As anyone who reads the blog may have realized - over the last couple of weeks blog custodian Joe has been conspicuous by his absence. That is because he is off swanning around the world (or at least he has returned to the motherland and is trekking around the US and visiting his family etc). He rather foolishly flipped me a 'Mike can you look after the blog for me' as he walked out of the office. Which, as it turns out was a serious error in judgement. Because Joe is one of the most modest men I have ever met, and he would never blow his own trumpet. And he is going to be hopelessly embarrassed by the blog that I am about to launch into.

You see, early last week a whole batch of books arrived in the office. I have already mentioned that the weapon books arrived - and with them was the incredibly gorgeous The Blitz. But one book stood out from the crowd. On books caused a bit of a stir (and a mad rush towards reception as everyone tried to get their hands on a copy.)

And it was written by Joe.

Zombies: A Hunter's Guide is written by none other than our very own blogger Joe. Who usually sits at the desk right next to me!


Now I was a little nervous about the Zombies book being done by us at all - although gamers in particular have been begging us to delve into some aspects of sci-fi for years. But reading the book, all of my fears were allayed. Joe has done a stonkingly good job. The book is lighthearted, brilliantly written, and fantastically illustrated.

Joe did a great job of tracking down some of the greatest Zombie illustrators out there, and a personal highpoint has to be the inclusion of a couple of pieces of art by Charlie Adlard from the incredible The Walking Dead (coming to US TV screens shortly or so the rumours go!). And of course the artwork from Raid artist Mariusz Kozik is top notch - his gloomy cover depicting a Zombie horde tramping across Westminster bridge is brilliant, but my personal favourite has to be the image of the Todesritter Nazi Zombies on the Eastern Front.

Joe covers the development of the Zombie, from its early days as the puppet of a necromancer, through the evils of the revenants spreading across Europe and the rise of Nazi Zombies, and their extensive use on the Eastern Front. He looks at how the atomic age brought a new threat from Atomic Zombies, and how modern experimentation with viruses and toxic dumping have created the most terrifying zombies - the Viral Fast Zombies.

Joe uses his experiences, and numerous interviews and first hand accounts from Zombie Hunters to identify the weaknesses each Zombie type has, and provides a suggested best method for disposing of the Zombies. He then delves into the lives and history of the brave men and women who continue to fight the zombie menace, the secret government teams set up to deal with Zombies, their weapons, equipment, vehicles and last, but not least their tactics. He has even included a room clearing tactical analysis for how Zombie Hunters would deal with an outbreak in the Zombie offices if (when?) that was to ever happen (complete with mini-Osprey books scattered on desks!)

It really is a fun read, and great book, and perfect for Halloween (or for anyone who thinks that gaming Samurai vs Zombies is quite simply the best way to spend a Saturday evening!).

I don't know about you, but I am glad to be sitting next to such an expert. At least when the Zombie outbreak hits Oxford (again...there was an outbreak in the late 70s, which was covered up by the local governmental task force and blamed on rowdy students raising money for charity by dressing up as monsters) I will be sitting next to a man that can hold his own with a Zombie.

I always wondered why he kept a baseball bat under his desk.

Anyway, I am off to buy in some cans of food, and to reinforce my downstairs windows. You can never be too careful.

Zombies: A Hunters Guide is out in October and is available to pre-order now for £10.99 / US $17.95.