From multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author Jonathan Maberry comes a major new thriller that combines the best of the New York Times best-selling books World War Z by Max Brooks and James Rollins’ Sigma Force Series to kick off the start of a new series featuring Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences.
When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills - and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective who has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new task force created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid-response group is called the Department of Military Sciences, or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bioweapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Jonathan Maberry is the New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award–winning author of Ghost Road Blues, the first of a trilogy of thrillers with a supernatural bite. A professional writer and writing teacher, he has sold more than 1.000 articles, 17 nonfiction books, six novels, and two plays.
©2009 Jonathan Maberry (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Brilliant, shocking, horrifying, it puts the terror back in terrorist.” (James Rollins, New York Times best-selling author)
“Plenty of man-to-zombie combat, a team traitor and a doomsday scenario add up to a fast and furious read.” (Publishers Weekly)
"Jonathan Maberry has found a delightful voice for this adventure of Joe Ledger and his crew: while the action is heated, violent, and furious, the writing remains cool, steady, and low-key, framing all the wildness and exuberance in a calm rationality (given an almost comic edge) that renders it as palatable as your favorite flavor of ice cream." (Peter Straub)
There are few things better than a good story well told!
Lots of people have reviewed this book already so I will just aim my comments to those (like me) who hesitate to get this because of the cartoonish cover art and well the whole zombies thing. I like zombie fiction but eventually it does get pretty predictable. This book is not your typical run and shoot zombies take over the world tale. It is not a gratuitous gore-fest. The story has multiple layers, science, mysteries within mysteries, strong characters, and intrigue that will keep you guessing and glued to your earphones to the last word. Yes, it is that good. And Ray Porter’s performance is flawless perfection.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
While others are thinking about what to do, Joe Ledger is getting it done. If you take a second to think, Joe will kick your ass, he pulls no punches, he is balls out all the way.
The book is funnier then a John Scalzi novel, Scarier then Stephen King and weirder then Dean Koontz.
The Department of Military Science, seems to be the action side of the X-Files. It is run by Mr Church, but who is Mr. Church? People used to say Who is John Gault, but now they will be saying Who is Mr. Church?
Don't get me wrong this is no comic book fluff, this is well-written stuff. Some say it is not literature, but I dare you to say that in front of John Maberry. He even knows how to use chapters, something that seems to confuse most modern Science Fiction writers.
This is the best book I have listened to since I started listening and that is hundreds of books.
Ray Porter does an excellent, excellent job. If I could give Seven Stars I would give it to him.
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
This book is (at the time of this review) the first of three books in "Joe Ledger" series. For fellow fans of Lee Child, Joe Ledger can be described as Jack Reacher, with less of a vigilante bend, and far more high tech toys.
This is not, in my opinion, a bad thing.
In my experience it's rare to find a "hero" of a thriller that still expresses disbelief and horror at the things he sees and does, and I found it refreshing. The pace was very good, and the short chapters and constant countdown kept it moving along swimmingly. I appreciated that the various villains had varying levels of "evilness", and the humor inserted regularly kept me chuckling to myself.
The real hero of these books (both this and the following two in the series, which I read in quick succession) was Ray Porter, the narrator. He's absolutely amazing in his delivery, and his performance alone makes this book more than worthwhile. It really amazed me. He lent a depth to the character that really put the book on a whole other level.
I recommend this book, and overall I recommend the following two books as well.
This is just an absolutely great action/adventure/zombie tale. Fun, fast paced, and even funny this novel marks the first in what is the Joe Ledger series - I really enjoyed this one and can't wait for the next. As icing on the cake Ray Porters narration is perfect, and I mean perfect. Every character has their very distict voice, there is never any question of who is speaking and he moves seemlessly between them. Of the thousands of audio books I've listened to this is one of the best performances I have heard. I will be looking for more books narrated by him simply because they ARE narrated by him.
Avid Zombie fan who's starting to listen to more and more Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories. So, my description is apt to change. Dog lover who's known to have cats. LOL C# coder, part-time prepper, B movie fan, AMC watcher, recovering but successful day trader, perpetual student, overjoyed uncle, former adrenaline junkie with a flare for cooking, and lots more. LOL
great zombie novel...really, it is. i was skeptical at first b/c of the terrorist angle. i thought it was kind of dumb, but i decided to give it a try based on the reviews. i don't always agree with the reviews, but this time, i do! i must say this is a realistic twist on zombie fiction. there is real science behind how a zombie could be made. very interesting.
don't be afraid of the line that he has to kill the same terrorist twice in one week. again, i was kind of turned off by that, but i still gave it a try, and boy am i sure glad i did! that was a great scene! i mean great!
the bad guys are great. they are over the top, but definitely in a good way. great character development all around!
imagine the show 24 mixed with james bond. joe ledger is jack bauer and james bond. the story is fast-paced and hard to put down.joe ledger is the man! he's funny and kicks some serious butt. i'm glad he's not a womanizer like bond.
the fight scenes are realistic, excellently described, and flow seamlessly with the action. the science and tech is really cool. they add to the story and aren't boring or over your head. cool like tom clancy.
after reading the first book, patient zero, i really wanted to know how the story continues. i initially picked up this book b/c of the zombie slant, but i am now a huge joe ledger fan!
ray porter is an excellent narrator. top flight. he can perform different ranges of voices and different accents very well. he intones emotions like no one else i've heard. best i've heard yet.
System and software engineer from the UK now living and working in Silicon Valley.
The story, less the science and technical detail, is quite engaging as zombie books go. The whole science of zombies is ridiculous, but this is fiction so who cares.
The plot is reasonably complex and involved. The timing of events is reasonably well thought out, but the interactions with various military groups were rather far fetched. How much disbelief do you suspend?
Ah, the reading. As an English man I found the 'English' accents terrible. Can he only do an English that sounds like a brain damaged Cockney? This is the sort of 'English' accent that Americans use when they don't know they are being offensive. The bad accents were too much of the story to ignore. Other than that, and some weird pronunciation, Aden is Ayden not Ahden, the reading was OK. He was, at least, consistent. But really, not good.
It is a mistake to spend too much time explaining your fictional science, as an author you may be impressed with what you have learned, but it just provides more danger of revealing the holes. Prions are not indestructible, enzymes crack up proteins, even prions. They can be burned too. Reaction and action times probably come in this area too. The fastest anyone can react to a simple stimulus is around 100 milliseconds, typical is around 200. So NOBODY can react to a change and implement an alternate attack in 30ms. That's utterly ridiculous.
He really needs to find a better firearms instructor. That thing about 22s rattling around in the head and mushing the brain... did he learn that at a bar? It is rubbish. No professional chooses to take a hand gun to a battle as their primary weapon. No professional enters a combat situation without body armor. Nobody can tell the difference between a 9mm or 40S&W Glock without picking it up and reading it, they are virtually identical. A heart shot with a firearm will still take 20 seconds to incapacitate someone. The things you stick in semi automatic handguns are magazines, gang bangers use clips because they know no better. A clip is a device for holding loose rounds for loading in to a magazine.
People with a history involving the military don't go discarding advice to stay out of secure matters and go on to discuss what they have been told is secret with civilians. People who do do that sort of thing don't get hired, they get visits from
Then there's the weird love of therapists and apparent disdain for scientists. His therapist is a giant of a man who is so vastly impressive that he gets instantly hired by the secret agency and gets taken along on missions. Err. No. You see the shrink when it is all over. But our hero is so offended with the tame scientist that he wants to smash his face in for not being broken up by the reality of zombie involved slaughter. And yet he makes a big thing of not being too concerned himself later. I have worked with a lot of military types and that sort of expectation, even demand, for an emotional response is very artsy American, this modern emotional IQ notion perhaps. It is funny that on the one hand the author has to have had to talk to some fairly educated people about the science, and yet he needs to show disdain in his writing.
Over it all there was this weak minded pap about how damaged we were by 9/11 but that we didn't let the terrorists win by that and 7/7 and yet the US did let the terrorists win. The British, on the other hand, after 7/7, showed the US how it should be done. Life returned to normal the next day because you give terrorists their victory by changing how you live your life and spending trillions to attack uninvolved countries in a fit of teenage temper. That sort of attitude is not the attitude of special forces types who actually get the job done.
In the end the credibility gap in the zombie storyline if fine, because that's the fantasy of the book, but the ignorance of the people portrayed is the death of this book.
This was my first "zombie" novel. I had expectations of something decent, something to please the zombie fanatic out there and not much else. Well, it did please me as a zombie fanatic. It not only pleased me as a fan of the zombie genre but it thrilled me as a reader. This was an over all very good book. If I were reading the physical book itself I would call it a "page turner". This is not only for the zombie fan but also for the action fan, the covert ops fan and even the conspiracy theory fan. No, it's not Dickens, but it is fun, fast paced and not dumbed down. Really it was a treat. Very well written and boy, the narrator was superb. I could re-listen immediately. I certainly hope there is a follow-up.
"Language is a virus from outer space" William S. Burroughs
It is too bad that after being a member of Audible for a little over a year and listening to some excellent books that I have to start here, a rather mediocre thriller, but it is what it is and it's better to start now than not at all. I have gotten so much from reading others reviews that I thought I would throw my voice into the fire.
Ray Porter lifts this book from something that might not be listenable to a book just entertaining enough to not put down. I do prefer a few other narrators to Mr. Porter, Pacey and Brick, however he has the perfect voice for a thriller, or wanna-be in this case. So, if you are a major Porter fan and like your black ops mixed with a little zombie mayhem, this might be for you.
The major problem with Patient Zero is the lack of an engaging, dynamic central character. Although, Joe Ledger is a relatively interesting figure he is not compelling enough to unite the story lines into a cohesive narrative. His most prominent personality trait, other than being a lethal warrior, is that he is a smart ass, however this is not depicted in a unique manner that defines his character. It simply comes off as flippant, unbelievable and juvenile. If this was handled in a way that gave his personality distinction it might have served a purpose, unfortunately it doesn't and Ledger best friend the psychologist Ray becomes a much more compelling figure.
My last thought here is that you need a bad guy for this kind of story. At the beginning we are promised a type of mad scientist, a trope that approached properly could have been very successful in this type of story. We never got the mad scientist. Instead we have three different bad guys, well two guys and one woman, that have a sorted love story inside a malevolent end of the world plot. None of these figures gives us anything engaging enough to be concerned about or allow us to vent our hatred at what they are planning. They are benign and undefined. I personally didn't care what they were doing.
I have said nothing very positive about this novel, but that is not to say I did not enjoy it at moments. Some of the action scenes are very well orchestrated, beautifully described and addicting. Mostly, I had the feeling of guilty pleasure while listening. Like watching a movie that isn't very good but does offer enough action and mildly interesting plot twist's to keep you occupied until the end.
Some books take a while to find their legs and get going but this is not one of them. Right from the beginning I found my curiosity piqued and I was rooting for Joe Ledger even though I still didn't know too much about him. Jonathan Maberry does an excellent job of story telling in Patient Zero by the manner in which he reveals the bigger picture while at the same time providing increased insight into the man that is Joe Ledger. Patient Zero is a bit of a mash-up of 24 with a zombie apocalypse and things remain interesting from cover to cover.
The Department of Military Sciences (DMS) is an ultra-secret government agency that protects the US from extreme threats and it is woefully unprepared as a potential zombie apocalypse arrives on the doorstep. To make matters worse the threat is not an accident as the US finds itself the target of an explicitly bio-engineered outbreak. External extremists are banking on the fact that even if the US somehow prevents the outbreak the economy will be crippled as funds are poured into finding a pharmaceutical cure for the pathogen at the heart of this threat. It is up to the DMS to make sure that neither scenario comes to pass.
The foundation for the rest series gets erected in this book as the main characters are all established. The main protagonist is Joe Ledger, a Baltimore detective and ex-soldier with a uncanny ability to never hesitate under pressure. Ledger was mentally broken as a teenager after being forced to watch his girlfriend repeatedly raped. Her eventual suicide led Ledger to channel his inner rage into martial arts, a military career, and finally his role as a detective. He manages to get by but he is always on the edge of not keeping it together. That is where Rudy Sanchez comes in. Rudy is the Baltimore police force psychiatrist and also Joe's best friend. He is a big reason why Joe has been able to keep it together over the years. Then there is Mr. Church, the mysterious leader of the DMS who created the MindReader program that is able to extract information from any other computer system in existence. Many speculate that Mr. Church holds sway over many powerful world leaders because of MindReader's ability to unearth the skeleton in every closet. Mr. Church has a "friend" in every industry and always manages to obtain technology that nobody else can get their hands on. He also has a cookie fetish - vanilla wafers to be exact.
Patient Zero is a complete story that wraps up nicely but there are many more books in the series. Joe Ledger may be a bit cliche with the whole channeled rage back-story but I still found him an interesting lead character and was happy to move forward into the rest of the series. Ray Porter does the narration and he does an excellent job voicing all of the characters. Overall, an excellent start to the series.
The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
I once heard a movie critic say of one of the Jurassic Park movies that you if you go to a movie like that to get complex characters and deep, philosophical discussions on the nature of God, you’re going for the wrong reasons and you are going to be disappointed. You go to see dinosaurs. Lots and lots of dinosaurs.
That’s how I felt about this movie—excuse me, book. It was everything a thriller should be. The hero was a brick who could hold his own in just about any fight, but had enough of a brain to wonder occasionally about what all the killing was doing to his psyche. The black hat had understandable motives for trying to unleash a zombie plague and had his own trials to overcome. There was a bit of a love interest. And there were zombies. Lots and lots of zombies. The pacing was terrific, the bon mots made me smile and the whole thing was so visual that it was easy to see how this would make a great movie. Listening to it as an audio book performed by Ray Porter was the perfect way to experience this adventure. I’ve started to get used to the way many of the best audiobook performers can switch accents seamlessly, but Porter really amazed me when he nailed the voice for the protagonists’ best friend, who is described in the book as sounding like “a young Raul Julia.” An all-around fun listen that will not disappoint anyone looking to be entertained.
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