The plot centers on the legendary Joe Ledger, a hardened Baltimore detective, who joins a secret response team to stop terrorists. The mission: prevent the baddies from infecting people with a terrible bio-weapon that, essentially, turns them into zombies.
As an anthropologist, I really appreciate author Sophie Little field’s attention to underlying cultural themes, explored amid the bleak setting of a zombie apocalypse. She’s a mother who awakens to find herself as a zombie that’s mysteriously turned back human.
Class then embarks on a dangerous search for her daughter, seeking help in a world filled with flesh-hungry Beaters (i.e. zombies). Interestingly, I first met author Rhiannon Crater online many years ago on an obscure forum for horror fans.
Fast-forward a decade later and Rhiannon is now an accomplished author being published by Tor Books. Among her most celebrated releases is the As The World Dies zombie apocalypse trilogy, beginning with The First Days.
The thematic pairing of bloggers / zombies may initially put off some genre purists. And, yes, there are sections in the book where author Mira Grant veers too deep into the technical aspects of online journalism.
The Newsflash series offers plenty of character and emotional depth, wrapped up by a largely satisfying ending. From Extinction Horizon and beyond, author Nicholas Smith feeds you an exquisite serving of frenzied zombie action.
This military story follows Master Sergeant Reed Beckham who, as leader of his Delta Force Team, has lived through his fair share of nightmarish missions. However, his worst hell begins when his team is sent in to investigate a super-secret research facility that’s gone dark.
An epic catastrophe soon unfolds when they discover that infected zombies have started to spread across cities, threatening human extinction. While coming across as a back-to-basics thriller, you’ll be surprised to find a host of intriguing characters woven into an addictive narrative fabric.
The most compelling quality of this series is its intricate balance of fast-paced action with deep characterizations. You’ll find yourself fully immersed in this addictive zombie plot, thanks to steady narrative groundwork laid out by each book.
At the start, you aren’t fully informed of what Melanie’s ‘gifts’ really are, leaving you guessing. Older than most books on this list, The Rising treks a father’s journey through a zombie apocalypse in an effort to rescue his son.
The plot centers on a group of students who find themselves trapped in school, with a zombie horde pounding to get in. In Cell, a zombie -like virus known as The Pulse is able to spread via cellphone reception, turning people into hungry, angry freaks.
However, I think the strong plot and surprisingly charming characters will definitely find an audience with adults alike. However, as far as zombie novels go, The Briefing seems to be a hugely overlooked gem for the genre (based on the many five-star reviews I’ve read).
Honestly, I could’ve doubled or tripled this list, but that would have made for an unwieldy blog. In the last decade, virtually hundreds of ground-breaking and undeniably extraordinary zombie novels have been released, and while I couldn’t include all the zombie novels that have blown me away over the last ten years on this list, I have narrowed it down to 20 bloody literary gems.