Tuesday, June 5, 2007

DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES by Linnea Sinclair


My poor mentor-type Blog Buddies. I follow their careers around like a scientist doing a case study. Or an irritating little sister asking pesky little questions, like “If an agent says she’s shopping your manuscript around, does that mean she takes it with her to read in the check-out line at the grocery store?” I’ve learned tons of stuff, a good portion of which I keep to myself for a variety of reasons. Some of the things I’ve learned from Linnea Sinclair are to learn as much as I can as I go along, build on the strengths of each novel when whipping the next one into shape, and leave no stone unturned when promoting the upcoming or new release.

One secret I’ve never kept is that I absolutely loved GAMES OF COMMAND. I was sure it would be my favorite Linnea Sinclair book of all time, but when I first heard the title DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES I knew the race would be tight. Now that I’ve read ZOMBIE, I can say I love them both the same.

DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES hits the bookstores in November, but I was very lucky to get an Advanced Reader’s Copy. It’s set apart from Linnea’s previous books by being the most crackling science fiction story of them all, in my opinion. Jorie emotionally shoved my nose into zombie doo-doo on the very first page. The tension mounted with every page afterwards.

One complaint I hear a lot is that female authors write unreal male characters. Unfortunately, this is often true. I’ve been married a long time. I know and like my real man a lot. Nothing makes me chuck a novel faster than an unbelievable hero. ZOMBIE does NOT have this problem at all. Theo is a tough cop, but he’s no cliché and he’s no silly beefcake. He feels real the first time he steps onto the page. He’s Greek American too and that adds an extra dimension.

The story goes that an alien civilization unintentionally unleashed a population of zombies on the galaxy. Now, they have to clean up the mess and Jorie’s the mission commander for an outbreak on Earth. Lucky for us. Very lucky for Theo. In fact…uh, no, I better not tell you just how lucky Theo gets with Jorie. Anyway, that sounds cheesy. Believe me, there’s nothing cheesy about these two swashbucklers. Their partnership is done very well. During a confrontation with said zombies, Jorie takes Theo back to her spaceship rather than letting him get toasted. After recovering from having his molecules ripped apart and put back together, Theo figures out what’s going on.

This team of alien agents can’t erase memories like Will Smith in MIB. They forcibly relocate people who know too much. Doggone it. However, Theo is able to convince Jorie to include him on the team to hunt down and deal with the zombies. This leads to a rather amusing scene in which he tries to pass her off as his girlfriend from Canada to cover for the language and cultural limitations. Unfortunately for Theo, his buddy knows a few real Canadians, eh? The unusual mission escalates for Jorie when her commanding officer and the ship’s doctor seem to be ignorant of the obvious regarding the zombies’ sudden changes and population increase.

If you loved movies like Men In Black, Terminator, and all those great old horror movies with zombies, mummies, and frankensteins, you’ll love DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES.

Linnea sent me this ARC electronically, but I have to have the print copy now too. I do so much work on the computer. I can’t kick back and relax with a novel this good that way. My husband wants to read it too and his reading time is in between flights at work. We NEED a ‘real’ copy of this novel!

And so do you. Better go pre-order right now.

8 comments:

Linnea Sinclair said...

I'm tickled you enjoyed Jorie and Theo. But I honestly didn't deliberatly sit down and decide to write something slightly different from my past books, nor did I give conscious thought as to the structure of the book. I just writes 'em as my characters tell 'em. ;-)

Sure, in second draft, in reworking or rewriting and addressing questions from my editor at Bantam, or from my crit partners, I realized the book was not fully in the same vein as GODDESS or FINDERS, per se. But it's still Theo's and Jorie's story, and that's how it came out.

I DID work hard on making Theo as realistic as possible. It's tough (for most women) to write a good guy and I mean that both ways. It's tough to authentically write a male when you're a female. And it's tough for many authors today to write a 'clean hero', ie: no bad boy, rake or rogue. (And a swashbuckling clean hero at that!)

What you didn't get as part of the electronic ARC was my acknowledgments page, which listed the many law enforcement officers who freely gave up their spare time to dialogue with me over just what it's like being a cop out on the line. Specifically, Sgt. Steve Huskisson of the Plantation, FL police department and Detective Scott Peterson (yeah, that's his real name) of the Collier County (FL) Sheriff's Office were tireless in answering my queries--and answered them in delightful good humor and detail. I also picked the brains of the cops on Officer.com and Realpolice.net. Yunno, it's not easy asking a cop: "What would you do if you were abducted up to an alien warship in space?" Or rather, WHAT they would do was fairly easy for most to answer. HOW they would FEEL was the tougher part. Those law enforcement officers (like Steve and Scott, and others) who were willing to take the plunge, suspend disbelief and dig for answers to that question are truly the brave ones out there. ;-) I was blessed by being allowed into their lives and thought processes.

If you have any more questions on the book--because, yeah, it's a bit different than my others--fire away. You know I love talking the craft of writing. ~Linnea

Kimber An said...

Well, you DO build on your strengths, Linnea! I've seen it by reading your books in order of publication.

What an enormous wealth of information from the police! Wow! How does one go about sufficiently thanking people who've helped so much?

LadyBronco said...

I loved Games of Command, and I cannot wait to get a copy of Down Home Zombie Blues!

A love story with zombies - now that's my idea of a perfect novel!

It's going to be very hard waiting until November for this one.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

This book sounds like loads of fun. Great review, Kimber An. Looks like I'll have an enormous to-be-read pile by the time I'm down with my deadlines. Urgh.

Gwyneth

Kimber An said...

Gwyneth, I get this image of you staggering around with a pile of books while Lady Bronco and I keep tossing more on. Mwa-ha-hah! (Kimber high-fives Lady B)

Lady B, did I ever send you over to Speculative Romance to read that interview Linnea did with them last October? If you haven't read it, let me know. She was talking about Science Fiction and Romance and how to the two have traditionally opposed to each other. After reading widely, it's obvious to me that combining the two in a way which appeals to a wide readership is no small task!

LadyBronco said...

You did indeed, and it was a great interview.

It definitely gave me both hope and fuel for the fire ~ so to speak.

MerylF said...

Sounds great! Now I just need to find it in the bookstores...Oz can be terribly slow about new releases.

Kimber An said...

Hi, Merylf!

ZOMBIE doesn't hit the US bookstores until November. I know how you feel about the Oz thing, because I live in Alaska. Linnea's hot up here, but it can take eons for other new releases to get into regular bookstores here. Your best bet is to pre-order it on-line at Amazon.com and receive it by mail.