Review of Bowie Ibarra’s “Down The Road: The Fall of Austin”
Down the Road: The Fall of Austin is not a continuation of the saga that Bowie Ibarra started with the first two novels in this series, but a story that runs parallel to it. More specifically, there are connections to the first book and the main character in that storyline, George, the teacher who is flees Austin as the zombie apocalypse gets rolling in Texas. The author takes things from a different angle, giving us a point of view from characters that were passers-by in the first story, but play a significant role here. This is somewhat of an ensemble piece, with an assortment of characters slowly migrating together toward the end of the story, but for the most part coming to grips with the apocalypse as individuals or in small groups in the rest of the tale. There are two fire teams from the army (who are at each other’s throats) that are assigned to clear out the capital building of viral threats, a police officer with a partner who seems to be a sadist, a teacher that George, the main character in the first book, had a tryst with before he fled Austin, a prison guard and the gang banger prisoner he frees as the world around them begins to fall apart.
This story, much like the other two in this trilogy, stands alone. You don’t need to know what came before to read this tale, though it doesn’t hurt to have read those books, in particular the first one. The spectacle of gore and zombie violence is pretty steady throughout this story, but it doesn’t overpower the story lines of the individual characters and groups that inhabit this world. Each character is well defined with clear motivations and developed personalities. I might not have agreed with everything that happened or how everyone reacted, but it made sense in relationship to the plot and who these people were. For the record, I wasn’t a big fan of the second book of this series, primarily because of the broad brush strokes the author used to paint the military and government in a negative light. I was pleased to see a more evenhanded approach in this book-there were evil men, but also good ones, who donned uniforms in this tale. Overall, the story was entertaining and filled with ripe imagery, though I did feel that every now and then the author would choose to dip into the similes and metaphors a bit more heavily than necessary, but it didn’t detract from what was, in essence, a quality zombie apocalypse tale that had the advantage of being in a local that the author knows and loves, which allowed him to paint a highly detailed picture of a world being swallowed up by destruction.
Down The Road: The Fall of Austin can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Down-Road-Austin-Bowie-Ibarra/dp/1934861235/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1305947355&sr=1-1
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