Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Joe Ledger #1

Patient Zero

Rate this book
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...

Audible Audio

First published March 3, 2009

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jonathan Maberry

476 books7,126 followers
JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-seller and Audible #1 bestseller, five-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, anthology editor, comic book writer, executive producer, magazine feature writer, playwright, and writing teacher/lecturer. He is the editor of WEIRD TALES Magazine and president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. He is the recipient of the Inkpot Award, three Scribe Awards, and was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than thirty countries. He writes in several genres including thriller, horror, science fiction, epic fantasy, and mystery; and he writes for adults, middle grade, and young adult.

Jonathan is the creator, editor and co-author of V-WARS, a shared-world vampire anthology from IDW Publishing that was adapted into a NETFLIX series starring Ian Somerhalder (LOST, VAMPIRE DIARIES).

His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuted in 2018 and was followed by LOST ROADS in fall 2020. ROT & RUIN is in development for film by ALCON ENTERTAINMENT and was adapted as a WEBTOON (a serialized comic formatted for cell phones), becoming their #1 horror comic.

His novels include the enormously popular Joe Ledger series from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel) and eleven other volumes, most recently RELENTLESS. His middle grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY (Simon & Schuster) was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015. His standalone novels include MARS ONE, GLIMPSE, INK, GHOSTWALKERS (based on the DEADLANDS role-playing game), X-FILES ORIGINS: DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, and THE WOLFMAN --winner of the Scribe Award for Best Movie Adaptation

His horror novels include The Pine Deep Trilogy from Pinnacle Books (GHOST ROAD BLUES, 2006, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel and named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium; DEAD MAN’S SONG, 2007; and BAD MOON RISING, 2008; as well as DEAD OF NIGHT, and its sequels, FALL OF NIGHT, DARK OF NIGHT, and STILL OF NIGHT.

His epic fantasy series, KAGEN THE DAMNED debuts in May 2022. And he just signed to co-author (with Weston Ochse) a new series of military science fiction novels that launches the SLEEPERS series. Jonathan will also be launching a new series of science fiction horror novels for the newly established Weird Tales Presents imprint of Blackstone Publishing.

He is also the editor of three THE X-FILES anthologies; the dark fantasy anthology series, OUT OF TUNE; SCARY OUT THERE, an anthology of horror for teens; and the anthologies ALIENS: BUG HUNT, NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD (with George Romero), JOE LEDGER UNSTOPPABLE (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt); two volumes of mysteries: ALTERNATE SHERLOCKS and THE GAME’S AFOOT (with Michael Ventrella); and ALIENS V PREDATOR: ULTIMATE PREY (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt). He is also the editor of DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, the official tribute to SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. His next anthology will be ALIENS VS PREDATOR: ULTIMATE PREY (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt), debuting in spring 2022.

Jonathan was an expert on the History Channel documentary series, ZOMBIES: A Living History and TRUE MONSTERS. And he was participated in the commentary track for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED.

His many nonfiction works include VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006); THE CRYPTOPED

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
10,747 (37%)
4 stars
10,321 (35%)
3 stars
5,649 (19%)
2 stars
1,526 (5%)
1 star
720 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,318 reviews
Profile Image for Zain.
1,452 reviews153 followers
June 11, 2023
Zombies Are Real! 🧟‍♀️

Somebody is plotting an apocalypse! Terrorist are attacking the world! They have created a virus that kills and then re-animate the dead!

The zombies are violent and hungry for human flesh!

Here comes Joe Ledger of the DMS (Department of Military Science). He and his team are on it. They have the guts to fight the walking dead, and kill them and the terrorists!

Will they succeed? Will they stop the apocalypse or will they fail in their mission?

Read this book and find out!

Four stars. 💫💫💫💫
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,847 followers
December 12, 2010
How can a book about zombie terrorists be boring? I wrote a review here (an earlier book)where I noted that I can at times read at a fairly fast rate and I do that especially when I have a large number of library books waiting to be read. In that review I noted that sometimes I regretted it as there were/are times I'd like to linger over a book....this isn't one of those books.

The book caught my interest initially and I had hopes for it. It "was/is" another "zombies are caused by an infection that of course effects 100% of victims and is spread by a bite" story. (didn't that show up first in a video game?)...still a good action opening a little government conspiracy, an apparent traitor in Homeland security, of course the requisite psychopathic irresistible sex craving beauty and "disturbingly" attractive female interest...what else did it need? Unfortunately by 100 or so pages in I was feeling like throwing the book across the room. The constantly shifting viewpoint, the cliched story lines, it all just lost my interest.

I don't know, maybe I'm just jaded, maybe I've read too many books. More and more I seem to find myself disappointed with books I initially had high hopes for. Oh well, sorry if you liked this one...I just don't.
Profile Image for seak.
434 reviews473 followers
April 27, 2012
Jonathan Maberry has made a name for himself writing horror, but more specifically writing about zombies. Going into Patient Zero, I knew it would contain zombies, but it could probably fit just as well under the label of "covert ops" or some such (not that this fantasy nerd knows anything past dragons and magic). It technically contains a form of "zombie," but it really isn't a zombie book.

The real threat in this book is terrorism. Joe Ledger, the series' eponymous hero and Baltimore detective, is recruited by a special, super secret task force, the Department of Military Sciences. The DMS is charged with taking out a group of terrorists with a bio-weapon that turns people essentially into zombies.

Maberry does a great job getting you right into Patient Zero. Ledger's right in the middle of the action, gets recruited, gets tested to see if he can cut it. I was sucked in fast, but it also got old fast for me.

I love a good zombie book as much as the next guy, but as I mentioned above, this wasn't really a zombie book and I found myself getting a bit bored. I really think it was me more than anything the author did, these types of books just aren't my cup-o-tea. I don't mind watching these types of movies, but I like reading more about the supernatural than espionage, etc, and there really wasn't a whole lot of supernatural going on here.

And maybe that's kudos to the author. He did a great job explaining the plague/zombie-making disease and maybe too good because it all made sense and it was more like preventing the spread of the mumps.

But, while I admit that these types of books aren't my favorite, I also had a hard time with the main character, Mr. Ledger. He's a tough-guy, a meat-head so to speak (so we probably wouldn't hang out anyway), but he grated on me after awhile. It's almost like he's constantly pissed, but that's not quite it. He's not quite griping either, but he's got this attitude quite frequently expressed such as "you're doing it all wrong."

While Joe Ledger plays a large role in Patient Zero, he maybe only takes up a little over 50% of the book. The rest is in Afghanistan with the terrorists and specifically Sebastian Gault, a billionaire who specializes in pharmaceuticals. While considered a philanthropist by the world, he really takes advantage of ailing countries rather than really helping them, so of course something like this is right for him.

The Afghanistan parts are where most of the twists and turns take place, but I still can't say I loved it all that much. I think I'm over the terrorists as the "bad guys" and while it really was the only thing that worked for the story (who else could pull off bio-weapons?) I'm done with them just like I'm done with the Germans and Russians (as bad guys not as characters).

I think a lot of people will enjoy this much more than I did and I can't say I didn't like it either, I just didn't love it. The twists and turns were great and I really didn't expect the ending where It's just not my type of book. Recommended, but not necessarily as a zombie novel.

3 out of 5 Stars
Profile Image for Gianfranco Mancini.
2,209 reviews791 followers
January 28, 2022

Hai mai visto il film 28 giorni dopo? No? Dovresti. Anche il seguito non è male. Comunque quel film parla di un virus che stimola i centri della rabbia che si trovano nel cervello, al punto da riuscire a bloccarne ogni altra funzione. Le vittime vivono in un totale, perenne ed essenzialmente incurante stato di rabbia. Molto simile a quello con cui abbiamo a che fare qui. Credi che un terrorista con un dottorato in chimica abbia visto un film di fantascienza e poi abbia pensato “Ehi, questo si che è un buon modo per uccidere gli americani”?

Quando un gruppo di terroristi arabi ed i loro avidi alleati progettano la caduta dell’intero Occidente nel nome di Allah, scatenando nientepopodimeno che una apocalisse zombi, spetta all’intrepido Jack Bauer, James Bond, Jason Statham Joe Ledger, tostissimo detective della polizia di Baltimora e neo capitano dell’intrepida Squadra Echo, braccio armato del segretissimo Dipartimento Scienze Militari americano, l’ingrato compito di salvare il mondo, la patria, e la torta di mele, tra qualche centinaio di pagine, non numerate, a base di sparatorie, esplosioni, sbudellamenti ed amenità varie che paiono uscite dal peggior action thriller movie di serie “Z” mai realizzato.
Questo Patient Zero di Jonathan Maberry, primo ed unico capitolo della longeva saga di Joe Ledger uscito qui da noi in Italia, è decisamente un prodotto del suo tempo, quella prima decade degli anni duemila in cui tra The Walking Dead e saghe varie, gli zombi assursero a nuova gloria dopo anni di oblio, intasando con ogni genere di prodotto dalla qualità più o meno altalenante, librerie, fumetterie, cinema, computer, consolle, e canali televisivi in tutto il mondo.
La storia è praticamente la fiera dei cliché, a partire dal protagonista con un passato turbolento e tormentato fino alla bellona di turno che si innamorerà di lui dopo l’iniziale disprezzo e diffidenza iniziale, per non parlare di traditori interni alla squadra, cattivoni che alla fine si tradiscono e scornano tra di loro, e macchiette a dir poco ridicole e imbarazzanti come lo scienziato nerd Dottor Who Hu e l’efficientissimo Toys, assistente gay del ricchissimo e cattivissimo Sebastian Gault… praticamente Smithers ed il signor Burns dei Simpsons.
Il tutto condito da più di seicento pagine a base della tamarraggine pura accennata sopra, con due prospettive narrative, quella in prima persona da parte di Joe, e quella in terza perlopiù dedicata alle terrificanti malefatte degli antagonisti, con in più qualche soporifero spiegone tecno-scientifico, ed una infinita serie di non proprio imprevedibili colpi di scena alla fine dei quali mi sono sentito come Diego Abatantuono in Nirvana (1997), quando sbotta allo spuntare dei mafiosi Yakuza nel videogioco… quando arriverete all’epilogo finale, praticamente una delle peggiori e stereotipate scene post-credits di tutti i tempi, probabilmente mi darete ragione.
A parte ciò, il libro intrattiene e diverte, e mi sono trovato piacevolmente incollato a leggere centinaia di pagine di fila senza neppure accorgermene, tra risate ed alzate di occhi al cielo varie.
Qualche piccolo refuso, ma vista la quantità di pagine, la cui non numerazione nella mia copia cartacea ho trovato alquanto fastidiosa, nulla di particolarmente grave.

Un piacevole prodotto d’intrattenimento se vi piace il genere, e che fa più che bene il suo dovere a patto di chiudere un occhio sui difetti sopracitati, che però potrebbero anche essere dei punti di forza se siete nel mood giusto.

Concludo dicendo che se mai realizzeranno una serie tv o dei film su Joe e la Squadra Echo, io sarò probabilmente in prima fila a godermeli ingozzandomi di popcorn, per poi cancellarli dalla memoria nel giro di una settimana.

Un po’ come avverrà dopo aver letto questo, seppur piacevole, libro.
Profile Image for Char.
1,680 reviews1,553 followers
July 11, 2019
So...okay, yeah. Ray Porter elevated my enjoyment of this so much that I’m continuing the series this time around!

*Thanks to my local library for the free download. Libraries RULE!*
Profile Image for Choko.
1,221 reviews2,594 followers
June 29, 2020
Joe Ledger is a Baltimore cop who takes his job very seriously. He kills a guy during a raid and the last thing he expects is to have to kill him a second time that day, when the dude somehow reanimates as a Zombie! But zombies aren't real, right? Well, apparently they are and someone is using a pathogen to induce the condition and use it as a weapon against the general public in the USA. There are some religious fanatics, some of those for whom money is their G-d, and some political fiends thrown into the mix with a new governmental agency created to deal with the more bizarre threats to the Homeland Security. DMS is Joe's new employer and Mr. Church is the boss, a true bad-ass and a shady character, who is definitely better as an ally than an enemy. And of course, there is a lady, but she is not in distress and knows how to hold her own.

This was exciting and well written, a bit on the testosterone side, but good for what it is. I am looking forward to keeping on kicking some ass with those no nonsense and well armed new members of the DMS😈
November 20, 2021
Reread completed in October to November 2021 on Audiobook

I have been listening to these on audiobook, narrated by the excellent Ray Porter, and I decided to go back to and listen to the first book in the series, because I wanted to experience it audibly. I loved listening to it. Honestly, the audiobook upgrades this to a five star. I really love this series.

I love how over the top it is. I love the characterization. I love the action. I love the science mixed with the James Bond type villains. I especially love how highstakes the plots are, and how there's very little slowdown of the story. Yet, the writing still allows for character development and emotional resonance. I would love to see these as a tv series one day!

I could go on and on about things, but I'll keep it simple. I'm really glad I took the time to reread/listen to this one. I think I might go ahead and listen to Extinction Machine since it's been a minute. Jonathan Maberry really knows what this action reader craves, because when I pick up a Joe Ledger book, it keeps me on my toes and I know I'm in for a wild ride.

I don't like zombies, but I like this book!

I bought this one a while ago because I was intrigued by the idea of an action/adventure series about a special government agency which handles strange science threats. It's been sitting on my shelf, not because it didn't look interesting. I was just reading and doing other stuff.

Glad I was able to read it for the February group read for the Action/Adventure Aficionados group. A very strong selling point is that this one hits the ground running. I hate being bored, so I appreciate a book that doesn't give me opportunities to get bored, and also engages my intellect. This book did both. I felt that I was drawn into the action early on, and the fact that the characters have to think on their feet adds to the sense of urgency. This book is built quite heavily on that sense of urgency, and it succeeds. This was a book that never slowed down, despite the high tech science elements. I feel that the author wrote a book here that is intelligent, but also action-packed. He took zombies and gave them a 21st century update, which makes it even more scary. To think that someone is crazy enough to make a pathogen that would turn people into zombies, and to unleash it on innocent citizens, for any reason, is absolutely frightening.

Mad scientist stories interest me. And this one has a whopper! I did think the actual identity of the mad scientist was quite interesting, although I found their reasons to be a let-down. Not that there was any good reason to do what that person was doing, but the reason didn't ring true to me. Unless it's just sheer craziness.

Terrorism lives up to its name. The thought of murdering people for a cause is appalling. In this book, there is also another dimension here. Maybe terrorism in its essential form isn't the whole picture. Terrorism is also good business. The thought nauseates me. But there are people in this world who happily make lots of money this way. This aspect of terrorism is examined in Patient Zero. That someone in fact uses it to create a demand and supply effect. The zombies aren't the ones with no souls in this book.

This is one of those books I didn't want to put down. Here I am, reading this book in bed when you'd think zombie books would be off the bedtime reading list. Nope. I had to keep reading.

Joe Ledger

Joe has action hero chops. Maberry lays the groundwork for why he's the man for the job, and he acquits himself admirably. I liked that Joe is a tough action hero, but he's also flawed and human. He doesn't have all the answers, nor does he have emotional wholeness, and he knows it. That's another reason he's on the frontline. I kind of liked his attitude. What can I say? A grumpy hero can work for me. And yes, the martial arts, barehanded zombie fighting was pretty awesome. I mean, that takes some guts to tackle a zombie without having a respectable fifteen feet shooting distance between them. How about breaking zombie necks with one's bare hands and other parts of the body? I'll leave that to folks like Ledger. He is a man of action and an intelligent man. A good mix.

Other Characters

I touched on the bad guys. It's hard to write a good villain. You can easily make them too campy or so mundane you're bored to tears. Both is death, no pun intended. How about a little realness thrown in with the evilness quotient? That's a good mix. I'm not sure how effective the villains were on an essential level. They did the job, but something was off. I couldn't identify with the villains. Nope. Not at all. I couldn't put myself in their shoes. To me, they were foul beyond believe. No amount of integrity despite some of them being true believers. Actions speak louder than words. I often asked myself which was worse, the true believers or the ones motivated by almighty dollar? I don't have an answer for that one.

Rudy is like Joe's heart and soul. His conscience. I honestly think having Rudy has kept Joe sane. I liked that he is the voice of reason and the voice of ethics, not that Joe isn't ethical. But he can't always weigh the tough questions in the thick of battle. It's good to know he has Rudy to bounce those off of. Good friends are scarce, so I'm glad they have each other.

As far as the team and the people who work at DMS, I think there are characters that stand out. Church is definitely one of them. He's the mystery man with long fingers, and iron hands that can crush his enemies or protect those who need it. He's a good guy to work for, but not a man to cross. I liked the idea of DMS. How they recruit the best, because the best is needed for a situation like they face in this book. Major Grace Courtland stands out as a female character who is tough as nails, but also three-dimensional. You don't get to see too many military heroines, and she's a very good one. The team that Joe picks don't get as much page time, but I hope to see more of them. They earned my respect in the many confrontations they face, shortly after or right when they find out zombies are real. I'd still be in the pinching myself phase. And then there is Doctor Hu. That was utterly priceless!

What fell short

I felt that the ending was less well-executed than most of the book. The story was so well-plotted until the end, that I just had this 'huh' moment with how it ended. I mean the final confrontation was pretty good, but some of the hows behind it, not so much. I still don't understand what happened with the one character who turned out to be a red herring. And the master plan seemed a bit campy on the part of the true believers. Other than that, I have no complaints. But this knocked my rating down in the end.

Final Thoughts

I have found a new series to follow. Maberry delivers on action and cutting edge science. I love the idea of the DMS, and a top notch action hero like Joe Ledger combined with it, will keep me coming back. While not all elements were 100%, this was a solid read that I enjoyed enormously. I have to give this one a respectable 4.25 star rating. I'll be back for more!
Profile Image for Sarah.
684 reviews158 followers
April 13, 2018
Listened to this on audio. It took me quite some time but not because of any fault of the book. The narrator, Ray Porter, was excellent and really made the book come to life.

For the book itself, it felt very long. It really isn’t all that long considering it’s 400 pages split up into a hundred plus chapters. I have a feeling if I had read instead of listened it would have been much quicker. I liked the short punchy chapters and the way they were all introduced with a date, time, location stamp. It gave the book a feeling of being an authentic recollection of police/security events.

The characters were pretty amazing. I have to say- Joe Ledger is sort of the definition of a Gary Stu. Bad ass “warrior”. Attractive. Natural leader. Brave. Honorable. Good friend. Well respected. Not afraid to cry in front of others. I mean if a person could define the perfect man on paper- Joe Ledger is it. It didn’t bother me much until the end where everything sort of became emotional and induced some eye-rolling. Bunny was my favorite. When he was introduced I just about had tears in my eyes.

“What’s your name?”
“Rabbit. But everyone calls me Bunny.”
“Okay... what’s your first name?”
“God damn it, do your parents just hate you?”
“Maybe Sir.”

Okay so it was funnier when Porter read it. I also loved Mr. Church. The mysterious man behind the curtain. And Rudy... and the list just goes on. The women were under represented here- but Grace Cortland and Amirah did well as the only two female MCs.

The story itself wasn’t quite what I was hoping for (a la Walking Dead survival kinda story) but it was action packed and very enjoyable. (Note to readers- this is a book with Zombies in it- this is not a Zombie book. Other books in the series apparently have nothing to do with zombies.) But there was plenty of humor and I can get behind pretty much anything that makes me laugh. (Rudy’s Starbucks Order- I was dying! I’ve yelled at my sister for making me repeat some variation on those exact words.)

I did have pegged about halfway through the book who the “American” was but this was really only because I listened to the audio (I think). I’m not sure it would have been so obvious if I’d been reading. That didn’t detract from the enjoyment at all and there were plenty of other plot twists along the way.

All in all- this was an excellent horror/sf/thriller novel (if a little testosterone fueled) that I would highly recommend either format for. I’ve already got the second book (audio again!) from the library and the opening is very intriguing.
Profile Image for Rizwan Khalil.
341 reviews519 followers
July 9, 2021
Pure mindblowing awesomeness, that's all I can say. The only way I can properly describe this novel is that its "24 on pages" (referring to 24 tv show of course). The Department of Military Science (DMS) standing in as this version's CTU, from one jawdropping INSANE action sequence to another, an earthshattering impending terrorist attack looming over the horizon, evil middle eastern terrorists and an westerner being the main puppetmaster behind all the schemings... Everything screams to me as 24 (seriously, there was even a mole or two inside the good guys, which was typical 24 element :D ), and as it was one of my most favorite tv show ever, I loved every word of it! Mix this post-9/11 world based ultra-realistic counter-terrorism structure with exotic, outlandish zombie horror plots right out of any classic Hollywood horror movie, and you'll have yourself PATIENT ZERO, the perfect outcome. And there's no shortage of references too, from Jack Bauer to Dawn of the Dead to 28 Days Later to Marvel Zombies, I think this is one of the most self-aware novel I've ever read.

This was my first Jonathan Maberry novel, and he exceeded my expectations with leaps and bounds. He took a very fantastical topic (zombies) and made them as realistic as possible with all the necessary & believable scientific jargon, and the writing with dialogs and descriptions are all crisp, fastpaced and to the point. I guess the characters with their inter-relations, motivations and emotions could've been slightly more humane and deep for a better characterization of them, but what we got still worked nicely in my opinion. In the central role, Joe Ledger is a likable and capable action hero of this dark, uncertain post-9/11 world, where he has all the doubts, fears and confusions of any ordinary man, but by God, he does NOT hesitate to do the right thing when it is needed! No matter what, no matter how. Although I would've liked to see a little less tightjawed and a little more wisecracking side of his (in some rare occasions he did flash those golden wise-ass moments but weren't quite enough) to make room for some lighthearted reliefs, still over all I can't complain. Obviously, the whole situation was very dire and dark. Joe Ledger can very well be the Jack Bauer of the literary world, and he has every capability and strength, not to mention past tragedies in him to make it work. Outside of Ledger, only the main villain got the right amount of space to be properly developed, and he's a really good character with necessary motivations and depth to make him interesting, not just another cardboard cutout.

All in all, the book was a very quick read (even for its almost 700 pages!) and from first chapter to last the plot developed fast and furiously with breathless speed and nonstop suspense. Also there were some truly disturbing quiet hair-raising chills and thrills along the way which greatly complemented the loud bang bang explosive actions when they came. I can safely say, just from the first book I've now became a big fan of author Jonathan Maberry and his Joe Ledger series, and I'll be eagerly blast through the rest of the series in the coming days. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Steve.
247 reviews54 followers
November 17, 2009
I usually steer clear of series fiction, but the Peter Straub blurb made me pick this one up. It's a fast-paced, somewhat cartoonish zombie-thriller involving Joe Ledger, the hard-boiled detective who is recruited by the super-super-ultra-secret Department of Military Sciences. There is plenty of action and the book is well-plotted (if by-the-numbers), but it does have a lot of howlers in it, particularly when protagonist Joe begins to feel patriotic or amorous. Joe can kill anyone, kick anyone's ass, and his head is full of men's self-help book archetypes. He can alternately be the Cop, the Warrior or the spell-casting Wizard. Okay, I mock a bit.

In a sub-ghetto of a ghetto-genre, this book must seem like a masterpiece, rising its rotting head and shoulders over the undead army of George Romero imitators. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it a great novel. Most of the characters are two-dimensional, the romantic interactions are awkwardly written/ unbelievable, and the novel grinds along without much in the way of surprises or innovations. It seems to be formulaic: zombie apocalypse meets war on terror. It's totally Mad Libs after that.

I wanted it to end about three-quarters of the way through. Maberry is a good writer but some of the dialogue in the book sounds like parody. If anything, it's proof that the zombie sub-genre isn't dead, yet. But it's beginning to get a little ripe.
Profile Image for Greg.
1,117 reviews1,879 followers
January 15, 2009
Excusing all my derogatory comments about light / beach / vacation reading, I finally get it. If you have basically a cookie cutter action / thriller novel and it's about zombies I totally understand the appeal. If this had been merely about terrorists attacking America with some unstoppable hero going about shutting them down I'd think it was crap, but when the terrorists are spreading a zombie plague, now that I can get interested in and want to read. I'd probably still rather watch this as a movie and be done with it in two hours but as a before bed read for the past week it's done it's job well. Actually a bit too well in the page turning thing since more than one night I stayed up too late because I wanted to read just another couple of chapters. This is kind of addictive, and the short chapters make reading it very fast and wanting to keep going. I hear books are like this that people read. The book has about 420 pages and 125 chapters, so it's easy to get caught up in the swift pacing.

The basic plot is that terrorists come up with a virus that turns people into zombies and this must be stopped if the whole world isn't going to end. It's basic normal zombie stuff, you have to shot them in the head, if you get bitten you become infected, but for me just having zombies in something usually makes everything ok. The dialog is a little silly at times, but there is also a certain tongue and cheek quality to the badness of the dialog sometimes. The book also sports a quote by Brecht before one of the Parts of the book, which seemed an odd choice for the market this will probably be aimed towards, but it's nice to see Brecht and zombies inhabit the same work. Two great tastes finally together or something like that.

Good stuff, and another fine addition into the recently booming increase in zombie literature.
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,751 reviews696 followers
September 21, 2018
I listened to this one on audio and I didn't take notes so this will not be a real review, not that my other reviews are real either, ha. I tried reading another Maberry book called Ghost Road Blues (that sad excuse for a review is here ) and I did not get along with it, its narrator, nor its male characters but so many love this Joe Ledger character that I figured I'd give the author try. And I'm glad I did.

I love this Joe Ledger person. He is crabby and sarcastic and amusing and one hell of a smart, resourceful guy. Thanks to all of you who pushed him on me :) Now I'm the first to admit that I'm not a fan of all action, all of the time so even though this story is filled with military action, evil maneuverings by evil people, medical terminology and pretty much non-stop zombie action in its latter half, I still enjoyed it a whole bunch. Why? How? Well, Joe Ledger. Author Maberry sets up his character development early on and I was hooked until the very end.

I'm even going to search out the others in this series and I hardly ever do such a thing.
Profile Image for Lou.
879 reviews864 followers
September 15, 2018
With the protagonist Joe Ledger I am thinking of a blend of The characters James Bond, John Rambo and Jack Bauer from 24. The story actually is serving up a good slice of entertainment in the the hole that 24 and Jack Bauer no-more has left. It starts off the first half more of a cerebral approach of a thriller. Maberry writes with this story as if it has been ripped from today's headlines incorporating terrorism and political battles from across the shores. A good story that incorporates weaponry of a different strain using zombies. Love to see how Tv-series plays out. I am trying to work my way to the third installment King of Plagues. I need to eradicate Dragon factory next.
Profile Image for Christina.
236 reviews
September 1, 2011
I have thoroughly enjoyed doing dramatic readings of the Joe Ledger chapters of this book in as gravelly a Christian-Bale-as-Batman voice as I can muster (which isn't all that gravelly, because I am, after all, a girl). This book lends itself perfectly to that kind of parody.

Because it is a parody.

A parody of a parody.

It's cliched in the worst possible of ways...

You've got main character/hero Joe Ledger who walks with a big stick and supposedly has a bigger dick. He's self-aware enough to know that he has three personalities - the modern man, the warrior and the cop. (Are you F-ing kidding me? By the way, you should see how many times I've written that in my book.) He can take down zombies/soldiers/whatever in a matter of seconds with a few "ju-jutsu" moves. (Most of Ledger's moves are a mix of karate, aikido, shotokan and tae kwon do, or martial arts with combat emphasis. I know; I've studied it.) He drives around with "murder in (his) heart." And he talks like those know-it-all gumshoes in pulp fiction novels. Think James Bond, but not classy. Think Jack Bauer, but not nearly as badass. Think Austin Powers (a parody of Bond), but not funny.

You've got Department of Military Sciences leader Mr. Church/Mr. Pope/Mr. Deacon/whatever (Joe's boss) who's seen and heard, but never really known. Think Charlie in Charlie's Angels, but spouting hyper-militaristic strategy and gun knowledge.

You've got love interest "Amazing" Grace Courtland, who doesn't want to like Joe Ledger, but just can't help herself.

You've got villain Sebastien Gault, who is only different from Dr. Evil in that he understands the real value of modern dollars.

And instead of a super-smart computer nerd who collects comic books and action figures and finds the root of the problems, you've got Dr. Hu (Yes, you read that right, just like Dr. Who), a super-smart doctor who collects zombie comic books and zombie actions figures and finds the root of the problem.

But maybe zombie novels are supposed to be cliched. (It sure seems like it since they're all super-cheesy.) And maybe you like this kind of garbage. That's fine.

The book is still poorly written.

Beyond the AYFKM? moments and the factual fighting errors, there's the narration. The Joe Ledger chapters are all written in first person, likely to create a sense of immediacy, though I had to get about 2/3 of the way through the book to find anything remotely immediate. The Sebastien Gault chapters are all written in third-person omniscient. It's what we call a cop-out. The writer isn't smart enough to figure out a consistent way to tell the story, so he doesn't tell the story consistently.

I have been able to get this far in the novel only by sheer force of will.

And that is something that the real master of horror, Stephen King, says should never happen. King wrote that a novel should be like a water pump. It should take a little work initially on the reader's part to get into the story, and then the story should flow freely.

Is it a coincidence that Stephen King and son, "Joe Hill," are just about the only horror writers who didn't submit lies for the cover of Maberry's book? I don't think so. They're real writers and they know what real writing is.

Since I can't give this book negative stars, I just won't give it any. I feel almost ashamed that I've written as much as I have - like I'm giving Maberry too much credit just by writing so much criticism. But someone has to balance out all the completely unwarranted love for this book.

I have personally retitled it "Patience: Zero."
Profile Image for Shannon A.
674 reviews531 followers
November 6, 2015
This book was awesome. What do I even say?! It was so much more than a "zombie story" and I will definitely continue the series in the future! I loved all the special ops military stuff and Joe Ledger is freaking awesome. Highly recommend!! (And if you're squeamish like me and were hesitant to pick up due to zombie/horror/gore, don't worry because this book isn't horror at all - it's more action and military).
Profile Image for ✨Susan✨.
926 reviews183 followers
June 9, 2015
I started this on Audible a year ago and returned it. I started reading it last week and could not put it down. One of my Bookworm Buddies loves this series and now I see why. High action believable, human mutation story with a breakneck fast moving plot. The Characters were a bit crazy and over the top but fit the situation perfectly. I will definitely be reading more in this series as well as others by Jonathan Mayberry. It's hard for me to be fair to the next book I read after flying through one with such high intensity. I do not read zombie Genre.
Profile Image for Kenneth McKinley.
Author 2 books233 followers
February 22, 2015
My exposure to Jonathan Maberry was reading his wonderful Pine Deep trilogy. So I was looking forward to what I thought was a zombie book and the start of a new series with the novel Patient Zero. The zombie craze has hit full force in the world of horror since the early 2000's (thank you Brian Keen for getting that jump started with The Rising) and I am becoming a big fan. For me, I'm loving the direction that it is going in with The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Land of the Dead, etc. There's some really good stuff out there compared to how the vampire genre has turned from something I used to love to where I can barely stomach it anymore. But, I'll save why I think vampires shouldn't sparkle for another rant. Back to Patient Zero.

Once I started reading Patient Zero, I begin to like the introduction of the main character, Joe Ledger, immediately. Joe, a former military man, is now a detective with the Baltimore PD. The man has skills. He can kick some ass with his martial arts or with a vast array of weapons. He's quick on his feet, a leader that doesn't hesitate in the face of danger. Because of this, a newly formed secret agency under Homeland Secuity called the DMS recruits him to lead their newest anti-terrorist group. The head of the DMS is a steely, unflappable man with ice in his veins named Mr. Church. Mr. Church reminds me of Tommy Lee Jones character in Men In Black (without the silliness, of course). The guy has connections all the way to the White House. Whatever he wants - the latest gadgets, unlimited resources, skipping through the red tape to get things done immediately, he gets.

The plot centers around a Muslim extremist group that partners up with a pharmaceutical baron, named Sebastian Gault, to create a biological weapon that causes people to "die" and then "come back to life" as zombie-like creatures to infect others with their bites with no known cure. I won't give too much away. But, the bad guys have lots of tricks up their sleeves and the back and forth between the Ledger led group fighting the terrorists is one enjoyable ride. Maberry does a fantastic job in creating characters that stand up through the whole book, great dialogue, and such a vivid picture of post 9/11 terrorism without being old James Bond cheesy. I originally thought that this was going to be a zombie book. As you've probably read from other reviews, the zombies are simply the biological weapon in a terrorist thriller story. While this is different than what I thought it was going to be about, it's still a great story. Think of Joe Ledger as a cross between Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon and Arnold Schwartzenegger in Predator. If I had anything negative to say about the story, I would say that it had a little too much talk about psychiatry and how their various encounters affected the characters psyche. It really is a minor complaint. I would've rated the book as 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. But since you can't do half stars on here, I rounded up because I truly did enjoy it and recommend it to anyone who likes action with side order of zombies.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

You can also follow my reviews at the following links:




TWITTER - @KenMcKinley5
Profile Image for Lena.
1,152 reviews253 followers
April 27, 2021
Joe Ledger is the James Bond of zombie slayers. This book was well paced, action packed, and sometimes funny - in short, this was an entertaining action movie of a book!
Profile Image for Sinisa Mikasinovic.
136 reviews26 followers
March 14, 2016
“When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there's either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world.
And there's nothing wrong with my skills.”

Story follows a Baltimore detective Joe Ledger.
Seemingly just an ordinary cop living his ordinary police life.

But there's more to Joe than meets the eye.
It's brought to attention of some very powerful people, too.
Especially after a series of unusual events that took place in a very short time.

After one such event Joe couldn't wrap his head around, he's 'invited' to a meeting.
One of the you-can't-refuse kind.
And it turns out to be a job interview.
The weirdest, most unexpected and definitely most dangerous job interview anyone had.

We (and Joe) learn of a secret government agency that specializes in the very unusual.
And they need his help...

To show him how much they need him, and why is it in his best interest, too, to join them - they put him in an.... interview room. With a very hungry interviewer.
If he makes it - he gets the job.
If he makes it - he'll WANT the job, too.

Just like with everything else going on, there, as well, is more than one can immediately see and absorb.
Things start happening at such a furious pace there isn't time to think. If you can't think on your feet, you are dead.

Perfect blend of action, thriller, zombies, horror, gore, fighting, adrenaline, shock and much much more.

I made a mistake of 'just' reading this book. I haven't listened to the audiobook version, not even a part of it.

And when I couldn't find paper edition for the sequel I got the audio one.
And then heard one of the best narrators I've ever heard in my life.
I listened to over 50 books, that's saying something.

Gentleman in question is Ray Porter.
He narrated a very very large amount of books - http://my.rs/aem - and 'broke' them in general for a lot of people.
If you read his Twitter feed you'll see cries of other people unable to listen to anyone else now. That's how good he is.

Now pair him with the masterwork that comes out of Jonathan Maberry's mind and you have an absolute winner.

Seriously, if you're a fan of a single thing I mentioned above - and let me say it again: action, thriller, zombies, horror, gore, fighting, adrenaline, shock and much much more - and you don't read this, you will lose so so much and won't be even aware of it.

We can agree that would be very sad, so please for the love of gods pick the book up in your local store.
If you're not a fan of audiobooks, at least give the preview a run.

I feel like I know Joe now.

This is easily in the Top 3 books I've read in 2015. Made me an instant fan of Jonathan Maberry from whom I never read anything before.

This book is also among rare ones that made me harass my friends into reading it.
None regretted.

Edit #1: Expanded on the original 'review' by request.
Edit #2: Fixed copy/paste mess.
Profile Image for Jenny Baker.
1,285 reviews194 followers
September 5, 2018
In the fall of 2017, I met Jonathan Maberry at a small writing conference in Bethesda, Maryland called, "Creatures, Crime, and Creativity". He was such a cool, friendly person that I bought two of his books later that day. This is embarrassing, but I'm just now reading them.

This is the first of the two books that I bought and I loved this from beginning to end. I really thought this was going to be more of a horror novel, but it reads like a police procedural, detective novel that happens to have zombies in it. That's not a bad thing, but I did have to switch gears once I realized it wasn't going to be a scary, zombie novel. As you can see from my rating, I loved it just the same.

Maberry has great prose and his storytelling has a nice, natural flow to it. It was so easy to get into the story. There’s such a mix of characters and that keeps the relationships interesting. One character in Detective Ledger’s group was a mole and I had fun trying to guess which character was the guilty one. I was wrong, but I love being surprised like that.

The story follows Detective Joe Ledger from the Baltimore Police Department. Mr. Church from the FBI interviews Detective Ledger for recruitment and asks him why his superiors recommended him to the FBI.

"Maybe I suck up nicely."

"No," he said, "you don't. Have a cookie." He nudged the plate my way. "There are also several notes in your file suggesting that you are a world-class smart ass."

"Really? You mean I made it through the nationals?"

"And you apparently think you're hilarious."

"You're saying that I'm not?"

"Jury's still out on that."

Haha Jonathan, you're such a funny man! The characters’ personalities are so clear, just in that short dialogue. The character voices are so distinct throughout the novel and I love that. He writes the dialogue exactly how people talk. If the character stutters, he writes it. If the character is cut off midsentence, he writes it. If a character is supposed to sound like an asshole, that’s exactly how they sound. Veteran authors such as Maberry are great at this. I don't know how many debut novels I read where all of the characters sound the same. That's so annoying.

There are plenty of serious scenes when the MCs are trying to stop the terrorists and yes, people turn and die, but I love those little humorous moments. There are so many great action scenes and the story moves at a fast pace. I loved the details, especially the medical aspects and the technology, and feeling as if I’m a member of the FBI.

Overall, this has the ingredients I like in a novel and that makes me want to read more of his novels. This is a good choice for both horror and thriller fans.

Profile Image for Checkman.
517 reviews75 followers
October 19, 2014
Well I'm definitely not on a roll here. Two books in a row and both left something to be desired.

Patient Zero seemed like a sure fire proposition. Zombie horror meets super charged action spy novel genre. Excellent. Right? Wrong.

To begin with I automatically disliked the hero Joe Ledger. Haven't we gotten beyond the perfect hero who is (prepare yourself. It's a long list), smarter, better looking, tougher, faster, stronger, wittier, more aggressive, infallible, a natural warrior and able to get the beautiful women to drop their clothes with the wink of an eye. God damn - really? The fact that Joe is written in the first person narrative makes it even worse because he's an arrogant asshole. I work with guys like Joe and I sure in heck don't find him (or them) entertaining. If Joe Ledger is Mr. Maberry's idealized self image (as fictional characters often are I believe) then I have no desire to meet him either.

Second of all the story simply didn't hold my attention. I hate novels that go from one character to another each and every chapter. I get that it's designed to build suspense, but it doesn't work for me. It breaks up the flow of the story and just irritates me. Try a few chapters with the same character and plot before flipping up to somewhere else half away across the globe.

Third the female protagonist. She can't stand Joe Ledger. Hates him. Is determined to get him off of the team, but in secret she's goes all gooey inside when she's around that big old he-man. He's an Alpha Male and she's going to mate with him because that's what nature says should happen. Yeah okay. Allow me a big yawn please. I guess you could say I'm jealous, but how about we have a female character who is just drawn to the big old hero and doesn't have to work so hard at putting up a facade. Now there's an idea.

Fourth the plot isn't that engrossing. I finally thumbed through it. Hit the hi-points and didn't feel like I missed anything. Wasn't surprised when it was revealed who the mole was in Joe's team and found the ending to be very corny. Actually much of the writing was corny and even sentimental. Yep. Flag waving and sloppy sentimentality in a Zombie Spy novel.

Well I won't be going on to the second in this series. Actually I don't think I'll be reading anymore of Mr. Maberry's books.
Profile Image for Narilka.
601 reviews40 followers
July 11, 2020
Patient Zero is the first book in the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Mayberry. Joe Ledger is a Baltimore Detective who gets recruited by a secret government agency to head up a special task force created to deal with problems that Homeland Security can't handle. The team's first mission is to stop a group of terrorists from releasing a bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies and save the world.

Apparently reading a book about terrorists creating a zombie plague during a real pandemic worked for me as I enjoyed the hell out of this book. The story was just the right mix of action, horror, humor and camp. Joe is a character you can admire and a great action hero. He's a natural leader, good at tactics and not afraid to show emotions. Joe also has doubts and other human flaws to help keep him semi-relatable while also being a bad ass zombie slayer. The supporting cast is a lot of fun. Church, Joe's new boss, is an enigma wrapped in a mystery that I hope only partially gets revealed throughout the series. Rudy, Joe's best friend and a psychologist, is a person I'd love to have as a friend in real life. Echo Team is tough as nails (even the one named Bunny), their scientist Dr. Who Hu has all the toys, the lady on the team can rescue herself and the bad guys are mad scientist geniuses.

I was impressed by Mayberry's research. The science behind the plague the terrorists create is based on reality which naturally I had to go look up. Prion diseases are terrifying - google at your own risk. Thankfully they are also quite rare. Here's hoping nothing like this ever becomes a pandemic.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Ray Porter. He is amazing as always. I look forward to continuing the series on audio.
Profile Image for Luna .
145 reviews37 followers
October 12, 2022
Well I don't want to get political but be advised I have an honours degree in political science. When I was in grade eight I was subscribing to The Economist which was basically a political journal at the time. I was fascinated by the mideast and the politics there. I remember in the early 80's as I was entering university Yasser Arafat of the PLO complained that the Americans had no way of knowing what type of pain and suffering the region was going through. He threatened to bring the war to the States so as to make them understand.
I have always understood the issues in the mideast from the point of view of the Arabs. I always used to say that we were lucky that it was basically political at the time. That the fervor of religion was not a factor and we were lucky that the fervor was basically political.
Well it didn't take too long for the terrorists to realize the obvious which was that making the issue religious as well would further legitmize their cause and ignite it. Well look what happened!! Religion has added a scary element to the cause of the terrorist and has brought hundreds of thousands more to the ranks of terrorists and more importantly terrorist sympathizers.
I point out the above in relation to this book as a little history lesson. When 911 happened people finally listened to me as to why it occurred but it seems my passion for the mideast had disappeared over time but at least I understand it. So many people are clueless to it.
I saw how 911 changed everything how it effected borders and the border traffic as I am from the Windsor/Detroit area. I saw the paranoia and resources needed for the paranoia as it pertained to law enforcement. How hours and countless resources were wasted on any suspicious package. On anything having a white substance on it. Don't get me wrong it was understandable but things had changed.
As far as reading goes I always tried to stay away from Black Ops type books. But now I have become a fan of the Joe Ledger series (and I read the Orphan X series as well). This novel is set post 911 and centres on a hidden government agency the DMS (department of military science). The leader Mr. Church is quite a storied figure with a computer titled Mindreader which combs through all other computers to gather all the information and put things together which only Mindreader can see. Is this plausible? Well trust me as I have a personal story that relates. I dealt with a guy coming through the border with false documents. As I interviewed him he kept saying that everything he did was wrong and that he went to Virginia to see his ex but she was with another guy. The way he spoke I thought he might have done something very bad (like kill the guy or more). To shorten this I gathered some brief information which started with a name in Michigan. I called a high ranking friend in Homeland Security. In seconds he started inputting the name then traced the person out of state to Virginia. He new how much he paid for the house he was living at in Virginia, he had all kinds of personal information and detailed particulars of the present. When I asked how the **** he was able to do all this so fast as we spoke on the phone he just started laughing (it took him seconds). He had the guts to tell me it was just google but even he couldn't stop laughing as he told me that! He provided me the details of my guests ex and I then placed a call to Virginia authorities to check on the house. It ended up being fine but the sidetracking story illustrates the powers and access to information that Homeland has in and of itself this very day. Fricking scary but needed in these days.
PS (remember my major) does no one understand that friendly nations like Canada/U.S. share information all the time even at lower levels as I just shown. Is it not politics 101 that if I am giving you something I may want something in return? And if I think someone is dirty and possibly a criminal and I know he may run for the highest political office in the country but believe his dirty business is outside the country I run I may ask you to look into it. The impeachment was a joke and why did no one question what Trump had on Biden - like REALLY!! Sorry but had to go there and also I could not believe how many Canadians felt Trump was being railroaded which truly shocked me because Canadians genuinely dislike the man.
So back to the book. It starts out with a super rich American who has legitimate business dealings wanting to get super rich. He allies himself with terrorists by convincing them if they develop a biochemical threat and show that threat to be a real possibility that the U.S. will have to spend a fortune (making him rich beyond rich) on biochemical prevention diverting money and interests from the mideast and convincing the mideast terrorists that this plan will clearly weaken the U.S. resolve in the mideast paving the way for the terrorists to do their thing in their homelands.
So a biochemical weapon is developed but the terrorist turn against our rich friend Mr. Gault with their own version of the plan. I outlined many things which may seem unnecessary but it is the Islam aspect that many who are Islamic may oppose and the novel is strong in portraying the Islamic terrorist in such a negative way. In my mind it is not over done. In my mind it is clearly true of such Islamic terrorist - they are clearly out there. Again though I am sure a person of Islamic faith would have some real issues with this aspect.
So our hero Joe Ledger and his team of DMS using Mindreader come upon the plan and take measures to correct it. The biochemical weapon is used and creates zombies. The scenes which are many depicting DMS against Zombies are wild! It's a fun book and in my mind plausible. The Joe Ledger series in quite lengthy and I have the sequel which is like the sixth in the series in my unread but I am not going to run to it. Reading about this kind of stuff fires me up and consider yourselves lucky that I won't get into the religious aspect of all this.
I rate this four stars but about 75/100. Having read Extinction Machine as my other Joe Ledger novel I know that the series is not focused with Islam but there is a heavy dose of it portrayed here. Enjoy though as overall its a good read and only a nut like me will make it more political than it is.
Profile Image for Mir.
4,867 reviews5,032 followers
February 3, 2010
What seems to be a straight-forward police raid quickly takes a turn for the bizarre when officer Joe Ledger is shown the man he killed in the raid, now reanimated as a zombie! The zombies is are not supernatural creatures but victims of a deliberately engineered virus which terrorists are testing for use on the populace. Ledger is recruited to a secret joint American and British effort to stop them.

This is an entertaining read with an interesting protagonist and plenty of action. Very short chapters and a fairly linear plot make it a good choice for situations that may prevent concentrated or extended reading (waiting rooms, travel, the beach, etc).

There is a free, downloadable short story relating to the beginning of this book, available at http://us.macmillan.com/author/jonath.... However, you do have to give them your email and sign up for annoying promotional mailings. I declined to do this, so I can't say if the story is worth the effort.
Profile Image for Cindy Newton.
657 reviews129 followers
January 6, 2019
I started off 2018 with a zombie book--The Girl With All the Gifts, and I have now started 2019 on the same note. This is a really good read with lots of action and lots of zombies. Joe Ledger is a fun protagonist with a snarky voice and a badass attitude. The explanation for the zombie plague, how it came about and what it is intended for, is a fairly new and unique one and there is some logic to it. The action is intense and non-stop. This is highly recommended for zombie and action fans! I'm definitely going to read the next in the series.
Profile Image for Char.
1,680 reviews1,553 followers
July 3, 2019
Patient Zero is a number of different stories in one.
A zombie story, a terrorist story and a military/police story.
I enjoyed the first two but not so much the last.
It was fun and intricately plotted. The characters were well developed and many of them likeable. I'm just not much into guns, knife fights and explosions.
It was enjoyable, just not really my thing. If you have an action jones then this may be the book for you!
February 20, 2013
*** Note: this review follows a format intended for the "Group Read" in the Action/Adventure Afficionados discussion group. It may not conform to what your used to, but, it'll make sense... at least I hope it makes sense. End Note***

1. Did you feel that this was a good zombie novel?

Well, it’s a good book, it has Zombies in it, but it might be premature to call it a “Zombie Novel.” It was more action adventure with a risk of zombie apocalypse…and…it was a GOOD one.

2. Action scenes. How did they work for you? What kicks the action up a notch for you?

The action scenes were good. At times I think we got too much into the “blow by blow” but, I’m not sure I’d cut that part because this is a case where one bite and it’s the end of the world or a bullet to the head (or both).

I really found the cranberry fight to be very intense. It reminded me of the TNT movie Gettysburg and the stand on Little Round Top. That kind of old world pitched battle where the defenders stand in ranks firing into the rushing tide hoping they are not swept away by them. It kind of reminds me of Carl Sanburg. You know…

“Pile the bodies high at Auterlitz and Waterloo….Pile the bodies high at Ypres and Verdon…I’m the Grass, I cover all….Let me work.” Or something like that.

It really reminded me of those Revolutionary War battles or Civil War battles where it’s stand, fire, reload while the next rank fires and the bodies pile up on the ground at your feet. It’s so important to get the “High Ground.”

3. Characters? Who did you like the most, the least? Who was least fleshed out (no pun intended), and who the most?

Wow, I liked the supporting cast, and of course Joe was a great anti-hero/smart ass. I think it’s a tossup between Rudy and Church for most liked. We didn’t get much info on Church, but, I took that to more an artistic choice to keep him a mystery, than a “lack of fleshing out.” I would have liked to know how much like Church, Ledger actually is, because it seems like they have similar roots. I would have said “Grace” but about half way, we got all of the info on Grace to know what we needed to know about her.

I think we could have known more about Ollie, but probably Bunny Rabbit (love the name) was the one we got only a little sketchy info on. I think Top got unfolded gradually and I might have liked maybe an intro story on him at some point (flash back?) though I’m not sure where I’d put it.

So that leaves Toys as the guy who had the biggest role and we had the least information on. We also have a lot of open questions about him.

4. The science. Was it plausible? Did Maberry do a good job of explaining things without slowing the story down?

I don’t think the science slowed things down. I think we barely got enough of it. We got what was important and Maberry was inventive using Rudy to track down some of the info on “Prions” so we weren’t wallowing around lost in the dark when Hu started explaining things.

Plausible… dahhh… works for me? I’ll buy it. Of course, I’m not much of a Neuro-pharmacology expert. In other words, I’m ignorant enough to buy it, like it and enjoy it.

5. Pacing? Too good, not good, perfect?

That depends on what kind of story you consider this. To me this matched up better with books like “The Sentry” (Robert Crais) and “The Pawn” (Steven James), more so The Pawn. This was about trying to catch terrorists before they end the world. Maybe another good comparison is “Hades Factor” by Gale Lynds and Robert Ludlum (mostly Lynds). So, as a Zombie Book, it probably seemed a bit slow and deep on mystery. For an action adventure (Rollins Style) it’s closer in pace but didn’t built to the huge over the top action sequence conclusion like those do (I thought the Craberrie was more tense than the final scenes). And, even though this was not a book of magic and the occult, it was a lot like the Dresden Files in pace. The high pitch in the middle to last third of the book, the end more intense in meaning and answering mysteries, less intense in action.

So, as it appealed to me, it was in the Steven James's "The Pawn" mode most of the time and, the pace was good for that. I won't say "Perfect" but, it's certainly not an issue I'd raise. It was "good."

6. The Department of Military Science. What do you think?

The Monster Control Bureau without Monsters that matched up better with the Shequay from “The Rook” than anything. Church reminded me of “Archangel” from the old “Air Wolf” series. It was very much like “Fringe” the TV Show, which used the FBI and created a pocket division to suit the story needs. “Seen one Top Secret-Super-Secret Police/Spy organization, seen ‘em all”

I happen to like the institution in Action Adventure/Espionage and other type things. They were a heck of a lot easier to like than Larry Correa’s “Monster Control Bureau.”

7. Favorite moments.

Ledger meets his team.

8. Overall rating: out of 1-10 or 1-5 stars?

4 to 4.5 stars out of 5. For me it seemed that Mayberry went out of his way to show the courageous side of humanity as it is, imperfect, scarred and very capable of evil and good. I really liked the PTSD (ish) elements. There were some technical issues but, overall, he got the most important parts about what Trauma does to people right. Alpha Team’s survivors performance going down, not up things like that. Rudy’s inclusion made things work a lot better. It seemed that the difference between what made the good guys “Good” guys and the bad guys “Bad” guys had more to do with a shred of compassion for each other. .. a very small shred. In a genre that might as well have not bothered with this particular side of humanity and still be popular, that’s worth some credit from me.

I get tired of heroes slaughtering mountains of men, witnessing unspeakable horrors and not coming away with anything more staining and debilitating than muddy shoes and somebody else’s problems.

9. Books you'd recommend like this one?

Oh, yeah, I recommend it!

10. Will you continue the series?

Absolutely, in my own methodical way I’m sure to read them as long as they keep the things I like about them going so, count me in on the next book. (I’m not particularly fast at reading series anymore, only one has captured my attention long enough to push through book by book, in a long time, and that may have been a combination of things unusually coming together at the right time for me.)
Profile Image for Quentin Wallace.
Author 32 books159 followers
November 3, 2015
Zombies are really not my thing. I love The Walking Dead (both the comic and the TV show), and I've seen all the Romero movies. I even have written a book with zombies. But really, I'm more of a Vampire, Werewolf, Sea Creature guy. However, Zombies can be cool too.

This is probably the most realistic zombie story I've read. While I prefer the supernatural in my stories, the science fiction here actually made this one scarier. Terrorists creating zombies? And using a virus that maaaybe be real someday? Scary stuff.

I'm a huge fan of Maberry, and while I don't think this was nearly as good as his Pine Deep trilogy, it was still a great read. It was more action horror, which is the genre I myself write in, so maybe I'm biased.

Joe Ledger is an interesting character, almost too badass to be real, but just human enough to be intriguing. Think Mack Bolan vs. The Walking Dead and you have at least a partial idea of what this story is about.

Also, maybe I'm just having attention span issues lately but this one seemed to be a little lengthy. I think it could have been shortened slightly and been a better read, but perhaps not.

Once again Maberry shows his talents, and at some point I'll be reading the next book in the Joe Ledger series. If you are a zombie fan, you should at least read this first volume to see if the series is for you.
Profile Image for B.R. Saiph.
Author 15 books17 followers
April 27, 2022
(audiobook version)
Non-stop action, compelling characters, realistic story...wow! This author had me on the edge of my seat, especially at the end. I literally couldn't stop until I finished it. I enjoyed how the chapters alternated between the good guys and bad guys too. I have really enjoyed other action stories , but this is in another league!
Ray Porter was a brilliant narrator!
Profile Image for Janie Johnson.
899 reviews134 followers
January 5, 2014
When I first started this book I was very interested and intrigued by it, and then about a quarter of the way through it got a little dull and boring and I thought it was gonna take me forever to get through the book. But then something happened and the book quickly turned course on me and I fell in love with all of it. The characters, the plot, and the overall story.

I have learned that Maberry has a great gift in story telling and for character development. Our main character who is my favorite, I fell in love with almost immediately. He is smart, tough, realistic and likable even though he is somewhat flawed. He is one of those characters that still has retained his morals no matter what he had been subjected to. And even though there are tough decisions he makes the right ones no matter what it might cost him. I found myself wanting to applaud his every action.

I also found I loved Grace, Top, and Bunny! They were also all pretty great characters. In the beginning I was kind of unsure of them, not sure what to expect from them, but then they just grew on me, and rather quickly I might add. All the while I feared for them as I turned each page. Getting themselves into situations where they would come pretty close to death and somehow beating the odds. I hope and look forward to more of them in future novels.

If there would actually be a Zombie apocalypse, this is close to the way I would imagine one being. So with that said, it seems to make the story very believable and realistic. Maberry painted a story here full of mayhem and disarray, heroes and villains, that keeps the readers guessing what was to happen next or who was the next target. Once I got going in the story I loved every minute of this read. I look forward to the next installment, The Dragon Factory.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,318 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.