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Patient Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel (Joe Ledger, 1) Paperback – March 3, 2009
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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 that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce 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 bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance....
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“I had a fine old time reading PATIENT ZERO. 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. This is a lovely feat, and Maberry has written a memorable book.” ―Peter Straub
“Patient Zero is high-octane excitement from beginning to end, and the start of a fabulous new series. Joe Ledger and the DMS have my vote as the team to beat when combatting terrorist threats on a grand scale.” ―David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of FIRST BLOOD and CREEPERS
“Scary, creepy, and gripping--PATIENT ZERO is 'Night of the Living Dead' meets Michael Crichton.” ―Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Power Play
“A fast-paced, creepy thriller that as prickly as a hospital needle and sounds a little too convincing. This guy is good.” ―Joe R. Lansdale
“Brutal action, insanely intelligent, and so real that the hair on the back of your neck stands up!” ―L.A. Banks, The Vampire Huntress Legends Series, New York Times Best-selling Author
About the Author
- Publisher : St. Martin's Griffin; Original edition (March 3, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 421 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312382855
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312382858
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.49 x 1.21 x 8.11 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #161,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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Admittedly, I've never served in the military but I find it impossible to believe that special forces vets would defer leadership to a surly, snarky detective with no combat experience but is super good at martial arts.
Also, I've done martial arts and I had a hard time following the descriptions of fight scenes.
This book is a total waste of time and money. It's not even the best zombie book titled Patient Zero. Read the one LT Ryan instead. JT Sawyer's Emergence is way better too. They're both free. I really hope Amazon will give me my money back.
There are the characters. Joe Ledger is the main character and rather than being a super soldier, he comes along as a different flavor. Yes, he's "Warrior" but he's also a "Cop" so he doesn't have the freedom to act that some Special Ops characters tend to have. He's a "hero waiting to happen".
There is the team that he needs to lead: First Sergeant Bradley Sims, Second Lieutenant Oliver Brown, CPO Samuel Tyler, and Bunny Rabbit. Joe starts by offending all of them and then needs to shape them into a team who trust each other and work together.
His friend and "shrink" is Rudy Sanchez who gets swept up into the story and has his own role to play.
There's even a love interest in Major Grace Courtland however the author develops this slowly and let's Joe demonstrate his character and that he's a gentleman.
There are the "bad guys". Rather than picking a terrorist stereotype, the author comes up with a new concept: a corporate super-villain who uses terrorists who, in turn, use him. In addition, there are the moles planted by the villain in our government organizations.
The Bio-technology is plausible and well explained in the book.
"If you seek peace, prepare for war." ("Si vis pacem, para bellum")
The plot and the pace grew throughout the book and ended on a high note.
I'm looking forward to reading this author's next book.
I only found 1 typo in the Kindle edition of the book which I've reported to Amazon.
That was a short, straight action story and was very nicely done.
The sample I downloaded ( love the samples, really helps choose a book I'll like ) was, unfortunately, mostly action.
So I bought this book.
This author does write nice action sequences. But that's pretty much it.
The characters in this book were at best 1 dimensional. Not fleshed out at all and didn't read like real people.
The plotting was weak. Actually pitiful.
I got about 2/3 of the way through it on sheer momentum and grit before I admitted to myself that I really disliked this story and put it aside.
I thought initially that I'd found a new author to binge on. Not.
Top reviews from other countries
Im not going to pretend that these are novels with much literary merit to them. They will not challenge you, you will not find life changing story arcs, or even many characters with any real dynamism. What you will find is pure story telling at it's finest and most outlandish, action that rips past you at the speed of light, sucks you in, and refuses to let go.
I really reccomend these, I dived into patient zero while looking for a good zombie book and I am glad I found this series. Daft, silly, and great fun.
The genius behind the biotech company teams up with Islamic terrorists to hatch a plot which is going to kill the United States of America.
In the meantime, Baltimore Detective Joe Ledger is recruited into the top secret unit, Department of Military Science, DMS, which is dealing with the threat. He is a super-hard policeman, although I had to laugh at part of his assessment. The head of the DMS is the mysterious Mr Church, who is answerable only to the president.
“Elapsed time from the slide locking back to completed kill is 0.031 seconds,” said Church. “Tell me why I want him for the DMS.”
Can you believe that anyone can react to an event and complete a move to kill somebody in three-hundredths of a second? The move itself would have taken over half a second.
There were a few more minor irritations.
“Sure, what do you want?” “My usual. Iced half-caf ristretto quad grande two pump raspberry two percent no whip light ice with caramel drizzle three-and-a-half-pump white mocha.” “Is any of that actually coffee?” “More or less.” “And you think I’m damaged.”
Is that necessary?
Counting Javad, our patient zero, we have a loss of life totaling one hundred and eighty-eight civilians and twenty-four DMS operatives. Two hundred and ten deaths as a result of one carrier.
I make that 212.
“LOL,” Bunny murmured.
Clearly didn’t laugh out loud if he was murmuring!
“I hate to break up this Dr. Phil moment but I kind have to go fight some zombies.”
Where does “like” come into it?
Those irritations aside, the tension in the story builds with a race against time to save humanity.
The middle section of the book became a bit predictable and boring for me, as it resembled a shoot-em-up computer game, but the last third was all action and compulsive reading, with lots of twists and turns.
It is exciting, and the ending is good.
I really don’t know what “normal” zombie stories are like, but I believe that this one would be different. I enjoyed the ride.
Ultimately if you want something trashy to fill a few hours, this is perfect. It's entertaining, quite straight forward, and a lot of fun. Reminds me some what of the Clive Cussler books in that sense - and it does a perfectly good job.
Patient Zero tells the story of the DMS, Department of Military Science, who take on a terrorist trying to create zombies as a bioweapon for an attack on America. I did not realise that this was the first in a series of books about the main character, so my initial expectation was that it would go in a more World War Z fashion, but I still really enjoyed it nonetheless. I do recommend it if you're looking for some simple action writing.
The recommendation reappeared after I bought Chris Farnsworth's extremely enjoyable Vampire/Espionage cross-over Blood Oath (highly recommended and definitely not a Twilight or Tru Blood cash-in). This time there were some readers reviews to go with the synopsis, and these suggested that contrary to appearances there was more to Patient Zero than a muscle-bound hero blowing away Zombie hordes. The fact that Nick Brett, whose reviews I generally trust, thought it a fun read made me think twice and so I took the plunge.
I am very glad I did, because Patient Zero is not at all the sort of book I was expecting. Even with the positive reviews I was still thinking it would be a mash-up of a Matthew Reilly novel, all frenetic but implausible action, and Romero's Living Dead movies. I pretty much dismissed reviewers reference to Michael Chrichton as overly excessive praise. It turns out that, whilst I still can't really see the similarities with Chrichton's work, Patient Zero is very far from being just action and zombies. It is a proper, adult thriller with a relatively complex plot, some decent characterisation (for the genre) and at least a stab at making the science behind the 'zombies' (or 'Walkers' as the book calls them) sound plausible.
There is plenty of action of course; some of the most intense and best written I have come across in a while. One seemingly last, desperate stand by the book's heroes was so tense that I literally felt impelled to keep turning the pages to find out how it ended. The story as a whole in fact, has a feel of constant forward momentum that keeps you gripped from start to finish, but avoids being a headlong rush of constant action that just becomes wearisome. There are plenty of quieter moments, allowing Maberry to give key characters a little more depth or provide some necessary exposition.
I've not read any of Maberry's previous novels so can't compare them to Patient Zero, but he's obviously a writer with some talent. Structure, descriptions and dialogue are all first rate and as I've said before he's a great writer of clear but ferocious action. He does go slightly OTT on the emotional analysis from time to time and as another reviewer has pointed out some of the cod-psychobabble he throws in just feels out of place, but these are minor quibbles.
There are also some significant holes in the plot he has come up with, with characters making decisions that simply defy logic if you think about them too much and conspiracies that are far too overly complex, but such is the book's momentum that these pass you by whilst you're reading it. Just don't think too hard about it afterwards.
The final act is also a little messy. After the bavura Alamo-style last-stand two thirds of the way through anything less was going to feel like a bit of an anticlimax, but the final series of events simply has too much going on, with parallel plot threads being tied up simultaneously and numerous threats to be taken care of. Although its never gets confusing its doesn't really flow either.
Its not enough to really detract from all the great stuff that has gone before however, and overall Patient Zero is more than deserving of four stars. If I didn't have a stack of other books to read I'd probably be ordering the next book in the series, The Dragon Factory , right now. As it is it is going straight to the top of my wishlist.