Book Chat: The Down Home Zombie Blues

 

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The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair

RATING: 5 Stars

Commander Jorie Makkalah is a marine in the Guardian Force, a special unit sent to prevent the Tresh and their zombie-like creations, who attack humanoids, suck them dry and leave mummy-like corpses behind, from overrunning and conquering planets.  One in particular is now their target—a small blue world near and dear to us all.

Theo Petrakos is a Bahia Vista, Florida homicide detective, called in after a mummified corpse is discovered. Before he can make any assumptions, he finds himself aboard an alien ship being transported to Paroo, a tropical planet housing those unfortunate enough to discover their planet’s been visited by aliens.  Fascinated by the “primitive” detective, Jorie convinces her commanding officer to allow The’s help in fighting the Tresh, and the detective  finds himself back on Earth with an implant meant to control—and kill him—if he disobeys orders,  He also discovers he’s as attracted to Jorie as she is to him, but because he’s fresh out of a nightmare of a marriage, doesn’t trust his feelings.

The dialogue is witty; Jorie’s questions about Earth and customs (it’s Christmas when she arrives) as she interacts with Theo’s family (especially his aunt and her matchmaking friend) and colleagues, are  contrasted with Theo’s attempts to use his police skills in tracking down the Tresh threat and mastering alien technology.  Their mutual attraction and struggle to fight it—because after the mission is completed, Theo is still going to be sent to Paroo—as well as their backgrounds as being losers in the Game of Love is highlighted enough to keep the sexual tension going.

Something like an alien invasion can’t be expected to be kept quiet, however, and soon, Theo recruits his partner, Zeke, and Zeke’s wife, as well as other members of the police department.  Convincing them he isn’t a nutcase, he soon has a small band of brothers prepared to fight the invasion.  Then Kip Rordan appears, a drop-dead gorgeous hunk of a commander and Jealousy rears its alien head to complicate matters as the Tresh attack.

This is a nice variation on the “aliens among us” theme.  With 15-foot zombies, space troopers with a slightly superior attitude toward the “nils” of the invaded planet, and a group of Earthlings who refuse to shoot first and ask questions later, The Down Home Zombie Blues is an enjoyable romance, a thrilling sci-fi tale, and an over-all entertaining book to read.

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A Bit of the Dark World

When Lisa Chambers awakes in Temple General Hospital, she’s injured, widowed, and pregnant, and her nightmares are just beginning. Frightening dreams of her dead husband, her baby, and grotesque creatures worshipping a man with burning eyes spiral into wide-awake scenes even more sinister.

Daniel Walker is Lisa’s surgeon, a part-Native American whose people believed in a monstrous creature living in the waters off the Georgia coast. Drexl Von Dorff is the wealthy recluse who pulled her from the burning car, a man living on land once owned by Daniel’s ancestors. They’re bitter enemies and don’t care who knows it.

The two men are paying the new widow too much attention. Each wants her for himself, but even more sinister is the fact that…something else wants Lisa and it will kill to get her…

…and her child.

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EXCERPT:

Hear me, O Dark Ones! Crouched on a wave-bound rock, the creature howled his anger to the stars. I, M’AneseNebh, spawn of many-tentacled Tschenebhua, call upon thee!

Sea winds stirred salt-matted hair and the hunched scaled shoulders shivered.

How long must I tolerate my brother’s existence? Your commands have been obeyed…by me…seen in the green fires of the Star Stone…witnessed by my Dread Lord’s minions…the woman is mine. The Mansion and the Key are united…

Talons curved, raking the sky as hackles rose in impotent fury.

Still he opposes me and…I…would…see…him…die… He stifled his rage, smothered it into control, lest they think he begged and received his plea with contempt. In the Name of He who is to Come…Great Cthulu…Azathoth the Mighty…Yog-Sothoth, Sharer of the Dominion…Grant me the promised power.

His words were seized by the wind and dragged downward. The child’s distress carried to the father, sinking to the deep-entombed ocean prisoner who even then stirred and struggled before settling once again amid his chains.

Long after the cries died away, a second figure stood on the porch of the old manor house. Staring into the darkness, he raised his cigarette, watching pale smoke drift across the yard.

So the creature’s angered, is he? Whether in his thoughts or spoken aloud, he never hid his scorn for his brother. He studied the glowing tip of the cigarette. Bleating his despair

to our father. As if he can help. I’ll always best him. Doesn’t he realize it’s a game? One he’s never going to win? How can he when he’s less than human? Poor M’AneseNebh…blessed with the desire but cursed with that deformed body…he may be the Vessel through whom they speak but I’m the Chosen One, protected from harmvbecause of my outward humanity. Taking the woman would be so easy it’d be boring if she weren’t such a delicious morsel…

Flicking the cigarette into the air, he watched its fiery trail through the darkness. It struck the sand, glowed a moment, then died. Laughing softly, he walked into the darkened house.

Bio:

Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains.

Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone.   In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US) . She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild. In 2016, she was named a Professional Reader by netgalley.com..

Toni

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