Zombie Novels: The Best of the Best

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Zombie novels are the most fascinating books in the horror genre. Every zombie story has something that makes it special, whether it’s excess gore, character development, a crazy protagonist, or unique humor. I’ve read dozens of zombie books this year, and here are the four that I enjoyed the most.

Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story by Ian McClellan

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This gem of a novel was one of the first independently published books that I’ve ever read, and I must say that McClellan gives a good name to indie authors. The story is original, the characters are likeable, and the humor is to die for. Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story had me laughing out loud. I wasn’t just chuckling, I was laughing until my sides hurt.

McClellan has such a witty writing style, and the main character, Lance, is hilarious. He’s an unemployed factory worker who struggles to survive the wrath of the zombies. Unfortunately for Lance, the people who live in his town aren’t terribly intelligent. The first day of the zombie apocalypse is a rough one for Lance. His wife leaves him, the boy next door attacks him, his truck is stolen, and he becomes deathly ill. Not a great day for Lance! On the bright side, he gets to team up with his friend Larry to take a trip to the CDC. They want to help find a cure for the zombie virus, but they’re not afraid to enjoy a few beers along the way.

The best part of Zombie/Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story isn’t the plot, although the story is wonderfully original. The best part of McClellan’s book is the pithy dialogue. The author pulls the reader right into the story with his humor, and it had me turning pages like a bat out of hell, just to find out what Lance was going to say next. You rarely find a book that you wish would never end, but this is one of those extraordinary novels that’s so enjoyable that you’re sad when it’s over.

Zombie Apocalypse 2012: A Political Horror Story is one of the few books that I’ve read twice. I only reread books when they’re very special. If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and download it now. It’s only 99 cents on Kindle (a bargain for such a fantastic book).

http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Apocalypse-2012-Political-Horror/dp/147820138X/ref=la_B0088Q14BM_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380479184&sr=1-1

The Road to Hell is Paved with Zombies by Cedric Nye

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The Road to Hell is Paved with Zombies by Cedric Nye is one of the most unique stories I have ever read (in any genre). I usually stick to zombie books, and even though this one took place during the zombie apocalypse, there were many other non-zombie related issues that were covered. The main character, Jango, was abused as a child. As a result, he spent the majority of his life learning how to fight, which came in quite handy when the zombies invaded!

The book starts off with a nail-biting zombie attack, and it pulls the reader right into the story. I was hooked from the very first page. I also noticed in the first few pages that Nye has a great sense of humor. Zombie stories with a little humor thrown in are the best, in my humble opinion.

It’s obvious that Nye knows a lot about weapons because there were so many details about the various guns, knives, and sticks that the protagonist used to defend himself. There was also quite a bit of gore in the book, but it wasn’t over-the-top gory (the author provided the perfect amount of carnage).

About halfway through, the story takes an unexpected turn. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll let you see for yourself!! Even though Jango runs into a few other characters, the story mostly revolves around his journey to discover himself in a post-apocalyptic world. Fortunately, he spent most of his life learning how to survive calamitous situations, so the zombie apocalypse is right up his alley!

If you’re looking for a deep yet fun read, I would highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of The Road to Hell is Paved with Zombies. I would add a link to his book here, but it was temporarily removed from Amazon because Cedric Nye just got a book deal with Severed Press to rerelease his series. Congratulations, Mr. Nye! His books should be back up on Amazon by the end of October 2013.

The Longest Road by A.S. Thompson

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I absolutely loved The Longest Road. This book has everything: action-packed zombie gore, likeable main characters, and a touch of humor. There are two books in the series that have been published, and a third book is in the works. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book because even though the first book has a satisfying ending, there is a bit of a cliffhanger that made me want to dive right into the next book. If you’re a zombie fanatic like me, you’ll love this book!

The Longest Road has sprinting zombies as well as slower moving zombies (my personal favorite), so this book will be enjoyable for all zombie fans. The book starts off with five cousins on a hunting trip (only deer, not zombies), and they meet up with the rest of their family for a huge picnic afterward. Unfortunately for them, the zombies end up attacking their family reunion, but the cousins are able to flee the house in an RV. After the initial zombie attack, the story picks up five months later after they drive the RV from the East Coast to the Midwest.

I really enjoyed the twists and turns throughout the book, and there were a few plot twists that I didn’t see coming (which is something I love in zombie books). I think The Longest Road would be a great action movie. It has a very strong plot, a good amount of humor, and lots of thrilling zombie kills. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes zombies. It’s only $2.99 on Kindle, so you should check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Longest-Road-Zombie-Novel/dp/0987602314/ref=la_B00CLIONXY_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380479091&sr=1-1

The Hand That Feeds by Michael W. Garza

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, because it doesn’t conform to the average script for zombie literature (survivor kills zombies, runs away, hides, kills more zombie, etc.). Garza’s story has so much more substance than the average zombie book.

The Hand That Feeds focuses on one family. John and Angela’s marriage is held together by one thing: their son, Alex. The reader finds out early on that Angela has severe mental problems, and her love of Alex is the only thing that keeps her from completely losing her marbles. Alex goes missing and returns with a mysterious sickness, and Angela and John are grief stricken when their son dies at such a young age, which is a natural reaction. What isn’t so natural is what happens when Alex reanimates as a zombie. This is when you find out how completely insane Angela really is, much to John’s despair.

I don’t want to give away too much, because I want you to experience this book for yourself without any spoilers. But I will say that this book kept me on my toes the whole time I was reading. The first half of the book is very different from the second half, and it reads like two completely different books (bonus: two books in one!). I loved both halves, and I can’t decide which part I liked better. The first half really pulled me into the story and made me care for the characters, and the second half was packed with nail-biting action and lots of gore!

The Hand That Feeds is beautifully written. The descriptions are so vivid that I felt like I was in the room with John and Angela as their world came crashing down around them. I had the opportunity to speak with the author, and he told me that he’s working on the follow up to The Hand That Feeds right now (score!). I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book! If you haven’t picked up a copy of Michael W. Garza’s masterpiece yet, I highly recommend that you do so now! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

http://www.amazon.com/Hand-That-Feeds-Michael-Garza/dp/1925047199/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380478957&sr=8-1&keywords=the+hand+that+feeds

“The World’s End” Movie Review – Zombie Style

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Verdict: The World’s End was not nearly as good as Shaun of the Dead, but it was almost as good as Hot Fuzz. The best part of the movie was the opening scene when I realized that the actress sitting next to Simon Pegg was the woman who played “Mary” in Shaun of the Dead. I recognized her at the same time as my spouse, who shouted, “There’s a girl in the garden!” while I yell-whispered, “Hey, it’s Mary!” We were (rightfully) shushed, but it was worth it. My spouse and I make a good team because we both have an incurable addiction to movies.

I saw three movies in the theater this weekend: The Butler, Blue Jasmine, and The World’s End. They were all excellent, but I only had time to do my zombie review on one of them, and I chose The World’s End because it was already apocalyptic-ish. And I couldn’t exactly turn Oprah into a zombie. You have to respect Lady O!

If you’re a fan of Edgar Wright’s work, then you’ll definitely enjoy The World’s End. The strongest part of this movie, like all of Wright’s films, was the dialogue. The drunken banter in this movie was exceptional, and it made you forget about the holes in the plot. The movie follows a group of five grown men who revisit their high school town to go on a drinking binge to accomplish one of their childhood goals: to have a pint at every bar on the Golden Mile, which is a stretch of twelve bars in the small town of Newton Haven.

Everything seems to be going well during the pub crawl until the group arrives at the fourth bar, where the five friends are attacked by aliens who have taken over the bodies of the Newton Haven residents (creepy stuff). Naturally, there are still many laughs to be had after the aliens take over, but there are several plot holes that left me scratching my head. Of course, this movie was more about the laughs than the plot, so it wasn’t a huge deal.

While watching The World’s End, I had to insert zombies into the plot because it’s one of my favorite pastimes. It was easy to imagine zombies gracing the scenes of this movie; I just had to replace the blue filled aliens with flesh eating zombies. Easy peasy! If The World’s End was a zombie movie, this is how it should have turned out:

Turn: I would have liked to see Oliver (played by Martin Freeman) turn into a zombie. I didn’t have anything against his character, but he’s just so darn cute that I’d be curious to see how he’d look as a zombie. My guess: adorable!

Get Eaten: I think Gary (played by Simon Pegg) should have been eaten by a zombie. Not that I didn’t love his character, he was just so drunk throughout the whole movie that he wouldn’t have felt a thing if he was devoured by zombies.

Kill: I would have wanted Andy (played by Nick Frost) to kill a zombie. At the beginning of the movie, he was a bit of a square, but halfway through he turned into a badass. He was killing aliens left and right with his bare hands. You don’t get to see zombies killed in hand-to-hand combat very often (mostly because of the dangers of being bitten), so it would have been really cool to see Andy tear apart a zombie with his bare hands.

The World’s End is hilarious, and it’s even more enjoyable if you’ve had a few drinks before the movie (just a suggestion). I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys funny post-apocalyptic movies. Even if you don’t get to see this one in the theater, you should at least catch it when it comes out on DVD.

I give The World’s End 4 out of 5 brains.