Given all that’s transpired since the turn of the decade—and, here, I will resist the urge to list the felonies this year has committed against humanity so far—there is really only one way 2020 can end.
Hint: it dresses in rags, shambles mindlessly between victims, and eats brains to survive.
Yes, that’s right, it’s the zombie apocalypse. And since we all realize it’s inevitable, I asked a dozen of my fellow crime writers whether they thought our ilk would survive the coming onslaught.
All twelve said yes. Herewith, I am submitting their responses to CrimeReads. May they shine as a rare ray of light in the dark days of 2020 . . .
“Crime fiction writers will survive the zombie apocalypse, but only the women. Men won’t last. Male crime fiction writers generally consider themselves as badass as their alpha male characters (seriously, go to a writer’s conference bar sometime, or just check out Twitter). We act tough and our author photos are of us glowering in front of brick walls—because we’re 2 TUFF to smile, grrr—and we talk about guns and fights incessantly. No one has a more undeserved sense of toughness than a male crime fiction writer. In reality, crime fiction writers are introverted nerds who spend all their time reading when they’re not writing or fighting off insecurity. But when the zombies come, we male writers are going to assume we’re all Jack Reacher and we’ll easily be devoured by the first wave. Female writers are smarter. They’ll last.” —E.A. Aymar, author of The Unrepentant and They’re Gone (as E.A. Barres)
“Oh we WILL survive. Of course. Crime writers think through weird stuff like this all the time. (You should never look at our search history if you live with a crime fiction author, you’ll never sleep again). I even know which small hardware store I’ll raid for my hatchet, rope, and canister of flammable wasp spray (because they throw so far) which could be lit for a make-shift fire thrower. I even have planned how I can scale down my high-rise building in a pinch. And Lane Sanders-style, I may even throw a pair of my red stilettos into my ‘go bag’ just in case I need to spike said zombies with a good round-house kick. But I will most likely not add zombies into my two works-in-progress, The Twelve Days of Christmas in New York (a modern-day journalist tracks down lost stories of Christmas and Hanukkah traditions) and In A Heartbeat (Stand By Me meets Big Little Lies). Although, now that I think about it . . . maybe zombies would give them a certain je ne sais quoi.” —L.A. Chandlar, Agatha-nominated author of The Pearl Dagger
“We will survive because reading about events that are worse than the current dumpster fire we’re all living in reminds us that it can always get worse, which I guess carries some comfort with it.” —Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Recursion
“Three reasons we’ll survive: 1) We know zombies are real, but we’ve faced worse in our novels. 2) We don’t get out very often, which makes authors harder to hunt and kill! And 3) We don’t have to outrun the zombie, just you!” —Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Agent
“Of course crime writers will survive. You may think it’s because we have done the exhaustive research on anti-zombie weapons in addition to mastering techniques for martial arts and amazing feats of self-defense in the face of a rising zombie population. Alas, the true reason for our survival will stem from our keen ability to avoid public places and hide in dark corners for months at a time.” —Danielle Girard, USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of White Out
“Crime fiction writers are also readers and therefore: A) They know that zombies must be shot in the head or decapitated. B) They listen to the news, and they will know where safe zones can be found—and to be prepared when they need to go out of those safe zones! C) They will listen to the scientists telling them what care must be taken to avoid a bite. D) Having investigated many crime sites (in books maybe, but they’ve investigated them!) they will know when zombies have struck! They are friends with crime fiction writers who come from police, FBI, and forensic backgrounds, and they will be at the forefront of the zombie resistance!”—Heather Graham, New York Times bestselling author of Deadly Touch
“Since we’re a big-tent genre, our people bring a lot of skill sets. As we know, zombies won’t be the worst thing about the apocalypse—humans will be (like in everything right now). And we know humans. Together, we will all be able to plan next steps—what the Bad People will do and how to counteract it. Our sci-fi inspired writers will bring their lore of zombies as we begin planning. We will probably take too many notes, but that’s okay. Some writers will bring their weapons knowledge to the table, while others bring science and tech. We’ll make some cool-ass, Rube Goldberg things to protect us. Some writers will craft realistic and persuasive dialogue trees and psychological profiles that will benefit any interactions and dealings with the Bad People. And then, bringing up the rear, some will bring their knowledge of cupcake and cocktail recipes to nourish us in addition to their ability to communicate with cats and dogs who will serve as our spies and lookouts. We GOT this.” —Rachel Howzell Hall, Anthony and ITW-nominated author of And Now She’s Gone
“Crime writers think daily about how to achieve a satisfying ending despite horrific acts of violence, heart wrenching betrayals, and omnipresent examples of Murphy’s Law. If that isn’t training for the apocalypse, I don’t know what is.” – Cate Holahan, USA Today bestselling author of Her Three Lives
“We’ll survive because we will be (like I am right now) holed up in our tiny windowless, wifi-less writing nooks, oblivious to the outside world—the screams, the sounds of ripping flesh, the smell of blood. By the time we finish deciding whether to replace that comma with an em-dash (or maybe a semi-colon?) and emerge, all our loved ones will be un-dead and long gone.”—Angie Kim, Edgar Award-winning author of Miracle Creek
“I’ll survive the zombie apocalypse (and I’ll make sure my friends and family do, too) because I’ve been preparing for it for years: living in Minnesota so I never get TOO comfortable, annually re-watching Sean of the Dead, and taking up jogging (to get away) and canning (to feed us after we get away).” —Jess Lourey, Amazon Charts bestselling author of Unspeakable Things
“I’ve already decided that I’m not putting up much of a fight when the Zombie Apocalypse comes. I’ve seen the movies. I would need a lot more stamina, a lot more physical fitness, and a lot less whining to make it through, and then what? I’m not game for rebuilding the population, myself, and not much of a cook even with a full kitchen, never mind over an open flame in the middle of a vast wasteland. Like most writers, I’m made for indoor, sitting down sports, for theoretical zombies, not real ones. I’m too squishy for real ones. I’m *dinner*. But wait. I have a new puppy, and no zombie is going to get my puppy. Change of plans. I’ll train Clementine to destroy and we’ll come out swinging.”—Lori Rader-Day, Edgar Award-nominated author of The Lucky One
“Crime writers are very good at staying away from other people. I’m one scraggly beard away from becoming a full-fledged hermit, and that was before the pandemic. When the Zombie Apocalypse arrives, most of us will just barricade inside our offices and bang out another book until it passes. When we emerge, we’ll blend right in with our new zombie overlords. Because in appearance, at least, there’s no discernible difference between a zombie and an author just coming off a deadline.” —Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of Home Before Dark