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The Burn Zone [Kindle Edition]

James K. Decker
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.91
You Save: $2.08 (26%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Plagued by overpopulation, disease, and starvation, humanity was headed for extinction—until an alien race called the haan arrived. And then the real trouble began.
It’s been a rough day for Sam Shao. As part of a program that requires humans to act as surrogates to haan infants, Sam has been genetically enhanced to bond with them. So when three soldiers invade her apartment and arrest her guardian for smuggling a dangerous weapon into the country, Sam can sense that something isn’t right. One of his abductors is a haan masquerading as a human, and the supposedly fragile haan seems to be anything but.
Racing through the city slums, trying to stay one step ahead of the mysterious haan soldier, Sam tries to find the man who, in her twenty years, has been the only father she’s ever known. Could he truly have done what he is accused of? Or did he witness something both human and haan would kill to keep hidden? The only thing certain is that the weapon is real—and lost now somewhere in a city of millions.
Fighting the clock, Sam finds an ally in Nix, a haan envoy devoted to coexisting with humans, or so it seems. But what she really needs are answers. Fast. Or else everything she knows—and everyone she loves—will burn.

Editorial Reviews


Library Journal

The arrival of an alien race, the haan, saved Earth from the worst ravages of overpopulation, starvation, and disease. As part of the bonding process, human surrogates agree to raise the infant haan, building a genetically enhanced relationship intended to strengthen interspecies ties. When soldiers, one of them a haan masquerading as a human, invade Sam Shao's apartment and arrest her guardian for smuggling a weapon into the country, Sam abandons her other responsibilities to attempt a rescue of the only father figure she's known for decades, uncovering dangerous truths in the process. VERDICT Under the name James Knapp, Decker is the author of the Revivors trilogy (State of Decay; The Silent Army; Element Zero). With a tricky plot, a fascinating alien race, and a resourceful heroine whose story deserves many follow-ups, this series debut should please fans of Peter Hamilton, William C. Dietz, and John Scalzi.

About the Author

James K. Decker was born in New Hampshire in 1970, and has lived in the New England area since that time. He developed a love of reading and writing early on, participating in young author competitions as early as grade school, but the later discovery of works by Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov turned that love to an obsession.

He wrote continuously through high school, college and beyond, eventually breaking into the field under the name James Knapp, with the publication of the Revivors trilogy (State of Decay, The Silent Army, and Element Zero). State of Decay was a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and won the 2010 Compton Crook Award. The Burn Zone is his debut novel under the name James K. Decker.

He now lives in MA with his wife Kim.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1444 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (February 5, 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EXK2JO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #665,592 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! February 5, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sam is a survivor of a major childhood tragedy in a futuristic dystopian society. A survivor who is stuck in a pseudo victim mode. She worries most about making sure she has the appropriate vice handy to fuzz reality to the point she can deal. But to her dismay, things don't stay comfortably fuzzy for long. She's forced to wake up and handle life and death situations. Sam must realize what's important. She's confronted with extremely difficult decisions in times of high stress. Sam must unwillingly grow up and give up her vices if she wants to survive.

I thought this book was great. I loved how flawed but strong and capable Sam was. The action started early on and did not slow down once. I loved how Sam slowly comes to several very important realizations that not only keep the reader guessing but also flesh out the conspiracy and intrigue. I strongly recommend this book to those who love scifi or strong female leads.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast paced, sometimes terrifying, sf thriller! February 12, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sam Shao had an unspeakably awful childhood, and when she was rescued by a soldier named Dragan, she thinks that there may be chance for happiness after all. Now 20, she enjoys her arrangement as a surrogate for haan infants. Her DNA has been altered to allow the surrogate bond, and taking care of these little creatures gives her a feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment that she may never have had if it hadn't been for Dragan and his commitment as her adoptive father. One day, as she returns home her day job, Dragan, who had supposedly been out on a mission, bursts into their apartment insisting that Sam must pack, that they needed to get out quickly. Before they can leave, a group of soldiers burst in and take Dragan, nearly killing Sam in the process. One of these soldiers, the leader, in fact, is haan, and Sam immediately goes on the run, determined to find Dragan, who has been labeled as a thief and a traitor.

Sam knows the charges are false and vows to find Dragan, even if it kills her. She soon finds out that there may be a weapon of mass destruction on the way to Hangfei, and she's only got a bit of time to thwart the terrorists' plan, and find her guardian. Luckily, she teams up with a haan named Nix who seems to be protective of the human race, and her friend Vamp, who proves to be a more than capable ally. However, things aren't always as they seem in this torn and tattered place, and the truth may be even more terrifying than Sam thought, and time is most certainly not on her side.

The Burn Zone is set in a future world, ravaged by overpopulation, starvation, and disease. When an alien race, called the haan, crash lands on Earth, they offer humans a chance at a better future, if they will only accommodate them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed Sci-Fi Thriller February 5, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Burn Zone is a fast-paced, action-packed sci-fi debut full of twists and turns that will constantly leave you guessing.

Decker has created a gritty and complex world where the cities are overpopulated and the people are poor and starving. Most blame the declining conditions on the alien race now inhabiting their world, while some cling to the hope that they may be the answer to their salvation.

Sam, the story's protagonist, is a surrogate mother to the haan infants and one of their supporters. She chooses to focus on the ways that they have benefited from the haans' presence as opposed to others who see only what they have taken away. She feeds and cares for each infant in exchange for a stipend and is able to communicate with them through brain-band mites that each surrogate is enhanced with.

From the very beginning, the story delivers intense action scenes that leave you on the edge of your seat. Sam quickly discovers that her guardian, Dragan, has been labeled a traitor. He arrives home and is chased by soldiers who have been ordered to take him into custody.

Sam's attempts to aid Dragan have the soldiers pursuing her as well and she learns that they are searching for a twistkey and a child named Alexei Drugov. She eventually discovers that Dragan has placed him in a secret location and it becomes imperative that Sam take possession of the twistkey and find Alexei or millions of lives will be lost. She receives help from her friend Vamp and finds an unlikely ally in a haan named Nix.

Lies unravel, secrets and conspiracies are revealed, and Sam is no longer sure of who she can trust. It all leads to an ending that can only be described as an adrenaline rush and the twist presented in the last chapter leaves you wanting more.

I would highly recommend The Burn Zone to any fans of action-packed sci-fi thrillers with page-turning mysteries.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars different, but not different enough March 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
From the description I was expecting, well, a lot. What I felt I got was a lot of teenage angst. "Who am I, What's my purpose in life, How do I count", and on and on. I felt it rather tiring as the reader follows the angst-ridden female person chasing, being chased, looking for dad, being chased, looking for dad....etc, etc.

I'd like to have seen a bit more plot developement earlier on in the story, 'cause as I said, all the chasing made me tired....of her, of the story, of her struggles. I wanted to like her more. But was too tired.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Super Action Packed! February 25, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Sammy

*Beware of possible Spoilers*

This story was super action packed with lots of things going on. The ideas and concepts were really interesting. The lead female was not a very likeable character but she grew on me. Once we get to see more of who she is. The story is well written but has a few flow problems, at times it was confusing trying to catch up to the action. With that said I still enjoyed this book. It is the first in a series but there is a prequel, that I think I will pick up and read as well. I'm hoping to get a better idea of some of the things going on.

There is a twist in this book that was startlingly spectacular and I had no idea it was coming. I love when that happens and am hoping it will be explained more in the next book. There were many things that were started and then didn't go anywhere, it was somewhat disappointing because those ideas could have really added to the story, or made the story more understandable. The action was literally non stop, so much that I felt like I needed to catch up and really concentrate on what was going on or I'd miss something.

Sam and Vamp....their relationship was strange and felt forced. Clearly they had been friends and then suddenly he has to have her, and loves her, there didn't seem to be a reason for it. Even Sam couldn't figure it out???? Sam was one tough cookie but then goes and does one of those tstl (to stupid to live) stunts...Sam, "I snuck out...." she just left. Grrrrrr if you have a group of people you're working with then you don't leave and say nothing. Of course it worked out but seemed like a silly thing to do.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Sam Shao On The Run
The “Burn Zone” follows the pell-mell adventures of Sam Shao, an orphan searching for her adoptive father who has disappeared during tensions within and without the area. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kansz JoNz
5.0 out of 5 stars aliens living with humans
you've seen it, read it before, right? Not so much. This girl, once you get started, just can't stop getting in the middle of everything. I love the new scenery, the imagery. Read more
Published 12 months ago by A. Meyers
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & Creepy
Exciting book with lots of adrenaline. I normally don't read sci-fi, don't really like alien stuff, too creepy. But I read this because of the strong female MC. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Rena
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, great concept, would read again
I received this book through the Goodreads First Read Giveaway Program.

This was a terrific sci-fi story. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Leesa
4.0 out of 5 stars A taut, action-packed thrill ride
The Burn Zone is a Fugitive-style thriller on speed. With breakneck pacing, James K. Decker takes readers through nearly 400 pages of adrenaline-fueled chase scenes, breathless... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Carl V. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars a vastly enjoyable, if at times disturbing read
James Decker - aka James Knapp - can write one hell of a good story.

First of all, let me remind y'all, it's been almost a year since I read The Burn Zone. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mardel
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh. It was ok.
It was great for the first half. After that... all the details got in the way of the story. The ending was not really satisfying. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Tammy M. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind blowing, intelligent, fast-paced
I've been a fan of James K Decker (Knapp) since his debut State of Decay. His newest novel, the first installment in a new series, does not disappoint. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Nitzan Rotschild
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally Smart SF
Sam Shao is a surrogate mother to an alien child; as part of a program with the haan, humans have been helping to raise haan babies ever since their space ship crash landed... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Robert H. Bedford
4.0 out of 5 stars Burn Zone
While there was a little confusion at first about the history of the Haan, this book can be read as a stand alone. Read more
Published on May 7, 2013 by Jasmyn9
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