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The Burn Zone by [Decker, James K.]
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The Burn Zone Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 384 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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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)
  • Publication Date: February 5, 2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EXK2JO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #819,135 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Carolyn J. Jenkins on 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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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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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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
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. The action plays out against the backdrop of an Asian city type of territory and in the near future, a future where aliens have made first contact.

Is/was this contact an accident or intentional? You have to read to come to your own conclusion.

Author James K. Decker draws you into the humid, hot and fly (in this case, the scale fly) infested city. I was reminded of the urban cop movies that were so popular in the 1970’s - gritty, crumbling neighborhoods and the people that live there just trying to make a living however they can and not end up dead. Decker then takes this genre and combines it with science fiction. There are background whispers hinting that not all is well on this alternative Earth, with various governments at odds with one another.

I enjoyed this sci-fi meets real world meets urban novel and recommend to anyone willing to try something different from urban fantasy or the usual spaceship-based science fiction.
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