Dead Tide (Book)
Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Written by Stephen A. North
Published by Library of the Living Dead
Movies would have us believe that when the proverbial shit hits the fan, the world will dissolve into archetypes. People will comfortably fit into the "hero" mold or the "underdog" caste, and people will somehow band together and survive. But what I've always wondered about is the other people. Sure, we get to see what the few on screen are like, but what are people really willing to do to survive? Dead Tide paints a bleak, disturbing, and all-too-human picture of what happens when people stop being polite and when the Zombie Apocalypse finally happens.
The first thing readers will notice about this book is that it's told in present tense. Instead of "he ran down the hall," we get "he runs down the hall." It's a small point, and one that's difficult to pull off in fiction, but North uses the device to give the story a sense of urgency, making the reader more than just someone reading the events after the fact. While it can be distracting at first, once the reader decides to just go with it, it makes the tense scenes all the more tense and brings the action to a more visceral boil. Whether reading about a stripper who wrecks her car on the way home or a child hiding in the attic, the reader gets more out of the story because it is happening as he's reading it.
Another point of interest is that the book is divided into really short chapters, each one centering around a character. It is interesting for the reader to see how each character interprets each situation, and how those characters react.
All academic ramblings aside, this is, simply put, a great book, one of the most original of slew of Zombie-themed books to come out in recent memory. As with other novels, the general population has no clue or warning about the shambling dead, but what is more interesting here is that many of the people involved are more adept at becoming a part of the problem than they are at solving it.
Fans of the Zombie-genre will love this book, both for its uniqueness and for how hard-boiled the story is. Fans of gore will find more than enough to giggle about, while fans of good, character-driven plots will find themselves enraptured with the story. Really, this one is as close to a perfect zombie tale as it gets.
4 1/2 out of 5
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