Review originally published at Three Crow Press.
Patient Zero (Joe Ledger, Bk 1)
by Jonathan Maberry
I seem to be on a major zombie kick lately. It is fun, I haven’t read too many yet, but this book is more of a non-stop thriller, FBI-ish procedural, save the world from megalomaniacs and terrorists. But these are well-funded with nasty smart scientists who mess with mad cow type diseases to create, yep, you guessed it, zombies.
This book is serious and seriously messed up. But Joe Ledger is an awesome nearly superhero-esque character with amazing cop, warrior and army skills and also armed with snarky comments.
“He finished his cookie and took another vanilla wafer. I’m not sure I could trust a man who could bypass an Oreo in favor of vanilla wafers. It’s a fundamental character flaw, possibly a sign of true evil.” (pg 13)
The timeline is crazy fast because you read about Joe’s inclusion in a super secret government agency, as well as the six days ago count-down to present day movements of the terrorists. If you can keep it all straight in your head, you are revealed tantalizing bits of information that no mere mortal could possibly thwart…except for that fact that Joe is so kick-ass. His new boss is a bit of a scary bastard, mostly because you don’t get in his head to know how or why he does things.
“That wiped the smile off everyone’s face. We all knew he meant it, and I was starting to get a pretty good idea that he was a total whack job.
But he was our whack job.” (pg 116)
I really enjoyed this book, it was a mile a minute, wild ride that just happened to include the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. There are some extremely violent scenes, but the people involved are human, they have a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact they just had to kill a bunch of civilians that had been changed. Maberry juxtaposes real people who are genuinely trying to do good with money hungry jerkwads that don’t care except how much money they are going to make. Maberry doesn’t really let you get that immune to the violence because his characters can’t wrap their heads around it very well either. Plus there is a psychiatrist in on the top secret save the world stuff helping them cope.
“He turned back to me. “I hope they’re not so tough that they’re hardened, Joe. We’re not just fighting against something…we’re fighting for something and it would be a shame to destroy the very thing you’re fighting to preserve.” (pg 135)
I am definitely going to pick up the other three books and his YA zombie books. I am a fan! 4.5 stars, one has the virus, the other 3.5 are trying to shoot off its head before it infects them all.
Anyone have any good recommendations for other zombie reads?