Rise Again by Ben Tripp

Rating: 7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 
Title: Rise Again
Author: Ben Tripp
Genre: Horror
URL: Gallery Books
Price: US$ 15.00
Other Information/warnings: explicit violence
Summary [from the publisher]:
Forest Peak, California. Fourth of July.

Sheriff Danielle Adelman, a troubled war veteran, thinks she has all the problems she can handle after her kid sister runs away from home. But when disease-stricken refugees from Los Angeles overrun her small mountain community, Danny realizes her problems have only just begun—with the end of the world.

When the streets are choked with dead, the living grieve. When the dead begin to move, the living hope. And when the dead begin to feed, the living fight to survive. Because if you die…

You rise again.

My review:
Sheriff Danielle Adelman is one tough lady. Her younger sister runs away from home with Danny’s vintage Mustang, she suffers the physical and psychological effects from being a soldier in the Iraq war, she deals with petty criminals, and if that’s not bad enough, zombies are moving into her small California town. No wonder she drowns out her troubles with alcohol.

With her sister’s letter in her shirt pocket and a small band of survivors, Danny is on a mission to find her sister and keep her people safe.

I loved Danny’s strength and sense of ethics, and the very different personalities she has to deal with. There’s Wulf, another hard-bitten war veteran whose shooting skills come in handy, there’s Patrick, gay TV personality who feels faint at the sight of blood and has a soft spot for Danny, and Amy, the veterinarian who prefers animals to people. Then there’s the private militia group who makes everyone’s life miserable and is as scary as the zombies.

The zombies get more terrifying as the story moves along. First, they are mindless, shambling creatures who moan at the sight of living prey. Then they gradually evolve into fast-moving predators that are more adept at getting through doors and windows, and then they form packs who stalk their prey. It seems that bio-terrorism caused the zombie epidemic, though the author thankfully did not spend a lot of time dwelling on the cause.

What I wanted was lots of action, believable flawed characters who have to learn to work together in order to survive, and scary zombies. What I didn’t expect was the gut-punch ending.

If you’re a fan of zombies, and don’t mind a story that takes occasional digs at the government and private enterprise, then don’t miss this one.