such as Theo, gradually comes to respect his skills and his sense of honor. Tense action scenes alternate with deeply emotional dialogues between the hero and heroine. Secondary characters come across as engagingly lifelike, too. Humorous incidents of Jorie's attempts to navigate American technology and culture made me laugh without diminishing the seriousness of the danger at hand, and conversely I almost cried a few times, too, at emotional moments between Theo and Jorie. The problem of how they can hope to stay together, given their literally worlds-apart backgrounds and their devotion to their respective careers, is not trivialized or evaded. Sinclair has a marvelous talent for instantly involving us in the minds and hearts of her characters and making us care for them. I didn't want the book to end. I'd love to see a sequel; although the immediate zombie threat is neutralized, there is still plenty of work to be done.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, thanks so much, MC! I had no idea you were reading Theo and Jorie's story. Glad you had a fun time and again, thanks for posting the review. ~Linnea