Writer of Horror Fiction

Review of Stephen North’s Dead Tide Rising

Dead Tide Rising is the sequel to Stephen North’s Dead Tide, which maps out the zombie apocalypse from the perspective of a wide array of citizens of the Tampa Bay area of Florida. The unique geography of the area played a significant part of the first story and does as well in this follow up, boxing in the characters on every side but one with water, forcing them to cope with the undead with virtually no place to escape to. Stephen’s unique storytelling spin also provides the reader with a different way of looking at the zombie apocalypse, with him thrusting you directly into the action, face first, in the present tense.

Dead Tide blew me away with its intense pace, harrowing action, and myriad of compelling characters. I knew there was no way Stephen North would be able to maintain such a heated pace in a sequel, and I was right. Dead Tide 2 is even more of a whirlwind of adrenaline fueled zombie terror than its predecessor. The author doesn’t take his foot off the gas pedal for even one second in this intense sequel that outdoes the original.

We return to the stories of the characters who we got to know in the first installment in the trilogy. Characters like Hadley, Bronte, Talaski, Janicea, Trish, and Jacobs among others who are trying to cope with each other and the undead, but we are also introduced to an intriguing new character, Johnny, who wanders in and out of this story like a ghost, offering a unique perspective based on the fact that in some ways, he looks like one of the walking dead despite being very much alive. He promises to play an even bigger role in the third act of this story, though the second book ends much as the first did, with many unanswered questions about all of the characters, including Johnny, and who will and won’t survive from one scene to the next.

Present tense narrative and having a wide range of characters filled the complaints about the first installation in this trilogy, and those complaints will likely remain for those who aren’t fond of a story told with this much immediacy and with so many characters to focus on. There is little I can say to convince someone that they will enjoy this book if they are adamant about either aspect of the first book, except that Stephen North is a hell of a story teller, and it’s a shame if you don’t give his spin on the zombie apocalypse a shot. While present tense is non-traditional, I feel that it works well in action heavy stories like this one, where the reader is plopped right into a scene and gets to feel everything going on in it. There is an immediacy, an urgency about it that I really like. No, it doesn’t work all the time and some stories would suffer for it, but Steve North’s vision of the zombie apocalypse works exceptionally well because of it.

Dead Tide Rising can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Tide-Rising-Stephen-North/dp/1453731423/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1283382138&sr=1-1

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