Robyn Cartwright was an astrophysics student when in May of 2004, the dead rose. Her group maintained their safe haven for a year before the dead breached their walls. Now nine years later, Robyn has found work as salvaging for Mission Safe Zone. Mission is led by council, and a new society has formed. With the zombie problem kept in check, a new situation arises. Five women have gone missing, and some now believe a serial killer has emerged. To add insult to injury, the virus, or whatever it is, is mutating.
Fans of the Rise series will remember Amanda from the previous books, a background character in the first two books; her face scarred by burns obtained when a burning car exploded. Amanda is the only returning character from the previous book, making Dead Inside from Permuted Press readable as both a standalone book or part of the series.
The narration of Dead inside is a mix between third person singular with limited first person narrative told from Amanda's perspective. Discounting one small bump in the road at about the 30% mark, the transition of narration is successful and the benefit of providing Amanda her own voice pays off.
Preceded by Rise and Age of the Dead, Dead Inside is an excellent addition to the series. The struggle of the ongoing zombie battle and fight for survival in a dystopian world, along with the secondary crusade of capturing a serial killer creates a well contrasted juxtaposition in a clash of old vs. new world order.
The journey is over, and Gareth Wood leaves concludes with an afterword notifying readers this will be his last book in the Rise universe. The ending to Dead Inside, and subsequently the Rise series altogether, was emotional and will leave readers satisfied, but still wanting more. Should he choose to someday revisit the series, an opportunity to tell the story about the infections origin and continuing on with the mutation arc could result in something special.
Interesting tidbit: Gemalte Leiche, Amanda's favorite band, was made up by Gareth and you'll find references to them in all three books. He's even given them a Facebook page!