The Crossing

If you’re new to the zombie genre and looking for some more deadtime reading, Joe McKinney is the new go-to writer in the zombie sweepstakes. A former San Antonio cop, he’s also a very solid writer (a rarity in the genre) with a knack for creating well-drawn characters who perform during the inevitable apocalypse in flawed—but recognizable—ways. His approach isn’t about kicking zombie ass or heaping abuse on survivors (although both happen frequently enough), but about how the characters reconcile themselves with a cataclysmic situation and deal with it (or don’t) without the momentum shambling to a halt. Whereas his debut novel, Dead City, focused on the first-person narrative of a cop dealing with the outbreak, his 2010 sequel Apocalypse of the Dead broadened the scope of his mythos with an epic approach that evokes aspects of Stephen King’s landmark apocalypso, The Stand. For an excellent (and cheap) intro to his writing, his Romero-flavored zombie novella The Crossing follows a journalist so dogged for a story that she has herself dropped off behind the fence that separates the quarantined zone from the rest of the zombie-free U.S. Of course, she ends up using that scoop to dig a pretty deep hole for herself. Available (in e-book only) for only 99 cents at Amazon and