By Mikhail Lerma
Publisher: Permuted Press
Pub. Date: August 24, 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Blood on the Sand. It remains a riveting hybrid between zombie thriller and military novel. The main character, American soldier Cale, has experienced the beginning of a zombie holocaust while in Iraq and is now headed on a journey through the Middle East and Europe to find a way home to his family in the States. When we left him in Blood on the Sand he was stranded in a boat on the Mediterranean Sea and waiting for a possible rescue by an unknown ship. Not surprisingly that unknown ship, actually a submarine from what is left of the Egyptian Navy, is not good news. In the beginning of Red Tides, it start right where the first book left off and we find that Cale has been taken prisoner and forced into slave labor, chained to another prisoner and is scavenging supplies in the midst of rampaging zombies. This epic of a apocalyptic journey continues in high fashion as we wonder if Cale will ever be able to resume his quest to go home.
I don't think it is too much of a spoiler to say Cale's imprisonment is only a small part of the journey in this second installment. More importantly though, it helps us know more about Gale and how he copes with crisis and with others. His interaction with the person he is chained to reveal much about his humanness and will to persevere. In Red Tides, Mikhail becomes more than just a soldier trying to get home.
The author continues to use his military experience to write believable scenarios and excellent action scenes. One surprise is that Lerma chooses in an alternating narrative to take the story "home", so to speak, and let us know what is going on in the States and specifically with Gale's family. At first it was a bit disorientating. However it does help us know about his family, their own ordeal, and what Cale has to look forward too. It also assists us in knowing a little of what to expect in book 3. Another part I liked is how Gail's vision of his dead friend Zach lets us know about Gail's own doubts and fears. It should probably be mentioned that the zombies for the most part take a back seat to other issues in this novel. This is actually expected since we all know that, in a zombie apocalypse, the biggest monster becomes each other.
Overall I was just as happy with the second book as I was the first one. In many ways, I think it trumps the first book in both plot and character development. This is a series that will please both the action adventure fan and zombies lover.