Anyone with kids who lean more towards Stephen King than Enid Blyton in their reading preferences needs to check out Charlie Higson's zombie series. The Young Bond author changed pace last year - as 007 junior left Eton for the last time - with the publication of The Enemy, a post-Apocalyse novel for teens which is set some months after the entire over-14 population of the UK is either killed off or turned into flesh eating zombies by a virus.
The follow-up, The Dead, has just been published by Puffin. The story is set earlier than The Enemy and opens with "The Scared Kid", a description of the YouTube video of a terrified child describing the killing of his family, a video which spread like wildfire just as the virus was taking its deadly grip on the world. It's an opening chapter that grabs the attention - and is almost post-modern in its use of the social media viral phenomenon, just as social media, and every other media, is about to disappear.
To promote the books, the Scared Kid video has been recreated. It's rather good - pretty much as I imagined it reading the chapter:
The books are good too. I read The Enemy with my son (review) and we're reading The Dead at the moment (a long process that means a review is not imminent, but hopefully in time for you all to buy it before Christmas).
Age range is a bit tricky for these books. It's suggested that they are for late teens, but I'm not sure. My son is eight, and probably loves these books above all others - even Harry Potter and Alex Rider. But they are certainly not for the faint of heart. I would therefore suggest the application of the Cedric Diggory test to determine if your child would like it. If they got upset by the death of Diggory - whether in film or in print - this book is definitely not for them.
Happy Halloween, and hats off to Puffin for a nice publicity campaign.