Here's the deal this time: I've been mulling over everyone's comments on my prior version, and reading the excellent Post-Hook-Contest Reflections (One and Two) at Fangs, Fur, & Fey, and something has occurred to me. My prior hook, even when tightened, was just too long. I decided to go look once again at the backs of some of books I've previously bought, and this also helped remind me that less is more. While I do still think it is important to hint a depth in a hook, I also think it's good not to be too complex. So here goes:
This one is only 128 words, rather than the prior 212. I know that it completely ignores some interesting plot elements that the other versions included, but that's kind of the idea. As the judge at the FFF contest said, I need to focus on the forest more so than the trees. How do you think I did?
In 2018, Darrell Williams is living in an abandoned factory near the ruins of Alden Ridge. Nine years have passed since the undead grey men ended civilization, and now all that remains are small bands of survivors huddling in isolated towns. Darrell’s companions have turned the factory into something of a fortress—but as Alden Ridge starts to undergo another transformation, even this is of little solace. The landscape of the town is being twisted by a dark force that also makes the grey men increasingly aggressive. For Darrell to have any hope of saving himself and the others, he must unearth the truth about what is happening to Alden Ridge . . . but his discoveries will lead him to the most difficult decision of his life.
Rip away, everyone.
UPDATE: I've made a slight change to the last sentence, combining it with the one before. I think this gives a better beat for the ending of the selection. Thoughts?