2013 may just have been the year of the Zombie Audiobook. This year, I listened to nearly 40 Audiobooks that in someway involved those cannibalistic walking bags of puss we have all come to love. Within that total, about 32 of them would qualify as Zombie Apocalypse. We saw the end to one of the more unique Zombie series, Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series, along with various so called “literary” authors, like Colson Whitehead, take on the Zombie tale. It really wasn’t easy narrowing this list down to 10, but I did it and am happy with the results. Now, if you are a counting person, you may realize there are more than 10 total audiobooks here. I included series entries that have come out this year as one, and since this is my list, you can all just deal. I have also included an Honorable Mention for my favorite Print Zombie read this year, that isn’t available as an audiobook. I hope all you, my Zombie loving fans, find something here to sink your teeth into.
Read by David Letwin
What I Said: The Reanimation of Edward Schuett is a novel that blends the unique zombie perspective of a novel like Zombie Ohio, with the recovered society motif of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series, mixing in a liberal dose of the quirkiness of Raining Stony Mayhall, then adds it’s own secret blend of herbs and spices making it the most unique, and perhaps, rewarding zombie experience of the year.
Read by Fred Berman
What I Said: I absolutely loved every moment of The Road to Woodbury. It utilizes the winning Walking Dead formula of zombie mayhem amidst complicated characters. The novel left me, at times, breathless, frustrated, angry, sad and maybe just a bit skeeved out, but when thrown all together it was one of the best Zombie listening experiences I have had this year.
Flu by Wayne Simmons/Fever by Wayne Simmons
Read by Michael Kramer
What I Said: Fever is a brutal, frightening, kinetically paced apocalyptic thriller that takes it cues from some of the greatest works of the genre, yet Simmons keeps it feeling fresh and new. Combined with Flu, Fever is one of the notable entries of Zombie literature of 2012, and very well may find itself achieving classic status among fans of the genre. If Flu left you unsure of Simmon’s world, Fever will eradicate any doubts.
Blackout by Mira Grant (Newsflesh Trilogy, Bk. 3)
Read by Paula Christensen and Michael Goldstrom
What I Said: Grant’s world is a realistic depiction of a society attempting to retain normalcy in what typically would be viewed as an apocalypse. In an America irrevocably altered by Kellis-Amberlee, the dead walk, spies have PhD’s, government agencies use fear to maintain control over the populous, and mad science may save humankind, but destroy the world in the process. Grant pieces it all together like a complicated puzzle that you have no idea what the final picture is, but when it is finally revealed, it knocks the breath out of you.
The Zombie Fallout Series by Mark Tufo
Read by Sean Runnette
What I Said: Mark Tufo’s zombie apocalypse novel Zombie Fallout is a breath of fresh air, mostly because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sure, the Zombie Apocalypse is a serious situation, but, come on people, crack a joke once in a while. The undead may eat your brains, but they can’t eat your sense of humor. Tufo filters one of the most gory, nauseating zombie apocalypse tales through the mind of a sarcastic, almost Neanderthal white suburban male.
Read by Todd McLaren
What I Said: Mutated is a great example of how a series can come together. For fans of this series, it’s like each previous novel was the wrappings and Mutated is the reward. A fun, furious Zombie tale with hidden depths and wonderfully flawed characters that Zombie and Apocalyptic fans shouldn’t miss.
Read by Kristin Potter
What I Said: Where Rise Again really excelled is in the development of the original pathogen that leads to the Zombie outbreak, and the evolution of the Zombies themselves. These Zombies changed and adapted so much that it truly drove the pace of this novel, never allowing the survivors to get comfortable, and delivering one of the most chilling, unforgettable final moments in a zombie novel I have ever read. Rise Again, despite some frustrating moments with the main character, is one of the better executed Zombie Apocalypse novels I have read. Tripp delivers with some intense action sequences, and Zombies that are more than just place settings in this brutal world.
Zombiestan by Mainak Dhar
Read by John Lee
What I Said: Zombiestan, with its international setting, non traditional zombies and fast paced action gives the zombie subgenre a fresh new spin and a novel that I feel can easily appeal to hardcore zombie fans and those new to undead literature. I will definitely be seeking out more of Dhar’s work, as well as broadening the international scope of my zombie reading choices.
Read by Christian Rummel
What I Said: The Becoming: Ground Zero succeeds where many follow ups fail, by changing the tone and slowing down the pace, Meigs actually manages to create even more tension than the original. It’s not an easy ride, with devastating emotion and heartbreak as we become more and more attach to these characters in an extremely unpredictable world. Full of mystery, intrigue and even some romance, The Becoming is a series I want to devour like a lone weaponless survivor in a horde of the undead.
Read by Stephen R. Thorne
What I Said: There is definitely a real sense of dread and despair to this story. It emotional manipulations are often obvious, but affective. Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection is a production that is definitely worth a listen. It’s a quick and dirty slice of the Zombie apocalypse that fans of the genre should have a whole lot of fun with.
My Favorite Zombie Novel of the Year, that Sadly Hasn’t Been Made into an Audiobook, but should.
This Dark Earth by John Horner Jacobs
My Thoughts: I was really blown away by This Dark Earth. While so many authors are making their stories different by changing the Zombie Mythos, or evolving the Zombies themselves, John Horner Jacobs made his tale different by clever story structure, brilliantly complex characters, and wonderfully unique ideas while maintaining the traditional Zombie traits. Each chapter was a surprise, each moment paid off, and the ending left me shaking, like an addict wanting more.