The List is the debut novel from Shannon Walters.
The story centers around Sara and her survival during the first days of the zombie outbreak. It doesn't start with Sara though.
The story starts with a little boy having nightmares and his father trying to convince him there are no such things as monsters. Totally plausible until the father gets the phone call that makes him realize that he's been lying to his child.
It's not clear how much time lapses between monsters being real and our introduction to Sara as she works in her garden. Sara's husband, Rob, yells for her and at first she thinks that he has gotten into a fight with their neighbor again.
Problem is there is a fight, but not in the usual manner. Something is horribly wrong with the neighbor and during the interaction, it's become clear he's attacked Rob. A potentially nasty situation is sidelined by a well placed gopher hole. Sara calls for medical help and for now, she remains blissfully unaware of the bigger picture.
The problem is the neighbor was infected. The neighbor infected Rob. Rob ended their family.
After a short period of understandable insanity, Sara gathers herself, some necessities, and begins her journey to find anyone she cared about. Her list. Her reason to continue.
In quick succession, Sara learns just how quickly things have gone downhill.
Finally, a ray of hope arrives in the form of Sara's friend, Heather. Both women are thrilled to see one another and after a fun outing in a deserted mall, they're off to find more hope in the form of Heather's father and a lost love. It winds up being a 50/50 deal- they find Heather's love, but her father wasn't so lucky.
Realizing she needs to continue finding her own hope, Sara leaves Heather with her love in a safe place.
Sara's hope comes in at 50/50 as well, but she comes to realize there is someone else she has to make sure is alive- herself. (it's not as hokey as it sounds!)
Great debut! Can't wait to see if there is a continuation in the story of these characters!