Zombies: A Hunter’s Guide, by Joseph A. McCullough (book review).

March 25, 2015 | By | 1 Reply More

‘Zombies: A Hunter’s Guide’ is the first volume in Osprey’s ‘Dark Osprey’ series of short guides to secret histories, conspiracy theories and dark fantasy topics. It originally came out as a paperback in 2010 and was sufficiently popular to have been reissued in 2013 as a limited edition deluxe hardback. This is the edition I’m reviewing and they’ve done a really good job of it. It’s bound in black leather with inlaid silver writing on the cover and looks great. However, it’s what’s inside the book that is most important. A lot of people have published instruction manuals on how to survive a zombie apocalypse. Does this one add anything new?


Following a brief introduction, in which American author Joseph McCullough dedicates the book to the men and women who are said to be fighting the zombie menace on our behalf, the rest of the material is divided into twelve chapters. The first six of these, which take up roughly two-thirds of the page count, describe the six types of zombies that exist in McCullough’s fictional universe. These are differentiated by the means of reanimation, described here as necromancy, voodoo, Nazi research during World War Two, spontaneous reanimation (here called ‘revenants’), radioactivity or a virus. For each zombie type, McCullough describes their history, how they are created, how to identify them, what level of threat they present and how to either prevent or eliminate them.

The second main section of the book describes three other types of characters you may expect to come across in the zombie universe. The first are zombie masters, humans who are carriers of the zombie virus but do not themselves turn into zombies. Such people appear to have some kind of telepathic link to any nearby zombies, which not only means they don’t get attacked but actually allows them to control what the zombies do. There follows a short chapter on zombified animals, which mostly focuses on dogs, the species which seems most at risk of succumbing to the zombie infection. The rest of this section discusses zombie hunters, covering the history of organised groups which combat the living dead before discussing their weapons, equipment and tactics.

A final short section of the book includes a list of the author’s recommendations of zombie books, graphic novels, games and movies to check out and a useful glossary of all the technical terms that have been used throughout the guidebook.

The book is generously filled with nearly fifty illustrations. Most of these are drawings, paintings or photographs by various artists, each of whom is credited next to their picture. However, the book’s main illustrator, Mariusz Kozik, provides eight new full colour paintings, which add hugely to the impact of the text around them.

This is only a short book but it fits a lot of information into a small space. Inevitably, given its length, there’s not the depth or breadth of material that you’ll find in a book like Max Brooks’ ‘The Zombie Survival Guide’. However, as an introductory field guide to the subject, you could do a lot worse. I’m particularly impressed by the deluxe hardback edition, not only because it is very nicely put together but also because it feels robust enough to take into the field. Any spatters of zombie blood and brains should wipe easily off the cover and, in the last resort, it’s heavy and stiff enough to make a useful last ditch weapon, if it’s all you’ve got left. As the American Express adverts used to say many years ago, ‘Don’t leave home without it!’

Patrick Mahon

March 2015

(pub: Osprey, 2013. 80 page deluxe hardback. Price: £15.00 (UK), $19.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-4728-0338-2)

check out website: www.ospreypublishing.com

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Category: Books, Horror

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