The best zombie apocalypse books

5 authors have picked their favorite books about the zombie apocalypse and why they recommend each book.

Soon, you will be able to filter by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to explore books.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

By Ryan Chamberlin,

Book cover of Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: First Aid Kit Building and Mini Med School for Preppers

When the dead roam, this book will function as a med-school, first responder, and training physician all rolled into one. That's a good thing, for medical professionals will be at ground zero for the zombie apocalypse. And most won't survive the first few days of the dead, as preserving life will seem more paramount than preserving death. And by the time staff figure out that both are equally important, it will be too late. Nevertheless, those who survive the apocalypse's initial stages will eventually need medical care. Even a minor wound could prove deadly if poorly cleaned. I found the information and practical advice in the book fascinating and potentially helpful under dire circumstances.


Who am I?

Like many of my generation, my formal introduction to the zombie genre started with George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Stories of the zombie apocalypse, and the arterial sprays, dismemberments, and eviscerations that accompanied it, have fascinated me ever since. But, I'm also a psychology professor. Although I was initially captivated by the carnage of the undead, I quickly found that the mindsets of the survivors were equally fascinating. More than anything, I love seeing how fictional worlds represent real-world psychological concepts.


I wrote...

Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror

By Steven J. Kirsh,

Book cover of Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror

What is my book about?

Parenting is difficult under the best of circumstances—but extremely daunting when humanity faces cataclysmic annihilation. When the dead rise, hardship, violence, and the ever-present threat of flesh-eating zombies will adversely affect parents and children alike. Depending on their age, children will have little chance of surviving a single encounter with the undead, let alone the unending peril of the Zombie Apocalypse. The key to their survival—and thus the survival of the species—will be the caregiving they receive.

Drawing on psychological theory and real-world research on developmental status, grief, trauma, mental illness, and child-rearing in stressful environments, this book critically examines factors influencing parenting, and the likely outcomes of different caregiving techniques in the hypothetical landscape of the living dead.

The Zombie Survival Guide

By Max Brooks,

Book cover of The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

I will never survive a zombie apocalypse. I'm pretty sure my last words will be, "OMG, Zombies! I'm going to take a selfie! Arrgghh." But for those with good sense and practical intelligence, plans for defeating the undead will need to be developed and set in motion. That's where The Zombie Survival Guide comes in. Max Brooks' offering is a fascinating "how-to guide" for living in a world overrun with the living dead. This book has it all, from weapons and combat techniques to offensive and defensive strategies. The information in this book is invaluable for those prepping for the inevitable plaque of the undead. 


Who am I?

Like many of my generation, my formal introduction to the zombie genre started with George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Stories of the zombie apocalypse, and the arterial sprays, dismemberments, and eviscerations that accompanied it, have fascinated me ever since. But, I'm also a psychology professor. Although I was initially captivated by the carnage of the undead, I quickly found that the mindsets of the survivors were equally fascinating. More than anything, I love seeing how fictional worlds represent real-world psychological concepts.


I wrote...

Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror

By Steven J. Kirsh,

Book cover of Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror

What is my book about?

Parenting is difficult under the best of circumstances—but extremely daunting when humanity faces cataclysmic annihilation. When the dead rise, hardship, violence, and the ever-present threat of flesh-eating zombies will adversely affect parents and children alike. Depending on their age, children will have little chance of surviving a single encounter with the undead, let alone the unending peril of the Zombie Apocalypse. The key to their survival—and thus the survival of the species—will be the caregiving they receive.

Drawing on psychological theory and real-world research on developmental status, grief, trauma, mental illness, and child-rearing in stressful environments, this book critically examines factors influencing parenting, and the likely outcomes of different caregiving techniques in the hypothetical landscape of the living dead.

Zombie Fallout

By Mark Tufo,

Book cover of Zombie Fallout

You can’t compile a list like this without including Mark Tufo’s Zombie Fallout series. At least in sheer volume, this is as epic as it gets. Tufo has now published the 20th book of this series. 20 books! Tufo's series is built on a solid core of family survival. The books' dry humor and the wit of the main character, Mike Talbot—this is what really sells these books. This isn't pure zombie, mind you (or should I say "brainnssss you"). There is also an evil vampire queen and other monsters to spice things up. 


Who am I?

S. L. Smith is an author, attorney, and Catholic theologian with deep roots in southern Louisiana. Despite being better known for his work in Catholic theology and history, Smith has also published extensively in the Southern Gothic genre. This crucible of tastes, religion, and location resulted in the Cajun Zombie Chronicles. Beneath the oaks and moss, lie shadows that bite.      


I wrote...

Cajun Zombie Chronicles, Book One: The River Dead

By Scott L. Smith,

Book cover of Cajun Zombie Chronicles, Book One: The River Dead

What is my book about?

Welcome to Cajun country, Louisiana. Home to gators and gumbo, mosquitos and Mardi Gras, zydeco and... zombies. This is zombie survival the Cajun way. Ancient gothic churches become citadels and swamp fortresses. The dead rise from the depths of the Mississippi River in The River Dead.

Undead Ultra

By Camille Picott,

Book cover of Undead Ultra

This book—and series—rocks! I love the resourceful main character, Kate. She has one goal: to get to her son, even if it means running 200 miles to do it. There’s a great balance between action and character development; the plot is tight and surprising. Picott's take on zombies is original, and that's hard to do. She also has a talent for making the situation go from bad to worse to dreadful to catastrophic. Every time I thought I knew where she was going with the latest cluster f*ck, I was wrong–every single time.

While listening to the last audiobook in the series, I was crying out, “No! Don’t do it!” repeatedly during the story’s climax, so loudly that my husband came downstairs to see what was wrong.


Who am I?

I write action-packed post-apocalyptic and dystopian adventures—with a dash of romance. An avid reader of science fiction and fantasy from an early age, the only job I ever wanted—besides being a writer—was to be a Star Fleet Officer. I owe my love of all things zombie to my older brothers, whose influence in books, music, and film continues to this day, although my tolerance for puns and movies that are "so bad they're good" is a whole lot lower than theirs. The idea of becoming a zombie because my car runs out of gas gets me to the gas station when I'd rather not bother.


I wrote...

Love in an Undead Age: A Zombie Apocalypse Survival Adventure

By A.M. Geever,

Book cover of Love in an Undead Age: A Zombie Apocalypse Survival Adventure

What is my book about?

Surviving the zombie apocalypse was hard, but finding true love might be fatal. Miranda Tucci is lucky to be alive, even though her love life is dead on arrival. When an old flame turns up, she wonders...does her DOA love life have a pulse? A ruthless governing council controls the cure for the zombie virus. Miranda joins a plot to steal it, putting her past on a collision course with the present. Will the powerful keep control of the vaccine, or can she survive long enough to usher in a new age of civilization? 

It's only the fate of humanity that's suddenly resting on her shoulders. If she can bring her love life back from the dead, how tough can saving the world be?

Mountain Man (Volume 1)

By Keith C. Blackmore,

Book cover of Mountain Man (Volume 1)

Keith gripped me with his Mountain Man series. If ever there was a reluctant hero who accidentally self-sabotages often, one who is so real and relatable that you can’t help but love him, then Keith’s Gus character is for you. Tackling the zombie apocalypse from the point of view of a regular, everyday man, this series grabs hold and doesn’t let go.


Who am I?

I’ve long had a passion (read: obsession) with the apocalypse in whatever form it takes. I’ve written viral pandemics, zombie outbreaks, post-nuclear survival, dystopian totalitarianism, extinction-level-event, alien invasion, WW3… all of them have the theme of the great reset. The ability to reinvent yourself in the new world. The erasure of your life and the clean slate to try again and become who you want to be. I read and listen to this genre as well as write it because I'm passionate about the worlds writers create and the way their characters adapt to overcome the challenges my own have faced. As a former police officer, I’ve probably spent too many night shifts pondering the end of the world.


I wrote...

After It Happened: Survival

By Devon C. Ford,

Book cover of After It Happened: Survival

What is my book about?

Set in the UK in the immediate aftermath of a mysterious illness that swept the country and left millions dead, After it Happened follows the trials of a reluctant hero, Dan, and the group formed around him, including the fearless Leah. They must battle the elements, find sufficient supplies and equipment to survive, and protect themselves against the most destructive force on the planet: other people.

Day by Day Armageddon

By J.L. Bourne,

Book cover of Day by Day Armageddon

I listened to this whole series while climbing mind-numbing stacks of backlogged legal work as an Assistant Attorney General. My vision was clogged with the vivid scenes of Bourne's books, legal folders, paper clips, and coffee stains. It actually inspired the fourth book of my zombie series.   

Told in the diary format common to many books of the zombie epic subgenre, this journal depicts one man's struggle for survival. The unnamed narrator is a naval officer who was just returning home to Texas from visiting his parents in Arkansas when the zombie apocalypse hits. John, another survivor, and Annabell, John's miniature greyhound, work together with the narrator to survive, hoping to find some last working vestige of the US government. 

There are some cool elements to this zombie epic that I haven't found anywhere else. They shelter in a functional missile silo at one point. The clunk, clunk…


Who am I?

S. L. Smith is an author, attorney, and Catholic theologian with deep roots in southern Louisiana. Despite being better known for his work in Catholic theology and history, Smith has also published extensively in the Southern Gothic genre. This crucible of tastes, religion, and location resulted in the Cajun Zombie Chronicles. Beneath the oaks and moss, lie shadows that bite.      


I wrote...

Cajun Zombie Chronicles, Book One: The River Dead

By Scott L. Smith,

Book cover of Cajun Zombie Chronicles, Book One: The River Dead

What is my book about?

Welcome to Cajun country, Louisiana. Home to gators and gumbo, mosquitos and Mardi Gras, zydeco and... zombies. This is zombie survival the Cajun way. Ancient gothic churches become citadels and swamp fortresses. The dead rise from the depths of the Mississippi River in The River Dead.

Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?

By Timothy Verstynen, Bradley Voytek,

Book cover of Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?: A Neuroscientific View of the Zombie Brain

Work smarter, not harder. If you want to survive a zombie apocalypse, you'll need to understand the behavior of the undead. And it all starts with a necrotic brain. If you know why zombies hunt, infect and kill their victims, you can devise effective strategies for avoiding and moving among the undead and, if necessary, killing them. I loved that the neuroscience in this book is very real, even if the zombies are not (yet). It is one of the best applications of nonfictional content to a fictional world available today — a must-read for lovers of brains, both alive and dead.


Who am I?

Like many of my generation, my formal introduction to the zombie genre started with George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Stories of the zombie apocalypse, and the arterial sprays, dismemberments, and eviscerations that accompanied it, have fascinated me ever since. But, I'm also a psychology professor. Although I was initially captivated by the carnage of the undead, I quickly found that the mindsets of the survivors were equally fascinating. More than anything, I love seeing how fictional worlds represent real-world psychological concepts.


I wrote...

Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror

By Steven J. Kirsh,

Book cover of Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror

What is my book about?

Parenting is difficult under the best of circumstances—but extremely daunting when humanity faces cataclysmic annihilation. When the dead rise, hardship, violence, and the ever-present threat of flesh-eating zombies will adversely affect parents and children alike. Depending on their age, children will have little chance of surviving a single encounter with the undead, let alone the unending peril of the Zombie Apocalypse. The key to their survival—and thus the survival of the species—will be the caregiving they receive.

Drawing on psychological theory and real-world research on developmental status, grief, trauma, mental illness, and child-rearing in stressful environments, this book critically examines factors influencing parenting, and the likely outcomes of different caregiving techniques in the hypothetical landscape of the living dead.

World War Z

By Max Brooks,

Book cover of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

While zombies have become a bit commonplace these days, this novel is not. It’s written in a nonfiction style that’s even more effectively scary with its tales from around the globe of how a zombie invasion took hold of the world and how the world survived the best it could. As a result, the story comes off as real life instead of fiction, which makes it all the more terrifying. As if we are reliving the bad memories of an apocalypse.


Who am I?

As a writer of murder mysteries, it goes without saying I’m a fan of whodunits. But I’m also a fan of horror stories and those tales that keep me turning pages and looking into the shadows. So in my newest book, I wanted to combine the two. That is, mixing scares and thrills with a whodunit and adding a big dose of Latino culture and characters. In a lot of my work, I write about the culture with which I grew up. I also love to tap into the Mexican myths and folk stories I heard as a kid then revamping and retelling them into something new.


I wrote...

Under the Blood Moon

By Patricia Marcantonio,

Book cover of Under the Blood Moon

What is my book about?

Guadalupe, New Mexico is usually a pretty quiet town. That is until everything starts going to hell with a series of bizarre murders. Not to mention, a demon gives birth at a park. A boy disappears in the middle of a swimming pool. Rattlesnakes invade the town. Asked by his best friend, the sheriff, to assist in the investigation, Prosecutor Matthew Riley suspects a high-end resort development is at the heart of the crimes. But he also discovers a conspiracy of the living has opened the door for an ancient evil seeking revenge for old and new betrayals that threaten his own family.

The Rising

By Mira Grant,

Book cover of The Rising: The Newsflesh Trilogy

Some people hate the idea of combining bloggers and zombies, but I loved that it was something different and new. But what I loved most about this series is that it offered us a glimpse into a world after the zombie apocalypse. The first book is the best but the whole series is worth reading.


Who am I?

I heart zombies. I have always loved them. Even when I was a baby. Every time I could watch a zombie movie, I did. I even secretly rented zombie films from Blockbuster Video (remember those?) and the library without my parents knowing.


I wrote...

Zombie Run

By Dwayne Perkins, Koji Steven Sakai,

Book cover of Zombie Run

What is my book about?

What if you had to pretend to be a zombie to survive?

Hanson’s been living like a zombie since the apocalypse. Until he learns that his zombie crush is, like him, a human pretending to be a zombie. She introduces him to the Human Underground, shows him how to love, and teaches him that living is more than just being alive.

Slowly We Rot

By Bryan Smith,

Book cover of Slowly We Rot

This isn’t a zombie book. It’s a book about isolation, depression, rage, and escapism. This is the book I continue to come back to and is always the first one I recommend for someone looking for a new book to read. There’s a slow ramping of violence in this book, married perfectly to the main character’s evolution – resulting in some truly bleak scenes.


Who am I?

Books that make me feel uncomfortable are usually the ones that have stuck with me most over the years. There’s just something so alluring to me about an author who can effectively bring out that feeling in readers. When I started writing stories, I wanted to make my readers squirm – I wanted to layer the guts and gore with underlying psychological themes that made the violence and trauma that much more impactful. These books that I mentioned acted almost as study guides on how to blend shocking violence with themes of loneliness, depression, and rage. If you layer these correctly, you’re going to effectively be able to make your reader uncomfortable and your stories memorable.  


I wrote...

The Third Parent

By Elias Witherow,

Book cover of The Third Parent

What is my book about?

No one knows where he came from. No one knows what he wants. No one dares ask about his strange physical abnormalities. For a quiet suburban neighborhood, things are about to change. And it starts with a knock at the door. Follow his rules. Don't call the police. Listen to his lessons. That's what Jack and his family were told. Held captive in their own house, they must face a growing storm of mental and physical trauma as they try to just stay alive.

But even if Jack can survive the horror of his childhood, will his tormentor ever leave him alone? And who is he really? Who is Tommy Taffy?

Or, view all 27 books about the zombie apocalypse

New book lists related to the zombie apocalypse

All book lists related to the zombie apocalypse

Bookshelves related to the zombie apocalypse