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Book Talk with Tom

Patient Zero:  a Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry has written many novels.  I discovered him through his young adult series about zombies; the Benny Imura books.  Many of us around the library enjoyed that series.  In case you're interested, the books are Rot & RuinDust & DecayFlesh & Bone, and Fire & Ash.  There is also a book of short stories that go along with the series called, Bits & Pieces.

All of the books in this series can be obtained through your friendly local library, as can the book I'm actually reviewing, Patient Zero.

According to many reviews I read on Patient Zero, this is his best book, but I don't agree with that.  This book is excellent, but I don't think the reviewers have read enough Maberry books.

I love a good zombie book, and this is one of the best I've ever read.

This is a Zombie/Anti-Terrorist/Sci-Fi novel.  The origin of the zombie outbreak is attributed to intentional bio-engineering.  The terrorists have cooked up a brain-wasting parasitic (sort of like Mad Cow disease but this is Mad Person disease isntead.  Not be confused with a brain-eating amoeba).  Once die, a lot of really important parts of the brain are destroyed along with most organs but, after you're dead, you come back (Zombie!).

Once back, you feel no pain, you become very violent, hungry, and you want to eat your neighbor's grandson or whoever the nearest living person is.  The smallest bite from an infected zombie passes the disease on until everyone is wanting to eat someone's grandson.  The only way to stop this is to isolate the infected and kill every zombie...there is no cure.

This is what the terrorists want, complete chaos, and terror.  They have a plan that will destroy everyone on the planet except for a select few (you'll have to read the book to see what this plan is).

Someone has to stop this madness from spreading worldwide.

Let me introduce you to Joe Ledger...

Joe was an Army ranger and a Baltimore police detective before he was picked to head the Alpha team of the secretive DMS, the Department of Military Sciences.  DMS takes the jobs Homeland Security is unable to handle---like bio-engineered zombies.  Joe knows how to fight and take a punch, he is a Jujitsu virtuoso, a superior marksman, a natural leader, and a warrior.

Joe was brought to the attention of "Mr. Church," the head of DMS, after watching a video of a warehouse raid full of terrorists that Joe headed up.  Mr. Church is a code name, no one knows what Mr. Church's real name is.

It was Joe's fighting style, and lack of hesitation or show of fear that gave Mr. Church the idea that he may be the right man to head the Alpha team.

This all makes Joe seem like a typical tough guy from any James Bond novel, but Jonathan Maberry has a way of building a character from the bottom up.  We learn why Joe is the way he is and what he has gone through in his life to make him that way.  Maberry has made Joe a very likable protagonist to root for.

Jonathan Maberry is known for fleshing out his characters, making them real to us, and believable as a good friend.  This novel is so fast paced, it is hard for most authors to construct the characters in as little time as is permitted in this page-turner.

So, if you like a good horror/zombie/anti-terrorist story, this is one of the best to go to.  There is even a little love story going on!