Killer TBR: Must Love Zombies

Warm Bodies by Isaac MarionSo you’ve read The Walking Dead graphic novels thus far, and every week you eagerly await the new episode of the television version. Perhaps you’ve even read Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies. (No? According to Angie Barry, you should.) Naturally, you’ve read the classic World War Z by Max Brooks, and rolled your eyes at the less-than-impressive trailer for the upcoming movie.

So what’s next? When the librarian can’t help you with a recommendation, come peruse our selection. Let us tell you a little about the paranormal authors we know and love.

First up, let us introduce Stephen Blackmoore.

Right here on CE, we have an excerpt of City of the Lost, his first book, so you can taste test your taste for zombie noir. In City of the Lost:

Joe Sunday has been a Los Angeles lowlife for years, but his life gets a whole lot lower when he is killed by the rival of his crime boss—only to return as a zombie. His only hope is to find and steal a talisman that he learns can grant immortality. But, unfortunately for Joe, every other undead thug and crime boss in Los Angeles is looking for the same thing.

Blackmoore’s second book, Dead Things, is set in the same universe, but features powerful necromancer Eric Carter, who’s out to avenge his sister’s murder. Catch the Fresh Meat review right here to see whether this might be down your dark alley.

But maybe, despite your love of zombies, what you’re looking for is something a little less noir, a little more…poetic. Then perhaps Chris F. Holm is for you.

In Holm’s first book, Dead Harvest (for which we have both an excerpt and a Fresh Meat), you meet Sam Thornton, Collector of Souls. Unfortunately, things are rarely simple for poor Sam.

Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure their souls are dispatched to the appropriate destination. But when he’s dispatched to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before: “No.”

I’d like to say life and death get easier for Sam in the second book, but they don’t. Although, as Neliza Drew points out in her Fresh Meat of The Wrong Goodbye, they can be fun. As in “demon opium den” fun. Or even “cross-dressing psychic using a demon as a piñata” fun.

No? Not quite right, either? Well, perhaps the tremendously popular and talented Jonathan Maberry might be more your thing. As the description of Patient Zero (for which we have an extended excerpt here on CrimeHQ) explains,

When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills . . . and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills.

Maberry has a long-running paranormal series about Ledger’s Echo Team and while they’re not always fighting zombies, they’re endlessly entertaining.

And speaking of our fighting forces, if you want to get down and dirty in the fight against things that go bump in the night, sign up with Weston Ochse’s SEAL Team 666. In her Fresh Meat review, Katherine Tomlinson says Ochse “tells his story with a muscular grace that borders on dark poetry at times. He describes war dog Hoover eviscerating a demon, jerking ‘the jugular free like a dirt-encrusted vine.’ It’s a horrific and evocative image and it stays with you.” It certainly does.

For more things that go bump in the night, one mustn’t forget Preston & Child’s Agent Pendergast. Love him or hate him, he’s been battling the forces of darkness for years.

Perhaps you’re hoping to get your teenager interested in a little zombie love of his or her own? Then may we recommend Hold Me Closer, Necromancer and Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride? Sam (Samhain) LaCroix has a werewolf for a girlfriend and a necromancer for a mentor…along with the usual teenage traumas.

And then, maybe you’re looking for a little zombie short fiction to keep you entertained at lunch. (Or maybe you’re on the zombie diet—read about zombies, lose your appetite.) We can help you out there, too. Try out Twenty-First Century Dead, with such outstanding authors as Orson Scott Card, Chelsea Cain, and Duane Swiercyznski among many others. You can get a “taste” by reading the full story “A Mother’s Love” by John McIlveen, right here on CrimeHQ. And if you find you like short, you can pick up The New Dead, with stories by Max Brooks, John Connolly, and Kelly Armstrong.

Now it’s your turn. What have we missed? What needs to be on our shelves? What should we be recommending to people?


  1. Keziah Hill

    For an Australian flavour try Flesh and Skin both by Kylie Scott.

  2. lynette barfield

    I was impressed with Guillermo Del Toro’s Strain trilogy. Couldn’t wait to finish one and start another.

  3. Anne Marie

    I like the Ledger books, but for a more “realistic “read Rhiannon Frater needs to be mentioned. Her first book The First Days: As The World Dies has some kick-ass women, a road trip and some nice guys.

  4. Clare 2e

    @Keziah Hill, @lynette, and @bastetjones:

    Thanks very much for the expanded recommendations–exactly what we were hoping to get! If you think of more, keep them coming!

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