Newsflesh Zombie Thriller trilogy, Blackout by Mira Grant. Click here for the reviews of the first two books in the series.
To summarize though, here is what I said about the series at the Public Library Association Conference this past March (contact me for the full handout on "Trends in Horror Series"):
As I have said many times about this series, while there are zombies here, it is not HORROR. The appeal in these books is in the thriller, conspiracy, and the average Joe taking down the corrupt government story lines. The zombie angle adds frame (and some fun zombie attack scenes).When Mira Grant began her Newsflesh series, people took notice immediately. The series is best described as David Baldacci meets Dawn of the Dead. It is set in a near future in which the cure for the common cold, mixed with the cure for cancer has caused a small zombie problem. The world is full of zombies and they are not nice. Another speculative feature of this world is that when the dead started rising, the traditional news outlets ignored the story, but not bloggers. Bloggers saved the day by working together to figure out what was going on and pass on information on how to properly kill a zombie and protect yourself. In the first novel, our three heroes run a blogger network and uncover a deadly political conspiracy. By the second, the bloggers are starting to realize the conspiracy’s roots go back to the start of the zombie plague.
That being said, Blackout, as the conclusion of this well plotted and entertaining trilogy, did not disappoint. The conspiracy is revealed in its entirety, old characters from the first book return, and the good guys win (but with some casualties). This is an important point. The series reveals itself to be true thriller in how it ends--happily ever after for Shaun and Georgia. As someone who prefers horror, I could have done with a more realistic ending (ie, tragic), but I understood the series was more Baldacci than Maberry, so I was fine with it.
In terms of appeal, this is a fast paced book with 2 alternating points of view, with two separate story lines that converge about halfway through. At times the story is all about explaining the conspiracies or the movements of characters and then just as it begins to slow down, BAM!, zombie attack and everyone is on the run.
The action sequences are very well done, and unfold in a cinematic manner. There is a fabulous one at the end inside the White House! If Grant's prose cannot get your heart pumping, than you may need to check if you still have a pulse.
Three Words That Describe This Book: political conspiracies, zombies, fast paced
Readalikes: You can use this link for the readalike authors I suggested when I read the first book, Feed.
I would also suggest the Bourne series by Ludlum and others for those who want more conspiracy, and the Daniel Silva Gabriel Allon series for those who want a well plotted, smart, action packed thriller.
Finally, for darker suspense which crosses over well with horror readers, try John Sandford's Prey Series or anything by Dean Koontz.