15 May 2013

Review: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Patient Zero (Joe Ledger #1) by Jonathan Maberry

Published: 3 March 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin

Pages: 421 (paperback)

Genre/s: Horror, Zombie, Thriller

Source: Own library

Synopsis


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....

My Thoughts

I'll tell anyone that will listen that Jonathan Maberry is one of my favourite authors.  In the zombie genre he's something of a legend - after all, his multiple series cover just about every genre - Benny Imura is a YA Zombie series, Dead of Night is adult horror lover, and then there's Joe Ledger who is a dizzy combination of horror, action, thriller and conspiracy all rolled into one.

The whole premise of the Joe Ledger series should actually turn me off completely - I'm not the biggest fan of military ops kinda stuff - weapons and strategy talk bore me senseless, and typically the characters tend to be pretty one dimensional.  But this is the magic of Jonathan Maberry - he can take a story that should only appeal to a certain group of readers, and make it something that any reader could enjoy.

Joe himself is the kind of character that is infinitely fascinating - although tough as nails physically he has his own emotional demons that make him likable and easy to sympathise with, all whilst cheering him on as he kicks baddies in the face and wrestles zombies.

The plot of Patient Zero is not just an endless barrage of violence however.  There are crosses, double-crosses, and some really evil characters that are enormous fun to despise, and a fair few of the twists were not easy to figure out.  This is one action-packed book - there's very little downtime but somehow in the middle of all the zombie slaughter there's more than enough opportunity to get to know Joe and the other characters in-depth.

The actual science behind the zombies varies from Maberry's other books - there is some pretty detailed scientific explanation, and although I'm no expert, it all feels very real and plausible without being overwhelming.

Revisiting Patient Zero was a wild ride, and once again I really enjoyed it.  Now it's time to re-read the next book in the series, The Dragon Factory, and then get onto the ones I haven't read yet!

10 comments:

  1. I've heard of this book - while I'm not a zombie reader, this does sound good. I especially like a bit of scientific explanation so it becomes a more plausible story. I liked that in The Passage (Justin Cronin) too.

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    1. Jonathan Maberry is really good at making his stories credible, and different.

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  2. Ohh, whenever I hear "scientific explanation" I'm interested :D There are far too little books with good scientific backgrounds, so I can't wait to see what he comes up with! :) But first, I'm going to start with Rot & Ruin.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    Replies
    1. Rot & Ruin is great - there's lots of unique ideas about zombies, and some fabulous character progression too!

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  3. Ugh! Why have I not read any of his books yet!

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    1. *gasps*, you need to get onto that ;)

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  4. This is one of my husband's favorites too.

    Have you read the Morningstar Strain series by Z.A. Recht? That's his favorite and I loved it too. The only thing is that he died before the final book was finished. They took all his notes and outline and got it published but my hubby hasn't read it yet.

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    1. I've read the first two books of the Morningstar Strain, but I'm deathly afraid of the last book - the reviews aren't that great and I'm undecided between finishing it and just enjoying the memory of the first two books!

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  5. I haven't read any books by Maberry yet (GASP!) but he's at the top of my zombie-to-reads list, more specifically as is this book. I won't say it has anything to do with the fact that it's set in my hometown (but it kinda does) but I LOVE LOVE LOVE action/horror/thrillers. It's a hard balance to maintain, meshing so many genres, but when done well it's a slam dunk! The genres in this book kinda remind me of the Morningstar Strain series (the first two books only!). So excited to hear it's a winner!

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  6. I really need to read this series. AND Benny. I haven't read a zombie book in a while. I need to make it happen!

    I loved Dead of Night so I know Maberry is going to entertain me with anything he writes.

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