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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging space episode.
Bahia Vista (Florida) Homicide Detective Sergeant Theophilus "Theo" Petrakos thought he had witnessed everything. But that was before he walked into a residential crime scene to find a mummified corpse and a lap top unlike anything he has ever seen. When Theo finally returns to his home, he is attacked by what look like some sort of futuristic zombie. He is rescued by a...
Published on 7 Sep 2007 by Detra Fitch

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Uninteresting
Book 5

This series is set entirely on earth, and while the characters are ok, the hero is a tad too "hollywood cop" for my taste, and the heroine, while likeable, too quickly forgets everything she's ever believed to fall in love with him.

I guess you could say she overcomes her snobbery and racism which is a good thing, but it was very average to...
Published on 7 July 2010 by Lyn


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging space episode., 7 Sep 2007
By 
Detra Fitch (USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Down Home Zombie Blues (Mass Market Paperback)
Bahia Vista (Florida) Homicide Detective Sergeant Theophilus "Theo" Petrakos thought he had witnessed everything. But that was before he walked into a residential crime scene to find a mummified corpse and a lap top unlike anything he has ever seen. When Theo finally returns to his home, he is attacked by what look like some sort of futuristic zombie. He is rescued by a lovely woman outfitted with an array of high-tech weaponry. Before the night is over Theo learns that the corpse and the lap top are just the beginning of a sci-fi movie gone bad.

Commander Jorie Mikkalah and her team are with the Guardian Force. When communications from a hunter agent cease, they beam down to Earth to find out why. They learn that the agent is dead; killed by a zombie. These zombies, originally created about two hundred years ago, were a mech-organic entity produced by her own government to help with space traffic. They were designed to operate in small herds, all under the control of the C-Prime, the largest zombie. Commands were issued to the C-Prime by her people, who then prodded the herds to work. If a herd member was destroyed, the C-Prime made another. But then a flawed program upgrade turned them into monsters. To fix this error, the Guardians hunt down the zombies. Problem is that the herd on Earth is far larger than any noted in history. Even worse, this herd is not only growing larger in bodies, but they are becoming more intelligent! It is Jorie's job to find out how and why, then to terminate the three hundred, or more, zombies on the planet without the "nils" (Earthlings) finding out that they are not alone in the universe. Success will gain her a captaincy.

Murphy's Law kicks in immediately. The agent is dead and a nil, with weaponry training, is attacked by a zombie. Unable to let Theo remain on his planet and tell others about visiting aliens, Theo is beamed to the ship and readied for exile. To get back to Earth, Theo makes a deal. Theo allows them to implant a security device within him. Then he goes with Jorie and a hunting team back to Earth to complete Jorie's mission. With their agent dead, Theo's knowledge of his area and people are vital to ensure success. But neither Theo, nor Jorie, expected to become attracted to each other.

***** Do not let the title fool you. These are not like the dead, brain eating zombies from horror movies. These creatures are more like the Borg from Star Trek the Next Generation. Trekkies and Jedi fans will be delighted with this story. There is a bit of romance, but most of the focus is on the plot. An engaging space episode that will engage the imaginations of readers for a long time to come! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Garden Variety Zombies, 27 Nov 2007
By 
K. Montgomery (Columbus, GA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Down Home Zombie Blues (Mass Market Paperback)
Linnea Sinclair--one of the most acknowledged and well-received authors in scifi romance today--has done it again. Down Home Zombie Blues has all the hallmarks I look for in these kinds of books; a bit of humor, good world building and characters I can care about. Fold those in with another engaging plot from Sinclair and I'm ready to settle down with a great read. It came as no surprise when I was drawn straight in from chapter one.

Commander Jorie Mikkalah has given her all to keep her people safe against their enemies as a member of the Interplanetary Marines. Years later, she's now a member of the Guardian Force--an elite group dedicated to wiping out a biochemical threat. Zombies are using Earth as a breeding ground, and the herd is unlike any her and her team have encountered. They need information on the herd in order to destroy it, but nothing goes right from the start in balmy Florida. Soon Jorie's mission is on the verge of being compromised and is literally in the hands of one very handsome and noble cop, Theo Petrakos. When the cop becomes a prisoner in his own home, and at the hands of one exotically beautiful woman, he's not handing over the reins without a fight. He means to prove his value to Jorie and is soon more valuable than he knew possible when she ends up stranded. Much is at stake--a possible promotion for Jorie, Theo's career, Earth's very safety and the security of the entire universe. Jorie and Theo band together to keep a deadly enemy from gaining a foothold on both Earth and in the wide reaches of space.

Theo and Jorie's romance was palpable from their first meeting. Circumstances being what they are though, there's also a good buildup of sexual tension between the two that carries well throughout the book's suspenseful atmosphere. This reader was brought to the brink of doubt--doubt that their mission would ever succeed--many times, only to be well pleased at the tenacity with which Jorie strives to complete it. At times I wished that the pacing would pick up a little and would rather have seen some action where there was down time for the main characters, but overall the story flowed well and kept me interested for the next chapter. What was very impressive to me was Ms. Sinclair's amazing world building, which she did for an entirely new culture, but smack dab on everyday, current Earth. I got a clear sense of Jorie's people and their culture even though it's discussed and shown with the backdrop of suburban neighborhoods and your average family park and shopping areas. By book's end, it's clear Theo has found his match in the strong and intelligent Jorie Mikkalah and how their story is tied up was both sweet and satisfying. Sinclair demonstrates once again with "The Down Home Zombie Blues" how well she has a handle on not only science fiction, but steamy, fulfilling romance as well. Looking forward to her next one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In which Cyborg Health and Safety Inspectors run amok ..., 8 Jan 2008
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Down Home Zombie Blues (Mass Market Paperback)
Now being filmed as "The Down Home Alien Blues" ...

If I had to prepare a short-list of nominations for the science fiction writer who has improved most over the past two years, "Games of Command" would have earned Linnea Sinclair a place on it and this book would have put her at the top.

The title, particularly the word "Zombies," is misleading, which is probably why the film industry has changed "Zombies" to "Alien" in the film which is being made of this book. This is Sci-Fi, not horror.

The basis of the plot is that soldiers from an advanced civilisation in another galaxy come to earth to eliminate a group of rogue monsters hiding on our planet, before the monsters can become a greater threat to all intelligent life and incidentally wipe out the human race in the process. The monsters, despite being called "zombies" are nothing like what we usually associate with that word: they are not re-animated dead people.

The "Zombies" in the book are artificial biomechanical organisms which were originally created to check starships and space travellers for disease. Imagine a sort of Cyborg Health & Infectious Disease Control inspector working for Interstellar customs.

Unfortunately an upgrade designed to give these Health and Safety Cyborgs more autonomy went radically wrong. The Zombies stopped accepting any orders at all, became killers, and started reproducing like rabbits anywhere they could hide and obtain food.

At the start of this book a contingent of "Guardians" led by Commander Jorie Mikkalah beam down to a primitive planet in another galaxy "named by its inhabitants after dirt" (e.g. Earth) to hunt a herd of Zombies. The Guardians had put an agent on the planet to carry out an initial investigation of the zombies. The agent has stopped communicating and Jorie fears that the zombies may have found and killed him.

Meanwhile Detective Sergeant Theo Petrakos, in charge of a homicide team for the Bahia Vista police in Florida, has just started to investigate the most peculiar case of his life. The victim, who was last seen alive two days ago, has been mummified: he has a wrecked flat full of strange high-tech equipment such as a laptop with a screen with readouts in an alphabet which nobody recognises.

On his way home Theo wonders what sort of attack leaves its victim looking like he's been dead for a thousand years, and what sort of victim has a computer which looks like it's from 200 years in the future. But if he thinks the night has started out strange it's about to get much worse ...

Jorie's investigation and Theo's soon meet head on. Because the people of Earth know nothing about the Zombies and the Guardians know nothing about Earth, circumstances soon force them to work together to try to stop the Zombies. This also gives them a lot of explaining to do with their colleagues and superiors.

The "Guardians" tracking the Zombies may be trying to save our world but they are also ruthless and more than a little prejudiced against people from less technologically-advanced planets. And how is Theo going to explain to his boss that the world is threatened by monsters from outer space and he is working with a group of aliens to stop them, without getting put in a mental hospital?

As if this wasn't bad enough, Jorie has reason to suspect that this particular group of Zombies may be even more dangerous than her fellow Guardians believe, but none of them take her concerns seriously.

The character development, storyline, good use of humour, and gradual development of both dramatic and romantic tension are all first rate. It's a very entertaining read.

Linnea Sinclair's first few sci-fi romance novels started out as entertaining nonsense and improved to highly entertaining nonsense. They won a number of awards and nominations because they were great fun to read, although the science fiction element of the novels was not first rank Sci-fi and the romance element was not exactly Jane Austen.

However, with "Games of Command" (2007), Sinclair managed to jump up a gear in the quality of her plots and character development, and "The Down Home Zombie Blues" jumps up another gear. If she keeps improving at this rate the award nominations she can list may begin to include Hugos and Nebulas.

That said, there are still some silly aspects to the book. This time it is grossly improbable similarities between cultures from different galaxies which are never properly explained. For example, characters in the book from different worlds in different galaxies look ridiculously similar - Jorie looks exactly like a very beautiful human woman. Another species from a third alien planet are also described as looking exactly like the human ideal of beauty, e.g. the males all look like film stars and the females like swimsuit supermodels.

And as if the biological similarities were not unlikely enough, the same applies to language - English turns out to be sufficiently similar to "Vekran", which is one of the four galactic languages known to the Guardians, that Jorie and her comrades can use Vekran to communicate with the characters from Earth, though not always perfectly. One of the funniest moments in the book, through possibly by accident, is when one of the Guardians starts sounding like Yoda at an inappropriate moment. "Serious injury, she has!"

More of the most amusing sections of the book, this time intentionally, come when Theo quotes to Jorie from "Star Trek." The first time she tells him that nobody can travel as fast as Warp Factor Ten, and the second time "If you must quote Vekran sacred texts, get them right!"

No serious attempt is made to provide an explanation for these similarities, though we are told that a Vekran missionary ship went missing not far from Earth fifty years ago. The explicit inference is that one of the missionaries visited this planet and made some comments which found their way into "Star Trek" scripts, but that hardly explains why English, which has been around for a lot more than 50 years, is like Vekran or why people who appear to be descended from evolutionary trees on several different planets look the same.

To be fair, the same implausibility of people from different planets looking the same without any explanation is also present in Linnea Sinclair's previous novels and those of the vast majority of other writers of space opera. It stands out more this time precisely because the book is so much better.

Overall, this is an excellent read and I recommend it.

According to the author's website the film which is being made based on this book by Green Sign Media stars Kristen Hansen as Commander Jorie Mikkalah, Julian Gerami as Theo Petrakos, and the cast also includes Eric Satterburg, and Star Trek actor Derek Partridge as Jorie's boss. I shall be very interested to see if the film is as enjoyable as the book.

If you are interested in reading some of Linnea Sinclair's other books, they include

"Wintertide" (originally published under the name Megan Sybil Baker)
"Finders Keepers"
"Gabriel's Ghost"
"An Accidental Goddess (Bantam Spectra)"
"Games of Command (Bantam Spectra Book)" (which is an improved rewrite of a book first published as "Command Performance".)
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2.0 out of 5 stars Uninteresting, 7 July 2010
By 
Lyn (London, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Down Home Zombie Blues (Mass Market Paperback)
Book 5

This series is set entirely on earth, and while the characters are ok, the hero is a tad too "hollywood cop" for my taste, and the heroine, while likeable, too quickly forgets everything she's ever believed to fall in love with him.

I guess you could say she overcomes her snobbery and racism which is a good thing, but it was very average to create such a poor character who believed in such things anyway. As an example, as they are all space faring folk, they look down on people from earth as ignorant dirt lovers whose feelings in loosing their families and homes are to be ridiculed.

My least likable of all I've read so far.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Space aliens team up with Florida cop to defeat zombies, 23 Jan 2008
By 
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Down Home Zombie Blues (Mass Market Paperback)
Theo Petrakos is a homicide detective in Bahia Vista and about to go on holiday for Christmas. However he finds himself involved in a case of a mysterious mummified man with an odd laptop and the laptop brings a strange group of people into his life. Jorie Mikkalah is a Guardian Force commander, a group of people who travel the galaxy to defeat the Zombies, drone-like beings who kill indiscriminately. When she realises Theo Petrakos has seen the alien laptop he is taken to their spacecraft to prepare for resettlement - people from low-technology worlds aren't allowed to know about the other races in space. However Theo convinces Jorie that he is needed to provide cover for them when working against the Zombies; although they speak a language which is similar to English there are also many differences. Theo has also proved himself able to fight a Zombie. Jorie and her crew return to the planet with Theo and start working on a machine to call the Zombies so that they can be destroyed. However when the rest of the team disappear Jorie and Theo have to work together with minimal technology in order to try to defeat the group of Zombies, one that they realise has been modified to be more dangerous. Jorie faces frightening aspects of her past as well as the difficulty of being alone on a strange world and attracted to Theo. Theo knows that he must gather more people to help them but is afraid that Jorie will be taken away by the FBI and never seen again. How can they succeed against so many Zombies with so little time and so few weapons and soldiers?

Although this story is billed as a romance the romantic element is subordinate to the overall plot of the fight against the zombies. In some ways, in fact, the romance felt like a very minor aspect. There's little disagreement and misunderstanding between Jorie and Theo, the main course of the romance between them is the difficulties of a cross-cultural relationship of a rather dramatic kind. The book is rather more focused on the fight against the Zombies and the different technology and skills that Jorie brings to Earth. Much is made of the different speech patterns between Jorie's Vekran and Theo's English, clearly a very similar language, and of the interest of Theo's family in his love life.

Although an interesting read this book did drag at times and there were rather too many unrealistic elements to the plotting timeline. It's very much a book for those who like space stories and aliens rather than those looking for a straight romance. All the characters were well drawn and interesting although we didn't find out very much about many of the 'baddies' but the story could have benefited from tighter writing in places.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book Helen Hancox 2008
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The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair (Mass Market Paperback - 29 Aug 2008)
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