Posted on March 16, 2007 by Flames
Written by Bowie Ibarra
Reviewed by Matt M McElroy
A bizarre plague of the walking dead.
A nation desperate for survival.
It could be the end of the world.
Down the Road is the tale of one man’s attempt at surviving a plague of zombies overtaking the nation. George Zaragosa, like many Americans, did not believe the news reports of the dead rising until it was nearly too late. He finally decides to flee his apartment in Austin and head “home” to San Uvalde. This is the tale of that trip. I like how the author works in the book’s title more than once throughout the text, the addition is clever and not forced.
As George makes his way through a city torn up by zombies, looters, police and other survivors the reader learns bits and pieces of his past. These story elements are inter-mixed with the ongoing “current” plot as flashbacks and memories. The author handles this rather well, blending something from the survival plot with character development.
However, George Zaragosa is not that interesting of a character. He is a survivor, he’ll do what it takes to get through the mess around him, and yet, it is not George that makes Down the Road worth reading; it is the supporting cast that George meets along the way that stands out. The author brings to life many of the characters George interacts with throughout the story with descriptive writing that shows off personality quirks, accents and more. The “villain” of the tale (other than the zombies) Alphonso, is a cold killer with just enough crazy to make him really scary. When George is picked up by federal agents they are written in a way that shows their confusion and burnout. The other survivors at the FEMA camp are a varied lot of characters, some good and some bad, while others have been devastated by the end of the world. Each of them adds a new element to the story that fleshes out the tale to create a good story, one fraught with solid characters and very well written gore. In other words, this isn’t your average zombie tale, this is a story about how people interact with one another.
Down the Road is a relatively short read, wrapping up in 168 pages or so. I read it in one day while traveling across the state of Wisconsin. The adventure George has throughout the book is a fun and scary read for anyone who enjoys zombie fiction. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel.
Reviewer: Matt M McElroy