I have never heard of C. Dulaney before reading this story; I still don’t know squat about the author, but I am huge fan of Permuted Press, and I’ve enjoyed 95% of the books that they have released. When I was offered the chance to review this new novel, I didn’t realize that it was the first in a series. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Dulaney didn’t ambush readers with a sudden cliffhanger. As a matter of fact, this book could function as a stand-alone, but I am looking forward to finishing the series.Roads Less Traveled: The Planis divided into three parts. Part One, Down The Road, begins on October 1st. A young woman named Kasey actually had a “Z-plan” in place before the zombie outbreak in the story. She and her friends are apparently huge zombiephiles.
“Sure it might sound crazy, but who’s alive right now and who’s not?”
Ben and Jake are Kasey’s two friends that agreed to the Z-plan, but the three of them are joined by Jake’s grandmother Nancy, and some fellow college students who are caught up with the main trio during their escape from the city to Kasey’s home in the Appalachian Mountains. The POV switches between Ben and Kasey throughout Part One, until their storylines merge on October 6th.
Part Two, The Road Home, begins on October 7th, and switches POV to a friend of Kasey’s named Mia, who was briefly included in a phone call with Kasey in Part One. Mia runs out of supplies in her home, and tries to escape to Kasey’s safe haven. Along the way, she meets a little boy named Ashton at a rest area, which further complicates Mia’s dire situation. The POV switches temporarily to Kyra, who is abrasive towards Kasey, and causes one problem after another for her group. Instead of eliciting sympathy, Kyra’s thoughts and actions only justify the hatred readers are sure to feel towards her character. When the storylines of Mia and Kyra finally merge, the cast of characters find themselves in a downward spiral, despite their carefully laid out survival plan.
Part Three, Road To Nowhere, which begins on October 20th, was emotionally devastating. The horrors that Kasey and her group have to face had me in tears. In Part Two, another survivor group is momentarily mentioned in passing, and they predictably clash towards the end of Part Three, but, even so, I was surprised by the fates of the main characters.
I thought Roads Less Traveled: The Plan was a great start to a series, but the beginning of the book requires a little patience. The zombie action doesn’t happen right away, and there is more focus on the relationships between characters than killing the undead, but the depth of the characters makes up for the lack of gore. I think it’s safe to assume we will see more conflicts with the undead in the sequel, and I can’t wait to read what else Dulaney has in store for Kasey’s group.
Other zombie stories might inspire you to pack a bug-out bag, but Dulaney’s undead crucible will have you carrying your survival gear with you at all times.