Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Rise Again by Ben Tripp
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.