An onslaught of a virus outbreak has devoured civilization in the Tampa Bay, Florida area. Residents strive to stay alive while government officials responsible for the disaster attempt to flee abandoning all social responsibility and liability.
As a novel critic one may only imagine the extent in sheer volume of books sent my way. On average I can estimate anywhere from two hundred to two hundred and fifty novels are submitted for perusal and write up within a year. Quite easily the genre leader is stories with post-apocalyptic themes or if you prefer zombie books.
It isn’t easy to embark upon an endeavor within the zombie community that hasn’t already been bludgeoned to death in terms of saturation. Let’s face it virtually everything has been done. Yet readers gravitate to this theme with no viable indication of relenting any time in the near future.
Perhaps what impressed me most about author Stephen A. North’s rotter odyssey is his attention to innovative detail. The structure of the chapters are designed, rather than the standard or typical fashion of numbering chronologically to simply listing any number of the vast characters developed as the plot progresses. It keeps the story moving at a refreshing pace. We get a glimpse of what’s going on in a number of different lives without the risk of the narrative getting stale or lagging. That being stated it is a little perplexing as to why the author didn’t choose to tell the story through the eyes of the chosen characters in first person point of view. The book would have taken a completely different tone and enabled a plethora of emotions, inner monologue and depth that simply cannot be captured in third person point of view. It’s a non-issue really and doesn’t dramatically taint the entertainment value of the read but it does make one ponder what may have been.
A tremendous number of protagonists are introduced more and more as the plot begins to escalate. I particularly admire the fact that the significance of one doesn’t seem to shadow over another. It is somewhat challenging however for some readers to keep track of who is who. One cannot help but speculate if a compendium is required to decipher the role of each individual.
Easily the most redeeming factor is how the chapters intertwine with one another and manage to eclipse into one plausible plot. The author seems to pull it off with finesse as the pages are rapidly consumed and the characters we get behind are gradually introduced to one another.
The action scenes are well laid out. Certainly the reanimated attacks are vivid, gory and will unnerve most. Whether you’re a novice reader or the most hard core of zombie apocalypse fanfare the graphic content is guaranteed to churn.
Dialogue and interaction between the characters comes across as natural, realistic and even at times provides comedic relief to ease the heightened tension of doom and gloom when it’s needed most.
The locale of Dead Tide is interesting, taking place in Florida. Many will find allure in the premise, opening up the flood gates for a wide audience.
The inclusion of the U.S. government as a character in its own right provides a sense of suspended belief for all those conspiracy theorists out there. Dead Tide breaths a very tangible terror into the lungs of John Q. Public as the final pages are turned we’re left in perpetual wonder how the sequel will unravel the many questions that are spawned as a result of the plot’s circumstances. A cliff hanger climax will render the readership in a ravenous frenzy to once again exhume what lies ahead in the next Dead Tide.
By Dave Gammon