Joe Ledger is a Baltimore cop who has been recruited by the Department of Military Science (DMS) which is a government agency that dwells in the shadows and is only answerable to the President of the United States. Their purpose is to combat threats that are beyond the scope of even the most elite US military units and law enforcement agencies.
What's the threat that Ledger has been enlisted to fight against? One of the most wanted Islamic terrorists in the world, El Mujahid, has gotten his hands on a bioweapon that could make the entire human race go extinct. The bioweapon causes people to turn into zombies! In an unholy alliance, the terrorist group is being financed by Sebastian Gault, the owner of the most powerful and influential pharmaceutical company on the planet. El Mujahid is in it to strike an apocalyptic blow against America. Gault is in it to make trillions of dollars selling the cure for the zombie virus. Let's just say Mujahid and Gault don't exactly see eye to eye on the final endgame.
Some zombies have been infiltrated into the US in cold storage so its up to Joe and a hastily assembled strike team to get intel about the terrorists plans.
I know, aren't we about zombied out by now? Like the overinundation with vampires after Twilight or cheap mom sex after 50 Shades of Grey. The answer? Not quite. You're looking at the man who finally got around to reading Anna Karenina by Tolstoy after decades of beating around the bush. I was completely horrified by the utter banality of it all and quit reading about 60% through the novel. I felt like I had wasted two months of my life. So I was ready for a light and entertaining easy read that wouldn't strain my brain cells.
At first I thought I wouldn't make it through this book because our hero Joe Ledger seemed like such a basic dudebro horndog. But he began to grow on me and matured a bit. One of the suprising things about this novel is that killing zombies and killing people actually takes a toll on the good guys. This isn't the point click and shoot morality of a videogame. People are scarred when they take lives. They have to deal with mental issues because they are facing the impossibility of people rising from the dead to eat them. I really liked Maberry's realistic take on it. I feel like even in shows like The Walking Dead, the cast quickly got over the new reality of zombies walking around.
The action in the book was done really well, even though Joe's team members were almost anonymous and hard to visualize. They just became names to me and never really developed their own personalities. The MAIN players were all written well though: the leader of the DMS, Gault, Mujahid, and another DMS squad leader, Grace. All these characters had their levels of mystery and really intrigued me.
The novel does get a bit wacky and reads like a cross between James Bond and World War Z. Sebastian Gault is the super villain with his limitless sums of money and secret lairs with all the science fiction tech. DMS has a super computer that can comb the world for any scrap of information the department needs. But it never gets really corny. I felt like Maberry just tipped his hat to those worlds.
I will definitely give the next book in the series a try.