The year is 2018, and it has been nearly a decade since civilization ended at the hands of the undead grey men—all that remains are small bands of survivors huddling in isolated towns. Darrell Williams and his four year-old daughter Lela drift downriver after escaping from Stantonsburg, which has been overrun. They find shelter at an abandoned factory just outside of Alden Ridge, where Elaine Levine-Ward and several other survivors have been living ever since That Day. No one notices the menace that has drifted downriver with them.
When Darrell arrives, the rest of the factory’s inhabitants have not yet returned from scavenging sulfur at an abandoned farm. Elaine coerces Darrell into an expedition to find them—but the rescue ends in disaster. After nine years of constancy, the grey men are suddenly becoming more violent and aggressive, and frighteningly persistent. Soon other dark creatures—some of them human—begin creeping into town. Darrell and Elaine’s only hope of saving Alden Ridge from Stantonsburg’s fate is to somehow discover the secrets behind the rise of the grey men, and the fall of the modern world.
My opening and closing sentences are virtually unchanged, but the interior of the two paragraphs had a fair bit of work done on them. I think the ending sentence of the first paragraph is particularly more powerful than in the first version (which was pathetically generic, cliche, and empty, I now realize). Hopefully this new version of the hook will maintain a constant, high level of reader interest throughout. But there's always still room for improvement. Any thoughts?