Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Rise Again by Ben Tripp

This is a review of yet another zombie novel recommended to me by one of my followers. Colin Nash who runs the "Down Among the Lead Men" blog site ran an excellent review of Rise Again by Ben Tripp on his original zombie blog, which sadly no longer exists. It is unfortunate that his review is lost in the ether as I'd happily post a link to it. Clearly his review worked, because it made me want to go out and buy the novel.
The story starts in a small town of Forest Peak in the mountains of California on the Fourth of July. Sheriff Danielle (known to everyone as Danny) Adelman is the town's sheriff. She is an ex-Iraq war veteran with a drink problem and an inability to communicate meaningfully with her younger sister, Kelley, who lives with her. Earlier that day, Kelley ran away from home, leaving Danny angry and frustrated because she couldn't chase after her. Danny was going to be presented with the keys to the town at an award ceremony at midday. Things took a turn for the worse shortly after the ceremony. Hordes of refugees fleeing some unspecified disaster in Los Angeles threatened to swamp the little town. But, inexplicably, the horde fell to the ground and seemed to have died en masse. On the following day, the corpses returned to life and to use a well worn cliche, all hell broke lose! Danny and a small group of survivors who hadn't been affected had no choice but to leave the town in a motor convoy in the hope of finding answers to the strange disease that had affected so many. Los Angeles and all the other major cities and towns were no-go zones, overrun by vast hordes of the undead. Danny and her co-survivors were forced to take refuge at an abandoned airfield in the California desert. At first they thought they'd found sanctuary but their troubles were about to get a lot worse.
This is the debut novel by Ben Tripp and I have to say, it's an absolute cracker. Danny Adelman is a very flawed individual. She becomes obsessed with finding her missing kid sister, a quest that doesn't end until the last pages of the novel. Because she has so many flaws, she is a more believable individual. After all, none of us are perfect. We all have our faults. But amongst the faults are strengths and Danny's greatest strength is a determination never to give up. It takes her quite a while and a good deal of pain before she realises her friends can be an asset to her and that she doesn't have to do everything on her own. It's a message we should all heed.
The way the zombies are created is one of the most original I've read even though I wasn't convinced about the concept. Still at least Ben was prepared to offer something different. For the most part, his zombies are of the slow-moving variety that I like but as the story moves on, some zombies evolve, becoming faster and far more cunning.
The story is fast-paced and exciting and a worthy addition to any zombie fan's collection. One of the things that I particularly liked about Colin's review was that he stated in no uncertain terms that you should not read the last page ahead of time. He did, and regretted it, because knowing what the sting in the tail was, and believe me, the last five words of the novel are a HUGE sting in the tail, diluted his enjoyment. Now, I never skip ahead to read the last page anyway, but some folk do. Please, if you are at all tempted, resist! I should also mention that it was Colin's mention of the ending that drew me to this novel more than anything else. I was curious to know how it ended. Was the ending worth waiting for? Oh, yes! It most certainly was. It also begs the question, will there be a sequel? I honestly don't know. Hopefully, my review will pique your curiosity as much as mine.

19 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting enough for me especially now because of the last page!

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  2. Fran, that was precisely why I bought it!

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  3. I have to admit, I did not realize there were so many good looking zombie books out there. This one goes on the list as well.

    As for not reading the last page before time, I've never really understood the desire to spoil a book (or movie) so I wouldn't have done it anyway. Thanks for the review.

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  4. Adam, I'm glad to hear that your pile of zombie books is growing. I totally agree that reading the last page before you've finished or even started reading a book makes no sense to me... but some folk still do it.

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  5. I've heard great things about this book, I'll definitely have to give it a read now. Is it available in eBook format?

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  6. Indeed another for the list thanks Vampifan heading to my library website now to see if they have it

    Cheers
    Simon

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  7. This book was recommended to me by a co-worker who simply said, "You might enjoy this". He wouldn't say anything else about it, so I took it and read it last week. Yep, I enjoyed it, and yes, when I read the ending I said, "Wait! You can't end it like that! I need to know what happens next!!!"

    Good book - recommended!

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  8. I'm now intrigued by this book, even if I was aware of it before this review; its another one then to add to the list of novels to read.

    Good review and it is available on kindle.

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  9. i will pick it up, and add it to my collection of zed books

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  10. @Sub-Radar-Mike. I'm afraid I know absolutely nothing about e-books but if you check the comment by Zabadak you'll have your answer.

    @Simon. I hope your web library has it in stock. It's well worth tracking down.

    @ConfusedDad. Exactly!

    @Joe. Thanks, my friend! So there we go, SRM, it is available as an e-book.

    @Shintokamikaze. It will be a worthy addition!

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  11. Hi Bryan, I just bought Day by day and beyond exile, because of your review, I will be buying this one next, thanks.

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  12. Thanks, Dan, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

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  13. Another great review. And I'm glad to hear the book is available as an E-book. I always bring my Sony Reader to work in case we get some quiet time. This book will go on the "to-get" list, too.

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  14. I've never gotten into the whole e-book thing, Luckyjoe, but I accept the argument that they take up a lot less space than "real" books and that you can carry a whole library in your pocket. I'm like Giles from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" - I like the look, the feel and the smell of a real book.

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  15. Just bought it, thanks again Bryan.

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  16. Hey VtG! I am very glad that having bought the book on my review that you enjoyed! I widh I still had my review, but can't even find it on the Wayback When Machine :( I suppose that'll teach me to keep copies of posts!

    About the book though, I read that Ben Tripp is a screenwriter and it seemed to me that some of the novel's scenes were written with the big-screen in mind - e.g. IIRC the horde running up the road to the Forest Peak with the deputies and Danny on the vehicle roof - what do you think?

    It was a very entertaining read, and I might just read it again now!

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  17. Hi, Colin. As soon as I read your review of "They Rise" I knew I had to read it, and I'm very glad I did! I've rarely wanted to read a book as much as this after reading a review of it. It's such a shame your review is lost forever.

    Oh, I totally agree with you about the filmic qualities of the story. It would make a very worthy film or even a TV mini-series.

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  18. Having been recommended by Colin and Bryan, this one is 100% a must, thanks guys!

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