Tag Archive: Bowie Ibarra


Long overdue praise…

Cover of "Down the Road: On the Last Day&...

Cover of Down the Road: On the Last Day

There are multitudinous zombie books on the market.  They fill every shelf, nook, cranny, and niche that exists.  You can bake them, cook them, sew them, crochet them, knit them, take social and business advice from them, wear them, and draw them.  Apparently, there’s even a matching pillowcase and bedspread set for your bed replete with reaching zombie hands.  There is a veritable horde of cutesy zombie books for children.  Its plain to see that zombies can be enjoyed by a variety of different people.

It would seem that even the authors are no exception.  Bowie Ibarra, for one, certainly doesn’t pass up his chance.  In the second of the Down the Road Trilogy, titled “Down the Road: On the Last Day“, he gleefully butchers and terrorizes his way through the book.  I got the distinct impression that he had a hell of a time while writing the book – and that’s not an impression I get very often.  I could imagine him sitting at his computer, laughing hysterically at the antics of his characters.

The story is based on a host of characters trying to fend of zombies, which is essentially the story of most zombie novels.  Ibarra adds an extra element of on-going stress by introducing a few United Nations crazies into the mix.  One in particular, is hell-bent on the subjugation of every person he comes across.  Not exactly fitting company for a town full of people who are just trying to survive.  The resulting clash is one of the greatest endings that I have read to date.

If you get this book I promise you three things.  The first is that you should probably be prepared to cry.  Often.  The first chapter sucked me in, and then had me bawling like a baby.  There is also an unconfirmed rumor that the last fifty pages or so may have had me bawling.  Again, unconfirmed.  The second thing you should know about this book is that you will laugh yourself silly.  Ibarra has a knack for knowing when the subject matter gets too heavy.  A little bit of humor goes a long way to letting the reader know that the people in the book are multi-dimensional.  Yes, it’s the zombie apocalypse, and yes that sucks.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have a few laughs while you’re waiting for your number to be up.  My last promise to you is that you are sure to lose sleep.  Some of the images and scenarios are so disturbing that it was all I could do to lay down and not see them play across the dark of my eyelids.  I’m talking about truly horrific stuff, not just the usual “oh it’s a zombie – watch it eating guts” kind of thing.  Ibarra seems to be able to reach into your subconscious, take the most terrifying aspect of the zombie apocalypse, and drag it screaming into the light where it follows you into your dreams.

“Down the Road: On the Last Day” sees the return of characters Alex and Red, who were friends of the central character of “Down the Road”.  Alex and Red are back in all their conspiracy-theory glory, and having a great time with a host of new characters.  I’m hard pressed to find a favorite character, because each member of the cast is interesting, unique, and important in their own way.  They have very tangible weaknesses and strengths.  What makes them even more special is the fact that they are relatable.  They suffer our same perils.  They have affairs, get into arguments, fall into irrevocable lust, and learn to forgive.  Each character is so real that I couldn’t help but relating them to people I know in my own life.

“Down the Road: On the Last Day” ends just as it should, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fair.  If you’re looking for the zombie feel-good book of the year, you should probably look somewhere else.  If on the other hand you’re looking for a fast-paced and entertaining read, then you need this book in your hands right this minute!  I liked it so well that before I had even finished, I went over to amazon.com to pick out the next book, “Down the Road: The Fall of Austin“.  If pass this by, I guarantee you will regret it!

Don’t forget to hop on over to YouTube.com to see the exclusive book trailer for “Down the Road: On the Last Day”.

 

Cover of "Down the Road: A Zombie Horror ...

Cover via Amazon

It seems to me that while teachers may not garner the respect they deserve in every arena in life, they are standouts in the zombie genre. Bowie Ibarra gives us yet another tale of an educator surviving the apocalypse long enough to be the main character of a book.

I had heard about Bowie Ibarra’s “Down the Road” awhile ago, and it had been on my list to read.  It kept getting pushed back (I’m not sure why) until one day when I was looking at my e-mail.  Low and behold !  There is a second book.  My first thought was:  Damn.  I’m behind on yet another series.  Then I figured it didn’t matter and purchased it – and I’m super glad I did !

The story follows the trials, tribulations, and heartbreak of George – a teacher desperately trying to reach his family.  The fact that he’s stuck in a zombie apocalypse in the first place is at once unfair considering he has just lost his fiancee to a brutal murder a few months prior.  Things only seem to get worse just when they get better.  Eventually he gets stuck in a FEMA camp when he comes to a checkpoint in the road and is told if he doesn’t comply he will be “neutralized”.  At the FEMA camp, the people segregate by race and create gangs.  Amidst the chaos, several soldiers who were supposed to protect the people actually begin killing them as “examples”.  It seems there are no end of tragedies in this camp, including rape, murder, massive fights, and the obvious – zombie outbreak.  (Apparently nobody in charge is smart enough not to admit those who have bites.  Go figure.)

I should also note that the sex in this book didn’t seem out of place or unneccessary.  It fit the story, especially considering that according to David Moody on the cover it’s “zombie pulp fiction”.  The book isn’t overly showy with scenes of daring kung-fu or anything like that.  It’s simple and resonates with the reader.  If I were good with a gun, I could almost see myself in a similar situation (clumsiness and end-of-the-world panic aside).

One of my favorite aspects of Ibarra’s writing I can’t even really write about as it gives away too much of the ending.  What I can tell you is that the ending of the story is very unusual in that it looks at two different character’s perspectives almost simultaneously.  If I wanted to recreate the same effect, I know I could’t do it.  Ibarra has absolutely perfected the technique.  Another unique trait was the speed of the book.  Most books in the zombie genre either have a frantic pace or they change paces from relaxed to the-horde-is-on-your-doorstep panic.  For the most part, “Down the Road”  was evenly paced, with a few curve balls thrown in to remind the reader it was still the zombie apocalypse.  If I didn’t know better (and maybe I don’t) I would say Ibarra was using the zombie genre to critique human nature, and our priorities during a crisis.  A prime example would be the FEMA camp and the drug infested safe zone in which George is later invited to take shelter.  Honestly – who has time for drugs when the world is crawling, shambling, and slavering at your doorstep?

I was pleasantly surprised with “Down the Road” and I look forward to purchasing the next book and reading it soon.  I’m also looking forward to reading any other material Ibarra puts out on the same subject.