When the opportunity to write a book about small-town zombies popped up (not unlike a pocket gopher sticking its head out of a hole in the ground: never quite expected, but not that strange, really, when you think about it) I was struck right away by one pretty big problem:
There aren’t that many fresh dead people in your (above) average small town. Which means, most likely, zombies aren’t that big a threat in the more rural portions of the heartland. You can’t start a classic zombie apocalypse without a few dead people to kick things off. (I’m not talking about those “zombies” you see in movies and such nowadays who are really just sick folks with drippy orifices and illness-induced psychosis; I’m talking about the good old slow-moving walking dead.)
Your urban zombie is a different proposition, of course. High population density means that zombie-ism in a city would sweep through like most any other kind of epidemic. You’d have lots of cases of neighbor biting neighbor, spawning more zombies who’d go on to bite their mailmen and taxi drivers and parole officers, and so forth. You’ve all seen those movies.
But in a small town, someplace mostly agrarian? It’s a lot harder to hit that zombie critical mass.