I want to get out of the way that this is the first zombie apocalypse book I've read in...forever. I love the genre for movies, but I've always thought it would be too tough to consistently capture the tension and horror in books.
Put that concern aside, because I think North manages to pull off a pretty dang good semblance of the insanity that many zombie movies use to present their stories. "Dead Tide" uses a short chapter thriller structure to establish the pace. This is made a little tougher to pull off by jumping across multiple character points of view, but it generally works.
The story opens with the zombie plague already ramping up. There's a mix of people who seem to know what's going on and people who have no idea what a zombie is. There's also a mix of people who are ready for chaos and people who crumble at the slightest hint of trouble. Sort of like humans in general.
One thing I really liked about North's choices was that the protagonists were a broad mix, with about half of them fitting nicely into a basket of deplorables. We have no shortage of terrible people, and a zombie apocalypse would not be the shining moment for even many decent people.
The ending isn't a cliffhanger but sets the stage for sequels, so if that bugs you, you've been warned. I'll be picking up the next book, partly because I want to see if a couple of the characters are actually infected (which is implied but never resolved).
Violence and gore are mostly kept at a PG-13 or soft R rating, so even people who might be queasy should be able to handle this zombie story.
A final note: The book would easily move from a four to a five star rating with a strong editing pass. There were a lot of little errors that should have been caught/corrected during editing. These aren't necessarily the sort of errors that would bother a lot of readers, but it's something that detracted from what was an otherwise enjoyable reading experience.