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25 Of The Best Zombie & Post Apocalyptic Books That I’ve Ever Read

There are many ways that the world could end, and I’m personally prepping for a few of them. This post is meant to be a “fun” guide to some of the Best Zombie & Post Apocalyptic Books Of All Time.

While some will  disagree, this is a list of books that I’ve personally read…

FYI, this list is a mix of the classic and lesser known Indie authors…

#25 The Walk by Lee Goldberg

It’s one minute after the Big One. Marty Slack, a TV network executive, crawls out from under his Mercedes, parked outside what once was a downtown Los Angeles warehouse, the location for a new TV show. Downtown LA is in ruins. The sky is thick with black smoke. His cell phone is dead. The freeways are rubble. The airport is demolished. Buildings lay across streets like fallen trees. It will be days before help can arrive.

Marty has been expecting this day all his life. He’s prepared. In his car are a pair of sturdy walking shoes and a backpack of food, water, and supplies. He knows there is only one thing he can do … that he must do: get home to his wife Beth, go back to their gated community on the far edge of the San Fernando Valley.

All he has to do is walk. But he will quickly learn that it’s not that easy. His dangerous, unpredictable journey home will take him through the different worlds of what was once Los Angeles. Wildfires rage out of control. Flood waters burst through collapsed dams. Natural gas explosions consume neighborhoods. Sinkholes swallow entire buildings. After-shocks rip apart the ground. Looters rampage through the streets.

There’s no power. No running water. No order.

Marty Slack thinks he’s prepared. He’s wrong. Nothing can prepare him for this ordeal, a quest for his family and for his soul, a journey that will test the limits of his endurance and his humanity, a trek from the man he was to the man he can be … if he can survive The Walk. – Download: The Walk by Lee Goldberg


#24 Suffer The Children by Craig Dilouie

Read the review by Audio Book Reviewer

One day, the children die. Three days later, they come back.
And ask for blood.

With blood, they stop being dead. They become the children they once were.

But only for a short time. 

Too soon, they die again. And need more blood to live …

The average body holds ten pints of blood.

How far would you go for someone you love? Dowload: Suffer the Children


#23 A New World Chaos by John O’Brien

Read the review by Buy Zombie

There is no sanctuary. That was taken away in the blink of an eye. Humanity went out not with a whimper, but a bang.

Jack, a sometimes humorous, sometimes philosophical ex-special operations pilot and soldier is one of the few left to struggle through the desolation left in the aftermath; seeking to survive as a new ferocious species emerges from the rubble, hungry and unrelenting.

Will his special forces training be enough? Will he be able to keep his children safe and guide the few survivors through perils that now roam the world they once knew?

Or will the hordes that now own the night prevail, forever removing the last of mankind from existence? Download: A New World: Chaos


#22 The Old Man And The Wasteland by Nick ColeRead the review by Tzer Island

Part Hemingway, part Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, a suspenseful odyssey into the dark heart of the post-apocalyptic American Southwest.

Forty years after the destruction of civilization, human beings are reduced to salvaging the ruins of a broken world. One survivor’s most prized possession is Hemingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea.

With the words of the novel echoing across the wasteland, a living victim of the Nuclear Holocaust journeys into the unknown to break a curse. Download: The Old Man and the Wasteland


#21 EX-Heroes by Peter Clines

Read the review by SF Signal

Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. The Mighty Dragon. They were heroes, using their superhuman abilities to make Los Angeles a better place.

Then the plague of living death spread around the globe. Billions died, civilization fell, and the city of angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland.

Now, a year later, the Mighty Dragon and his companions protect a last few thousand survivors in their film-studio-turned-fortress, the Mount. Scarred and traumatized by the horrors they’ve endured, the heroes fight the armies of ravenous ex-humans at their citadel’s gates, lead teams out to scavenge for supplies—and struggle to be the symbols of strength and hope the survivors so desperately need.

But the hungry ex-humans aren’t the only threats the heroes face. Former allies, their powers and psyches hideously twisted, lurk in the city’s ruins. And just a few miles away, another group is slowly amassing power . . . led by an enemy with the most terrifying ability of all. Download: Ex-Heroes


#20 The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there.

They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love.

Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation. Download: The Road


#19 Indian Hill: A Michael Talbot Adventure by Mark Tufo

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and for Michael Talbot that step is taken at Indian Hill with his best friend Paul Ginson by his side.  Together they grow up, meet girls, and go off to college.

And that’s where everything changes.

While out on a date Mike, along with thousands of others, are quite literally abducted by aliens.  Known as the Progerians, their mission is to determine how best to conquer the human race.  To that end they force the men to fight one another in death matches.  The women are given to the victors as spoils.

Believing his friend to be dead, and furious with the government’s refusal to even acknowledge what happen to him, Paul decides to take matters into his own hands.  The aliens may have killed his best friend but they aren’t going take his planet.  Not if he has anything to say about it. Download: Indian Hill


#18 Holding Their Own by Joe Nobody

Read the review by SHTF Blog

This first book of the Holding Their Own series, A Story of Survival, is set in the year 2015, when the world is burdened by the second Great Depression. The United States, already weakened by internal strife, becomes the target of an international terror plot.

A series of attacks results in thousands of casualties and disables the country’s core infrastructure. The combination of economic hardship and the staggering blow of the terror attacks results in a collapse of the government.

This is a realistic story of how an average, middle class couple survives the cascading events brought on by international politics, high tech military actions and the eventual downfall of society.

All of their survival skills are tested during the action packed expedition in a world that resembles the American West of 200 years past. Download: Holding Their Own


#17 One Second After by William R. Forstchen

A story which can be all too terrifyingly real…a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages…A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP).  A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.
Months before publication, One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second.
It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. In the tradition of On the Beach, Fail Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future…and our end. Download: One Second After

#16 The Mountain And The City by Brian Martinez

Read the review by Blog of Manly

An epidemic has killed off most humans, turning the rest into beasts with sharp nails, keen senses and an insatiable hunger. Now, years later, a solitary survivor hides in a trailer above a dead city. This is life with the door and windows taped shut, where survival comes down to two, simple rules: stay quiet, and protect the air.

One day, a visitor comes up the mountain. It’s a meeting that leads to a fateful decision, and a sacrifice that will change everything.

Collected here for the first time, The Mountain and The City is a post-apocalyptic serial that has kept its faithful readers on the edge of their seats time and time again. Download: The Mountain and The City


#15 The Infection by Craig Dilouie

Read the review by Zombie Philes

Five ordinary people must pay the price of survival at the end of the world. A mysterious virus suddenly strikes down millions. Three days later, its victims awake with a single purpose: spread the Infection. As the world lurches toward the apocalypse, some of the Infected continue to change, transforming into horrific monsters.

In one American city, a small group struggles to survive. Sarge, a tank commander hardened by years of fighting in Afghanistan. Wendy, a cop still fighting for law and order in a lawless land. Ethan, a teacher searching for his lost family. Todd, a high school student who sees second chances in the end of the world. Paul, a minister who wonders why God has forsaken his children.

And Anne, their mysterious leader, who holds an almost fanatical hatred for the Infected.Together, they fight their way to a massive refugee camp where thousands have made a stand. There, what’s left of the government will ask them to accept a mission that will determine the survival of them all–a dangerous journey back onto the open road and into the very heart of Infection. Download: The Infection


#14 The End by G. Michael Hopf

Young Gordon Van Zandt valued duty and loyalty to country above all, so after 9/11, he dropped out of college and joined the Marine Corps. This idealism vanished one fateful day in a war-torn city in Iraq.

Ten years later, he is still struggling with the ghosts of his past when a new reality is thrust upon him and his family: North America, Europe and the Far East have all suffered a devastating Super-EMP attack, which causes catastrophic damage to the nation’s power grid and essential infrastructures.

Everything from cell phones to cars to computers cease to function, putting society at a standstill. With civilization in chaos, Gordon must fight for the limited and fast dwindling resources. He knows survival requires action and cooperation with his neighbors, but as the days wear on, so does all sense of civility within his community—and so he must make some of the most difficult decisions of his life in order to ensure his family’s safety. Download: The End


#13 Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. 

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Collins delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Download: The Hunger Games

#12 Critical Dawn by Darren Wearmouth & Colin F. Barnes

Some mysteries should stay buried. Archaeologists Pippa Quinn and Charlie Jackson find advanced technology in undisturbed 16th Century graves. A portent, the discovery precedes thousands of giant sinkholes opening up across the globe as extreme weather threatens the population. Charlie suspects the two are related. 

A centuries old plan unfolds. Pippa, Charlie, and the rest of humanity will have to fight for survival, sacrificing the life they’ve known to protect Earth from an ancient and previously dormant enemy. Even that might not be enough as this new enemy exacts a plan that will change the course of humankind forever.

Critical Dawn is an apocalyptic ride to the very edge of human existence. Factions will battle for control of the Earth—if they can avoid the threat of extinction. Download: Critical Dawn


#11 Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

Something flashes in nine-year-old Swan’s brain, telling her that trouble is coming. Maybe it’s her mother, fed up with her current boyfriend and ready to abandon their dismal trailer park and seek a new home. But something far worse is on the horizon.
Death falls from the sky—nuclear bombs which annihilate American civilization. Though Swan survives the blast, this young psychic’s war is just beginning.
As the survivors try to make new lives in the wasteland, an evil army forms, intent on murdering all those tainted with the diseases brought by fallout.
When Swan finds a mysterious amulet that could hold the key to humankind’s salvation, she draws the attention of a man more dangerous than any nuclear bomb.
To rescue mankind, this little girl will have to grow up fast. Download: Swan Song

#10 A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter J. Miller Jr.

In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz.

From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes.

Seriously funny, stunning, and tragic, eternally fresh, imaginative, and altogether remarkable, A Canticle for Leibowitz retains its ability to enthrall and amaze.

It is now, as it always has been, a masterpiece. Download: A Canticle for Leibowitz


#9 The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come. In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months–the world.

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city–a city that includes his wife and son–before it is too late. Download: The Strain


#8 Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

n the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half.

Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human. Download: Rot & Ruin


#7 I Am Legend by Robert Matheson

Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left. 

I Am Legend was a major influence in horror and brought a whole new thematic concept to apocalyptic literature. Several humanistic and emotional themes in this book blend the horror genre with traditional fiction: we see Neville as an emotional person, and observe as he suffers bouts of depression, dips into alcoholism and picks up his strength again to fight the vampiric bacteria that has infected (and killed off) most of humankind. Neville soon meets a woman, Ruth, (after three years alone), who seems to be uninfected and a lone survivor. The two become close and he learns from Ruth that the infected have learned to fight the disease and can spend short amounts of time in the daylight, slowly rebuilding strength and society as it was. 

The novel was adapted to film in 1964 as The Last Man on Earth, as Omega Man in 1971 and finally as I am Legend in 2007, starring Will Smith. Download: I Am Legend


#6 Wool by Hugh Howey

Read the review by SYFY Pop

This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden.

But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism.

Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

Download: Wool


#5 The Remaining by D.J. Molles

Read the review by Blog of Manly

Read our interview

In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts.

The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Someday soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission: Subvenire refectus.

To rescue and rebuild Download: The Remaining


#4 The Stand by Stephen King

Read the review  by World’s Strongest Librarian

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people.

A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail — and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

In 1978 Stephen King published The Stand, the novel that is now considered to be one of his finest works. But as it was first published, The Stand was incomplete, since more than 150,000 words had been cut from the original manuscript. Now Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil has been restored to its entirety. Download: The Stand


#3 Adrian’s Undead Diary: Dark Recollections by Chris Philbrook

Read our interview with Chris Philbrook

Beheading a zombie isn’t easy in a world where you’re more afraid of the living than the dead.

Adrian Ring’s simple life is thrown into chaos when the world is ripped apart by a plague of undead and legions of desperate survivors. Retreating to Auburn Lake Preparatory Academy, Adrian attempts to rescue friends and family on the way while dancing around his impending insanity over who and what he left behind, and evading maniac survivors. He saves his cat Otis, but shoots his mom. Pretty successful, all things considered.

Dark Recollections is the first part of Adrian’s own story of how he survived after “That Day.” Told through his eyes as he talks to his laptop, affectionately named ‘Mr. Journal,” and through short stories that entwine with his tales that bring forth dark visions of a world being eaten alive by an unimaginable evil. Adrian’s Undead Diary is an eight part epic about a solitary, guilt stricken man that didn’t think he deserved to live, but realizes very soon that he survived, and suffered for a reason. Download: Dark Recollections


#2 Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

Read the review by Top Science Fiction Novels

The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high.

Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization.

But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival–a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known…. Download: Lucifer’s Hammer


World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet.

He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years. Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event.

Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?” Download: World War Z

  • Duano

    Great List….I love Patrick D’Orazio’s The Dark Trilogy and David Moody’s Autumn as well.

  • Sara Jones

    Awesome list of books. Some of them are new to me, so thanks! My favorites are The Stand, any and all of John O’Brien’s books, Chesser’s books, Tufo, and Molles.

  • dozr

    oh no someone will steal the list of 25 books….. better lock them out of copy paste….. because its not hard to get around. just makes your site less usable.

  • makingcomments

    Sorry, but I pretty much lost respect for this list the moment I saw that The Passage wasn’t on it.

  • Mary Kilderry

    Any list of post apocalyptic fiction that does not have The Passage on it is a joke. Sorry but it is hands down the best PA book since Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. Which reminds me, where is The Last Man? That book is awesome even though it was written 200 years ago

  • Trollhater

    Maybe you guys that are complaining missed the first part?

    “There are many ways that the world could end, and I’m personally prepping for a few of them. This post is meant to be a “fun” guide to some of the Best Zombie & Post Apocalyptic Books Of All Time.

    While some will disagree, this is a list of books that I’ve personally read…”

    Personally I would like to thank the person who wrote this for their short reads on the books. This list has given me some good ideas for books to read.

    Troll on peeps!

  • Carmelo Lopez

    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is by far the best zombie account ever. To hear the various stories told in each character’s own voice, rather than some single person. It’s great. This by itself would have made a fantastic movie. When that produce that movie by the same name, I thought wow. How disappointed I was but hear the story, read the book. You will love it

  • King A

    the ‘Mountain Man’ tetralogy by Keith C Blackmore .. Go get it now, and thank me later.

    • lobotomy101

      I second that. Great series, couldn’t put it down.

  • Ronnie J Darling

    I loved the Old Man and the Wasteland, honestly, just reading it was almost a spiritual experience, and I was able to recognize both The Road, and The old Man and the Sea while I was reading it. The Road was just plain awesome, and it’s what kicked me into reading dystopia in the first place, so there will always be a fond love that I harbour for that book, but the Old Man and the Wasteland was something I picked as a lark to read when it first came out, and I had to share with everyone else. I loved the bleakness, the way the fear and anger rolled out of the pages and stroked my heart. So the list is just for fun, but it reminds me of a book I want to reread for the umpteenth time.

  • LEGOates

    While I suppose one would call it pre-Apocalypse, but I’d include The Last Policeman trilogy in a list of my favorites. I mean, the end is in sight and a fait-accompli, the manner in which the will arrive is known and societal collapse is progressing nicely. So, IMO, it has the “vibe”.

  • William Bebb