For decades, zombie apocalypse-themed movies, books, and shows have captured our imaginations and fed on our fears of an undead pandemic. When The Walking Dead premiered in 2010, zombie fever was at an all-time high, and Max Brook’s World War Z being made into a movie three years later has really helped cinch our fascination with zombies. Since then, The Walking Dead has become its own multiverse, spawning multiple spin-offs and even books to feed the mainstream mania for the undead.
Of course, zombie apocalypse fiction has also dominated the best-seller lists, with books like Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hand and Teeth series and The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (which also has a great film adaptation, by the way). While it’s easy to scroll the NYT best-seller lists, this round-up focuses on zombie online books to read, mostly for free (or really cheap) written by indie authors who self-publish.
So if you’re looking for a little-known gem to get your zombie fix, look no further. Links to the books are included, so you’re just one click away from your next great book to read online!
Apocalypse (The Wasteland Chronicles Book 1) by Kyle West
Sixteen-year-old Alex Keener has lived his entire life in Bunker 108. Every day is the same: same metal hallways, same faces, same old rules. When a viral outbreak forces him out of the only home he’s ever known, will he be able to survive his new normal?
Read this exciting YA dystopian series for free on Kindle Unlimited.
Marked (Apocalypse Assassins Book 1) by D. Laine
Dylan Romero is a trained assassin. And business is good. He and his partner Jake Walker are the best warriors at the agency. When a mission takes them to Bozeman, Montana, they discover evil vessels doing the dirty work for their demon master, and that the town is crawling with flesh-eating monsters. With all this on Dylan’s plate, the life of one girl shouldn’t matter—until she changes everything.
Read this exciting apocalyptic romance on Amazon for $3.99.
Only Human After All by Reese Jet
Winter has lost the love of her life, her husband, to a zombie virus that has ravaged the country. She assumes she will be on her own, just trying to survive, when two brothers end up in her lonely bubble and turn her world upside down. Will these men do more than just help her survive?
Read this apocalypse with a touch of romance on Fictionate.Me for $4.99.
Out of New York City by Kate Segar
Suffering from PTSD, an abusive boyfriend, and a drug addiction, Ashlynn’s life was already falling apart before a zombie virus ended the world. When a handsome survivor named Leith shows up at Ashlynn’s door, she agrees to team up with him so they can leave New York City safely. Will Ashlynn only see Leith as a means to an end or will she open her heart along the way?
Read this thrilling adventure on Fictionate.Me for only $0.99!
A Rational Zombie by Virlyce
Unlike other zombie novels that have a human protagonist fighting hordes of zombies, this book has a zombie main character. So … the main character is already dead. Called a grimdark sci-fi with a non-human lead, this self-published novel about the undead follows an existential zombie, trying to figure out his existence one mouthful at a time.
Read this novel on Amazon ($5.99) or free on Royal Road.
Red Christmas by Alice B. Sullivan
Looking for a quick zombie bite instead of a full-course meal? This post-apocalyptic short story turns a jolly holiday into a haunting memory. For this Christmas, the only thing Preston wants is to finish decorating the tree to honor his late mother and father. The only problem? Having to venture out into the mall, where the undead reign, in order to get that last perfect ornament.
Read this spooky short for $2.99 on Fictionate.Me.
Slow Burn (Zero Day, Book 1) by Bobby Adair
A new flu strain is spreading across Africa, Europe, and Asia. Disturbing news footage floods the media, and people are rightfully terrified. Except for Zed Zane. After downing a shot (or three) of tequila, he heads out to ask his parents for rent money. But when he arrives, he finds his mother dead, and his step-dad attacks him as soon as he enters the house. He stabs his step-father 37 times in self-defense, but not before he suffers a bite. Now burning with the infection, Zed finds himself arrested for his step-dad’s murder, but is soon back out on the streets, escaping the zombies he fears and the humans who fear him.
A #1 bestseller in horror, sci-fi, and action-adventure on Amazon, this book series is sure to please the adrenaline junkie book nerds among us. Read for free with Amazon Unlimited.
Snatchers by Shaun Whittington
This novel sees the destruction of mankind due to a mysterious virus making its way across the UK. Snatchers centers around four sets of seemingly unconnected characters (a family, a nurse, prison inmates and guards, and a grieving father) who are brought together in their need to survive. Will this group of people, despite their differences, be able to come together to help each other outlive the zombie virus?
This top-rated book on Smashwords can be read for free, along with the rest of the Snatchers series!
This Just In: A Zombie Novel (Sometimes Truth is Stranger Than Fiction Book 1) by Lisa Fedel
Abbie Chase always thought a zombie apocalypse would be fun. Bash in a few heads, gather supplies, and be on your way. But when her journalist and reporter coworkers in her news building turn into flesh-eating monsters, she realizes zombies aren’t as fun as they seem in movies. Armed with Nerf guns and little else, Abbie and her coworkers fight to survive, all in a small room at her workspace.
Both frightening and funny, this zombie read has been called wildly creative and imaginative by readers. Read for free with Kindle Unlimited.
This Would Be Paradise (Book 1) by N.D. Iverson
Two friends partying it up in New Orleans get more than they bargained for when a zombie virus begins infecting the entire country. Trapped in a city far from home, they try to make sense of what is happening with the help of new friends—and new enemies.
Named a Watty Winner in 2014, you can read this book on Wattpad for free.
Author’s Bio: Heather R. Parker is a freelance writer, editor, and published poet from Georgia. She works as a writer and editor for the self-publishing platform Fictionate.me. Her work has been published by Nightingale & Sparrow Magazine, Goats Milk Magazine, Analog Submissions Press, Friday Flash Fiction, Medium, and others. Heather lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and a menagerie of pets. In her spare time, you can find her doing yoga, taking long walks in the woods, birdwatching, or picking flowers in sun-dappled meadows. You can follow Heather’s writing on Instagram, Facebook,and Fictionate.Me.