Sunday, January 26, 2014

Top Zombie Books

Ahh, the Zombie book.  Where imagination, horror and twisted humor reign.  Built on the blank slate of the 1968 Romero movie, Night of the Living Dead, the Zombie genre has gone comedy (Fido, Zombieland), horror (I Am Legend), and action (World War Z).  The latter, World War Z, came from the book of the same name - a book we found rather dull.  (Really?  The UN is going to save the world??)

It is in the Zombie books where you will find the brilliant writers.

I've read dozens of zombie books.  Most are ok.  Some I tossed in the trash within the first 50 pages.  But some are at the same story-telling excellence of Stephen King or Tom Clancy.   So let me share these few that are superior.  These will not disappoint.  You will not be able to put these books down.

Mountain Man, by Keith C. Blackmore

The first of three.  We just finished the third today and it was the author's storytelling skills that motivated us to take an hour to write this post. 

It is a story of the everyman.  You'll watch the characters make mistakes and stumble in the new world.  Some parts are tense, some gory, and some hilarious.  You'll experience the dialogue between a survivor and his bottle of booze! 

One aspect that earned my respect: nothing was repeated.  Every killing, chase and scene was unique and original.

The story is great, but the author takes it to a new level in humor, suspense and character development.  The Mountain Man series (3) are by far the best Zombie books ever.

Quotes from book 1:

The second undead crashed into him and bit into his visor.  The putrid smell of the decomposing flesh swamped Gus and almost made him swoon.  His shotgun pinned against his chest, he angled it under the zombie's working jaw and exploded the top of the dead fucker's head, flowering the ceiling in a nasty soup of decayed gore and brain matter.  Particles freckled Gus's visor, and the touch of it sent a Shit through his mind.

The reek of the dead hung throughout the house like a popped blood blister.  It would have made their eyes water if they had the moisture to spare.
Book 3:
They turned around and stopped in their tracks.  A crowd of undead came around the corner of the building, slinking and smiling as if they had just heard a truly amazing joke.  They swayed on their feet, gesturing with limbs that, in some cases, were not whole.  

He struggled to see, and gradually a black line of warriors standing before a crowd of Moe came into view.  The zombies approached the end of the slope and, heedless of the five-foot embankment, fell and landed flat on their faces.  The line of men moved forward, and the reaving began.  Axes and mauls rose and fell in time with war cries and the wail of the dead.

Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore

The author has published two in this series with a third expected in May.  The author is a true zombie aficionado, having published zombie 'non-fiction' books such as The Art of Zombie Warfare.  You'll learn things about zombies that no movie can convey.  Plus... you'll know what it is like to be a zombie.  The challenges, cravings, and benefits.

UPDATED 4.29.14:  His third book, Zombie, Indiana, is now in print.  It is his third in his Midwest series, but is a stand-alone story so you can read this first if you want.  Chapter 1 was our favorite, and it said nothing of zombies!

Day by Day Armageddon by J. L. Bourne

The author is an active duty officer in the US Navy.  His theme in the three-book series is in the form of a diary.  It starts when the world is normal, and you get to experience the "transition" in real time.  An excellent zombie story, but with some twists that will blow your mind.

UPDATED August 2016:  There are now four books in this series.  I noticed the story losing some of its excitement and originality in the third book.  I just bought the fourth book and stopped reading a short way into it.  I'd suggest that you get books #1 and #2, then move onto something else.

Black Tide Rising by John Ringo

Get ready for a high-speed family of four in this four-book series.  You'll experience day #1 when nothing seems wrong.  Then you'll flee to the Atlantic with this family when the world collapses under a [man made?] virus that turns humans into flesh-eating, yet living, zombies.

The author does an excellent job at predicting the challenges of organizing survivors, seeking supplies and re-establishing human civilization.

The Girl with All the Gifts, by M. R. Carey  (added Aug. 2016)

The zombie apocalypse appears to have run its course.  The zombies are slowing down, or have stopped all together.  There are still threats: raiders, soldiers, scientists and more.  This is a survival story about a beautiful young girl and her school teacher.  It is a story of optimism and determination.  

Some of the finest writing ever.  Very creative.  What an adorable girl!  You will love this story.

(Added Aug. 2018) The author has added a book to this series: The Boy on the Bridge. Same fantastic creativity and writing. 

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge, by Larry Correia and John Ringo (added Aug. 2018)

This is the first in a three-book series.  The story is set in the 80's and is about an ex-Marine, Chad, with a gift for combat. Through an act of God, he discovers the supernatural are real - all things evil and a few things not. (Think GhostBusters and Men In Black, but more raw.) Zombies, vampires, werewolves and plenty of monsters you've never heard of.  The battle scenes are many, brutal and unique. 


An additional recommendation: buy these books in paperback.  I've shared my copies with family, friends and co-workers with 100% success.

U/T: the better half for reviewing and adding to this post.  She has read all of these books too.

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