Best Pandemic Books You Should Read Now

A person in a gas mask reading a book that's on fire against a dreary, apocalyptic landscape.

While few things beat a good pandemic movie, the best pandemic books beat any film, anytime. While a little different than your typical horror novel, rich descriptions to make your heart pound and skin crawl, characters you feel you’ve actually met, and (usually) more developed arcs than the standard box office formula, the pandemic genre is one where you can almost always say, “The book was better than the movie.”


The Andromeda Strain (1969)

Author: Michael Crichton

Genre: Pandemic, alien, apocalyptic, science fiction, thriller

Rating: 10/10

A space probe gets knocked out of orbit and lands in Arizona, killing everyone within miles of the crash site. The only two survivors are a baby and an old alcoholic.

The alien virus discovered on the probe kills everyone who comes into contact with it, barring those with a pH that’s too acidic or too alkaline (the only trait the baby and old man have in common). The virus then mutates and escapes the lab.

This may be an old book, but its twists and turns make it seem much more modern.

Read it on Amazon here.


The End of October (2020)

Author: Lawrence Wright

Genre: Pandemic, apocalyptic, thriller

Rating: 10/10

This psychological thriller is a mix between the films Outbreak and Contagion, The End of October opens with an Ebola-like virus rapidly spreading across the globe.  A microbiologist travels to Indonesia, where the virus originated, and discovers the virus was part of a international terrorism plot.  Wright discusses the “disturbing, eerily timed novel” (Kirkus Reviews) in an interview with Joe Rogan on his podcast.

Read it on Amazon here.


DRYP (2020)

Author: R.A. Scheuring

Genre: Medical thriller, pandemic, apocalyptic

Rating: 10/10

In this apocalyptic novel, a student in Reno is diagnosed with bubonic plague, another person in Los Angeles dies after exhibiting the same symptoms. The powers that be claim it is under control, but a public health agent, George, suspects that isn’t true…especially once hospitals start filling up with victims.

Read it on Amazon here.


Outbreak (2020)

Author: Ryan Casey

Genre: Pandemic thriller, medical drama, EOTW

Rating: 10/10

As people drop dead left and right from a new virus, Noah struggles to escape the city and make it home amidst the chaos. Meanwhile, Jasmine panics after her boss dies from the virus.

Outbreak is a refreshing take on the pandemic books genre, focusing on everyday people more than government officials and typical heroes.

With nine books, the series leaves you hanging between each installment, so it’s wise to stock up on the entire catalog at once before you start.

Read it on Amazon here.


Pandemic (2019)

Author:  Christine Kersey

Genre: Virus, medical thriller, EOTW

Rating: 10/10

A deadly flu sweeps the earth, killing over 95% of the population. As panic ensues, people start stockpiling necessities.  Others loot and riot, instead. A group of bad guys team up and start charging people food items in exchange for medication and security. With four books in the series so far, it’s not yet known how many installments are planned.

Read it on Amazon here.


Pandemic: The Extinction Files Book 1 (2017)

Author: A.G. Riddle

Genre: Terror, medical thriller, pandemic, EOTW

Rating: 9/10

Peyton, an epidemiologist, is investigating an Ebola-like disease in Kenya to try and learn how it started, where it’s going next, how to stop it…and who started it.

There are two books in the series.  The second is also enjoyable, but focuses more on finding the cure.

Read it on Amazon here.


Pandemic Beginnings: A Medical Thriller Series (2017)

Author: Bobby Akart

Genre: Medical thriller, political drama, pandemic

Rating: 9/10

A strange hemorrhagic fever starts in Guatemala and spreads to the United States rapidly, killing everyone who catches it. The deaths are graphic and painful, but the books also pile politics on pretty heavily, which slows down the narrative. Readers who love military conspiracies and political dramas might find those parts just as entertaining, but those just in it for the action will find themselves skimming.

Pandemic Beginnings is the first book in this four-book series, and the author, Bobby Akart, offers lots of other books featuring viruses, natural disasters, and apocalyptic realities.

Read it on Amazon here.


Year One (2017)

Author: Nora Roberts

Genre: Pandemic horror, medical thriller

Rating: 9/10

In this sci-fi thriller, a virus breaks out on New Year’s Eve and spreads quickly. As more and more people die, the electricity, water, and other necessities break down as well…including the government and all semblance of law. Thus, half the world is now dead amidst utter panic and chaos.

As science and order falls to the wayside, magic takes their place.  Lana, gifted with magic, uses her abilities for good; not everyone shares her morality, though.

Word spreads that magical humans, as well as anyone immune to the virus, aren’t safe, so Lana and her lover Max flee New York.  Along the way, they meet a rich cast of characters—some they can trust, and some they can’t—all striving to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the outbreak, and the new world it left in its wake.

Read it on Amazon here.




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