It must be tough trying to come up with a new way to write about the zombie apocalypse, and though Stephen A. North doesn't re-invent the wheel with Dark Tide, he at least brings a different structure to proceedings that makes it very readable. Rather than offering a traditional narrative focusing on a major character and three or four "B" characters, North creates a dozen or so almost equally important characters and follows them through short, sharp chapters each written from one of said characters third-person POVs. Positively, this had the effect of prompting me to rush through "just one more chapter" to get back to what was happening with someone else. Less awesomely, it concurrently made for some confusing moments as I tried to remember who was whom and what they were doing.
North also seems to skip over what I thought would be key moments. For example, at one point, two characters are ambushed by a set of more nefarious characters and things look ominous. Cut back to that group a few chapters later and they're seemingly getting along like a house on fire. I would have appreciated a chapter depicting how this fairly significant shift occurred.
The plot is otherwise fairly standard for this type of read, but I suspect you'd appreciate it a great deal more if you were familiar with the Florida peninsula area, since this geography plays a fairly pivotal role in the decisions the characters make. I was worried for much of the read as to whether the various arcs would come together, and they eventually do, but not until right at the very end, paving the way for an obvious sequel - as there is nothing approaching any kind of resolution here.
Two other things bear noting. One: there was a glaring plot hole involving one character being bitten at a mid-point of the novel, but then it was never referenced again and nothing came of it. Yet 70 pages before a minor character turned after being bitten! What gives? I deducted a star on this basis, as this is the kind of oversight that really bothers me. Two: some reviewers have commented on Dark Tide being written in the present tense, and how this affected their reading of it. Err. Did we read the same book? Because, well, it's just not written that way. It's past-tense through its entirety.
So, given all of the above, Dead Tide is a decent book within the zombie sub-genre that maintained my interest well-enough to prompt me to check out the sequel. Hopefully that one will be a little less confusing, even if there is still a large cast of characters who are breathing ...
3 Asshole Mayors (because clearly there are no other kind) for Dead Tide.