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Joe Ledger #5

Extinction Machine

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Horror (2013)
The President of the United States vanishes from the White House.

A top-secret prototype stealth fighter is destroyed during a test flight. Witnesses on the ground say that it was shot down by a craft that immediately vanished at impossible speeds.

All over the world reports of UFOs are increasing at an alarming rate.

And in a remote fossil dig in China dinosaur hunters have found something that is definitely not of this earth. There are rumors of alien-human hybrids living among us.

Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences rush headlong into the heat of the world’s strangest and deadliest arms race, because the global race to recover and retro-engineer alien technologies has just hit a snag. Someone—or something--wants that technology back.

433 pages, Paperback

First published March 26, 2013

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About the author

Jonathan Maberry

473 books7,032 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

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 408 reviews
Profile Image for Zain.
1,383 reviews140 followers
April 4, 2023
Four Hundred Forty Eight Pages of Thrills.

Joe Ledger and his friends from DMS (Department of Military Sciences), have their action cut out for them.

There is a lot going on in this story. There are aliens, crop circles, technological marvels, mad scientists and Joe Ledger wanted as a terrorist. Just a few of the things that we are dealing with.

There are so many shoot-em-up scenes and acts of violence and brutality that you are falling off your chair while reading. And the book has multiple pages of reading, but the chapters are very short so the book moves along quickly.

And Ledger is ready to fight with the same violence that is dealt him. He gives it right back to the bad guys. He needs to be a brutal man because he’s dealing with homicidal people. And it allows him to be successful in his mission.

I would like to say more, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

So another Joe Ledger story has been written.

Four fruity stars. 💫💫💫💫
Profile Image for Nickolas.
Author 2 books21 followers
February 16, 2013
Eeek! It's Joe Ledger time! Please allow me a moment to geek out...Thanks, I needed that. Here we have EXTINCTION MACHINE, the fifth Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry. I'll admit, I was a little panicked going into EXTINCTION MACHINE because I saw some rumor online declaring it the last Joe Ledger Novel. The good news is: this rumor was pure speculation, there is a sixth book in the works. The great news is: it will be called CODE Z, and it is a direct sequel to the debut Joe Ledger Novel - PATIENT ZERO. So with that dreary cloud of depression safely behind us, let's get on with the show!

Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences have faced everything from zombies to transgenic monsters, from the Ten Plagues of Egypt to vampires. Now they find themselves contending with UFO's, crop circles, reverse engineered alien technology, Men in Black, government cover-ups, and secret cabals. The President of the United States of America has been abducted by persons unknown and the fate of the world once again rests in the calloused hands of Echo Team.

"We could easily see a new age of empire that would reshape every map on Earth."
"With alien technology?"
"With alien technology."

With Jonathan Maberry's Joe Ledger Novels you can always expect the unexpected. But aliens? Aliens?! I'll tell you what, that really came out of left field. To be fair, I never expected Ledger and Echo Team to face off against vampires either but I consider ASSASSIN'S CODE to be Maberry's best novel to date. In a lot of ways Maberry is the inverse to Larry Correia. Both are phenomenal authors that write high-octane thrillers but Maberry pens speculative science techno-thrillers where Correia is the master of urban fantasy. Before going into EXTINCTION MACHINE I figured that if Maberry could convincingly write plausible zombies, monsters, and vampires then he could manage to do the same with UFO's. And you know what? Sometimes it pays to bet on the House.

EXTINCTION MACHINE kicks off with a bang, raising the stakes right out of the gate. Joe and Echo Team get their butts handed to them, quite an uncommon occurrence. The President gets taken from the White House right under the noses of the Secret Service, the abductors leaving only a crop circle in their wake. As we go further down the rabbit hole we learn that maybe those conspiracy theory whackos aren't so crazy after all. Maberry treats the concept with respect and so it never seems silly or over-the-top. EXTINCTION MACHINE is never dull, and frequently had me going to my laptop for research. I consider it an accomplishment when I get so invested in a book that I need to know if some of the material is based in fact. I don't think that Dan Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE is a masterpiece of literature but it had a similar effect on me. I believe that aliens exist somewhere out there in the universe, though I've never put much faith in alien visitation of Earth or UFO's. It could be that EXTINCTION MACHINE has shifted my mindset slightly - but that's beside the point.

The point is that this is a door-breaching, flashbang-banging, helluva good time. Those of you who have been following this series know the score by now. Joe Ledger is the Jack Bauer of mad science threats to the United States (and the world). He has rage issues developed by childhood trauma and a fractured psyche. He juggles three personalities - the ever diminishing, idealistic Modern Man, the patient and inquisitive Detective, and the bloodthirsty Warrior. When the Warrior persona is triggered, Joe Ledger becomes a human WMD. Having faced all manner of weird and terrifying foes in the past, Joe displays what I would consider to be the proper amount of skepticism for UFO's and reverse-engineered alien technology in EXTINCTION MACHINE. Obviously being tossed head first into a world of aluminum foil hats and little green men would be a shock for one as cynical and battle hardened as Joe, but his reluctance does not transform into full blown, obtuse ignorance.

The rest of the Department of Military Sciences is back in form. As always, Mr. Church is mysterious and intimidating in equal measure (seriously, when is this guy going to get a spinoff novel about his time in the field? Make it happen Mr. Maberry). Top Sims and Bunny are training the new batch of cannon fodder -- I mean, the new members of Echo Team. Rudy Sanchez, the Jar Jar Binks of the Joe Ledger Novels, is getting married to Circe O'Tree. Fortunately for all, Rudy's involvement in EXTINCTION MACHINE is minimal. Dios Mio! Best of all, Joe's combat dog Ghost is back. It's funny but Ghost has more character than most of the human cast. He's a lovable companion and a fierce asset in the war on strange evil.

As far as new characters go I took an immediate liking to Junie Flynn though I have a complaint to make. Is it possible to introduce a female character without her ending up as someone's romantic interest (specifically Joe's)? I'm not a feminist or anything. I don't jump every time I see women misrepresented in fiction because frankly, I see people of all types misrepresented. But when it comes to Joe Ledger romances I'm automatically put-off. The relationship with Grace Courtland felt forced and instead of giving it time to develop it was cut off quickly, leaving Joe to mope around like a teenager. It was traumatic, I'll admit, but readers were given no time to warm to the relationship to even care. I feared early on in THE KING OF PLAGUES that Circe O'Tree would wind up as Joe's next conquest. That didn't turn out to be the case but she did wind up with Jar Jar. With ASSASSIN'S CODE it was clear that the obligatory mourning period was over and a new romantic interest would be introduced to the plot. And now with EXTINCTION MACHINE we get Junie Flynn. I apologize if this smacks of ranting but poorly written romances don't sit well with me.

The villains of EXTINCTION MACHINE tread the line between campy Bond ne'er-do-wells and frightening sociopaths. They aren't as memorable as past villains. At one point Howard Shelton commits that ultimate unforgivable sin of super-villainy - he fails to kill Ledger when he has the opportunity and instead chooses to monologue his evil scheme. I will say this, at least Shelton has somewhat good intentions, but he does fall lean more heavily on the "Bond ne'er-do-well" side of the line.

During the first half, EXTINCTION MACHINE feels slightly scattered. Joe's First Person POV falls by the wayside and much of the story is told from the Third Person perspective of secondary characters and villains. This method has pros and cons. On the plus side, readers get a broad view of the picture. There a many moving pieces and this helps readers find their bearing. On the minus side, the pacing flags. Don't get me wrong, it's still relentless, but Joe's arc suffers from the disrupted flow of the narrative. Maberry deftly wields short chapters and pseudo-cliffhangers to keep readers going, "I'll put the book down and feed the kids honey I swear! Just one more chapter..." It's a wise format that may result in your untimely divorce - also very Dan Brown'esque in its execution.

EXTINCTION MACHINE is a Joe Ledger Novel through and through. It stays true to form, offering readers bone-crunchign action, snarky dialogue, and twisted revelations. This entry in the series shares much in common with Men in Black, X-Files, Fringe, and even the video game Crysis. On a scale of my favorite Joe Ledger novels this falls right after ASSASSIN'S Code. If you haven't yet picked up the series, now would be the time to do so.

Age Recommendation: 16+
Language: Tons.
Sex: Some nudity, some sex, but it's not Fifty Shades of Joe Ledger.
Violence: Joe Ledger is even more deadly at hand-to-hand combat than he is with a gun. It can get messy.

Want them? Buy them all!
PATIENT ZERO, the first features zombies!
THE DRAGON FACTORY, the second features Nazi clones and genetically spliced creatures!
THE KING OF PLAGUES, the third features a weaponized version of the Ten Plagues of Egypt!
ASSASSIN'S CODE, the fourth and best features vampires!
EXTINCTION MACHINE, the fifth features UFO's!
Profile Image for Shelby.
10 reviews2 followers
April 1, 2014
The reason that I come to the goodreads site is that I feel like those of us who review books here are actual readers. Not the psuedo reviewers of Amazon or Barnes and Noble or friends of the author or editor. That being said, I must have gotten a different version of this book than everyone else because I could not stand this book (BORING). I had to force myself to finish this one. I LOVE J.Maberry's books. I am a huge fan but this book felt rushed and underdeveloped. There was no imagination or story development. It felt like a cookie cutter novel that was way to short. If and when he writes another one I will read it with the hopes that he will return to his gripping and most times scarry stories. For those of you who have not experienced the Joe Ledger novels, read them. For those of you who are loyal fans, just push through this one with the hopes of better things to come. To J.Maberry I miss your complex characters and story lines and I hope you will bring them back. I gave you two stars because of your previous books. This should be a one.
Profile Image for Narilka.
584 reviews40 followers
May 8, 2021
“The word "impossible" used to mean something. It was a line that couldn't be crossed. It was the outer edge of the safe zone.

I can't find that line anymore.”

Extinction Machine is the fifth book in the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry. The impossible has happened. The President of the United States has been abducted from the White House and not a single Secret Service agent saw anything. The only piece of evidence left behind is a crop circle on the White House lawn. This has to be a hoax, right?

If the X-Files had an episode featuring Joe Ledger the result would be this book. Aliens are real...or are they? The DMS is in for a hard time as they work to unravel what's going on. We get a peek into Church and his "friends in the industry" that manages to both give some new information and keeps his mystique going. Joe and Ghost are their bad ass selves though I'm starting to wish they'd get a break. I'm not really sure how much of a beating a human can take before it affects their mental state and Joe's not 100% stable. Junie Flynn is another great addition and I hope we see her again in the future.

Maberry must have had fun doing research for this book. I kept pausing the story to google conspiracy theories various bits of technology as it progressed. It was an enjoyable rabbit hole to go down to see what had a basis in reality (microwave guns are real) and what is purely from Maberry's imagination. The author skillfully weaves them together.

The series has covered zombies, bio engineered super soldiers, vampires and alien technology. I can't wait to see where the story goes next.
Profile Image for Jeffrey.
890 reviews109 followers
May 20, 2013
It's a good time to be a fan of super special agents (almost always an ubermale) novels. Mainstays David Baldacci, Lee Child, Brad Thor, and Vince Flynn, newcomers Brad Taylor and Ben Coes and to some extent Alec Berenson and Daniel Silva all deliver the goods. It may be time to add Jonathan Maberry to the list of cannot miss thrill authors.

Jonathan Maberry, the author of 4 previous Joe Ledger books, is out with the next novel, Extinction Machine, a densely written 430 page thriller, and although it is not without flaws, it's still a good read if you like a macho secret agent, violence, action, a diabolical killer, a vast conspiracy and enough gadgets to give Q apoplexy.

Joe Ledger is a specially trained agent, with all the requisite killer instincts and the usual heartache in his past from the death of a girlfriend. No surprise. He works for the Department of Military Science, a super secret government agency tasked with thwarting threats to the United States. Arrayed against the DMS is the Majestic 3, an evil shadow government, which is using the military industrial complex to try to produce secret weapons so they can take over the world.

This is all out of the bible of thriller books. Mayberry, however, adds little green men and their flying saucers to the usual thriller ethos. Not literally, but the technology. Apparently there is an arms race going on in secret between the nations of the world, who have discovered that alien spaceships have crashed on Earth.

Harry Truman, appointed a core group to find the alien technology and use it against are enemies, but the core group, has been taken over from the inside by the Majestic 3, who want to use the alien technology to build advanced weaponry to take over the world. There are 10 specific pieces of alien technology that can be used to build an alien engine. The United States has 5 pieces. At the same time, China, France, England and Russia are also engaged in the secret arms race. The Chinese are testing an aircraft made from the alien technology, but the tech is unstable.

Now the President of the United States has been kidnapped right out of the White House. The US receives an odd ransom demand. The kidnappers want a copy of the "Black Book" or they will unleash a monstrous tidal wave that will wipe out the east coast of the United States and many countries in Africa and Europe. Billions of lives are at stake.
The Black Book is the mysterious compendium of all known knowledge about alien technology. Joe Ledger, his boss Mr. Church and the DMS must find the copy of the Black Book before the kidnappers unleash the Extinction Machine.

Meanwhile the Majestic 3 and their henchman Erasmus Tull have conceived of an ingenious plot to blame the President's disappearance and other terrorist incidents on DMS and Joe Ledger. Tull is a psychopath with no human impulses, who kills unmercifully anyone who even stumbles on his path.

From public speeches, the DMS learns of a Junie Flynn, who just that night revealed she knows the location of the Black Book. Joe Ledger must find Junie Flynn before the Majestic 3 can silence her, and while the East Coast is hours away from destruction, and the world teeters on the brink of all out war.

Maberry constantly ups the ante. Mysterious federal agents with advanced weapons and specially made body armor are in the way. Drones, super advanced airplanes, gun fights, multiple shot taser weapons and microwave ray guns are only some of the weapons in the fight. Erasmus Tull goes after the leadership of the DMS.

Can Ledger get to Flynn before she is silenced? Who are the Majestic 3? Will he get by Erasmus Tull, a mean killer, who seems as gifted as Ledger in the art of death? Who has the Black Book, and can Ledger get the Black Book to the kidnappers? Who, in fact, are the kidnappers?

The only discordant note in this novel is the ultimate confrontation between Ledger, Tull and the Majestic 3. In an attempt to surprise, its just not realistic. But its a minor issue.

Read this pulse pounding action packed thriller with some science fiction elements to find out the answers to these questions.

Maberry delivers the goods.

Profile Image for Julie Davis.
Author 4 books267 followers
August 22, 2013
“So, basically if we keep trying to save the country and maybe the world from a bunch of murderous assholes with outer space weapons, then we're the bad guys?"

"In a nutshell."

"Then, hey ... let's be bad guys.”
Joe's back.

Pulled off vacation, Joe Ledger and Echo Team are knocking on research lab doors, looking into cyber-attacks so clever they can't be tracked back to anyone. But no one's answering, even though all the lights are on. Until a couple of strangely inhuman Men In Black step onto the loading dock.

Mayhem ensues.

Of course, anyone who is this far into the Joe Ledger series knows that whenever Joe is called in mayhem always ensues, all to save the good ol' U. S. of A. Jonathan Maberry has tackled zombies, vampires, the seven plagues of Egypt and more, but this is the first time he's gone beyond so-called supernatural creatures. Crop circles, space ships, and aliens are the topic of investigation.

And I (mostly) loved it for all the reasons I have enjoyed the entire series. These are adrenaline rides with Joe getting into and out of increasingly impossible, perilous situations while the reader hangs on by their fingernails wondering just how he can possibly escape. Meanwhile, Maberry weaves intriguing mysteries which may not keep us guessing, since he enjoys giving us both sides' points of view, but they do keep us wondering if Joe can stop the bad guys.

What kept me from completely loving this book?

I am as ready for a good invading aliens story as the next person, but at one point the action came to a grinding halt as Maberry wove together two story lines in a gigantic "aliens among us" info-dump. Indeed, this went on for so long and contained enough duplicate information that I began to wonder if the author had fallen into "true believer" status and wanted to be sure we came away converted. Whether that was his motive or it was simply imperfect editing, I wearied of the information long before it ceased flowing.

On the other hand, Maberry is going to have to work hard to top Joe's accomplishment in the light house. I won't say more because I don't want spoil it for anyone but I was literally laughing with delight as I heard what was happening. Adrenaline rush achieved!

Speaking of listening, Ray Porter does his usual excellent narration and is the reason I wait for the audio books rather than pick up print copies. As I've said before Ray Porter IS Joe Ledger. So let me say it again — Porter's direct, blunt delivery can go from sarcastic to heart-felt to outraged in 60 seconds. Believably. That’s good because sometimes that’s the way Joe’s day goes.

Complaints aside, this book is great fun. Definitely recommended.

(Review copy from Audible, via SFFaudio, where this review first appeared.)
Profile Image for AziaMinor.
435 reviews54 followers
December 27, 2022
Overall Rating : B

"If this is aliens and stuff, then it's aliens and stuff."

Captain Joe Ledger is taken from his best friends bachelor party to find a missing President, fend off jackasses who think he's gone traitor, alongside bringing back a book of advance science to......aliens?? Doesn't get much weirder than that.


I honestly don't know about this book. If you've read any of this series, then you know it can get pretty far-fetched, but still somehow work itself out. But I don't know about this one. Definitely the filler of the group. Doesn't really connect with the others, and doesn't drive the series onward. Still pretty high up on my ratings list, but I don't believe this book was needed AT ALL to further Joe Ledger's story. But you still get bad-ass Joe, his crew, and a pretty awesome cast of characters, so not too disappointed.
January 3, 2020
I really enjoyed this audiobook. I think the narrator nails Joe Ledger. At first, I wasn't sure about his voice, but it didn't take time to see that he got inside of this character very well.

This story is crazy! The villain is a schmuck and a loser but he's also a supervillain. Interesting conundrum. I can't remember all the details, but I do remember this story being action-packed and extremely well-plotted.

I really would like to listen to it again.
Profile Image for Luna .
133 reviews30 followers
October 12, 2022
So every time I was at the book store I was drawn to this book. I was always hoping to find it in the cheaper bins but that never materialized. Also I have the first Joe Ledger book in my unread library but reading this one first did not matter in any way except for something tragic is alluded to in Ledger's past and I really had no idea how bad it may be and who knows if the previous books get into it but I imagine they do. It was just skimmed over so it was no biggie. This is a stand alone novel.
This book was right down my conspiracy thinking brain. I always doubted we are solely responsible for the technology we have today so things like area 51 are a natural breeding ground for learning from the aliens and their technology. It just seems to me we really moved by leaps and bounds very quickly to get where we are at technology wise. Ironically it seems we hit a pause with the creation of the cell phone. Imagine that all progress has come to a halt because of the cell phone but that's explainable because everyone is so consumed by this piece of crap invention we have no time to move forward. Yet this does seem to validate though the idea that mankind is responsible for our own tech and it doesn't come from elsewhere. But as the book kind of suggests maybe there is more to it..............
So the premise of the book is that the aliens are not to happy with what we've done with their technology and they want to take it back. So why would aliens be upset that with their technology we became mired in cell phones? lol. Perhaps it as the book alludes to, that the real technology associated to their crashed alien craft is still to difficult for mankind to grasp. The book paints a picture of a massive energetic power coming from the crafts engines. Yet as different governments around the world try to tap into this energy it does nothing but cause massive world geographical events which are disastrous to those governments people. Quite cool really!
With certain governments getting close to figuring how to tap into that energy source the aliens come up with a plan to get all their technology back so as to prevent mankind tapping into that energy source because though there would be some definite positives achieved as a result, man would find more evil for it and that evil would be the undoing of mankind.
So it starts when the president of the U.S. disappears. Shortly thereafter some very threatening messages are conveyed to the powers at be. "Give us all our technological secrets relating to the engine source or suffer these catastrophic events". And the catastrophic events are just that and would encompass much of the world. The powers that be quickly realize the threat must be from the aliens.
However, the book deals with one of the secretly funded think tanks and their manipulation of everything including setting up Joe Ledger as the fall guy for everything going on. Yet his DMS team quickly figures it out and they go on the path of trying to save the day.
This book was an excellent book. I have read Maberry before and am a huge fan. His first three books are the Pine Deep Trilogy and I remember reading these and as an aspiring writer I just thought this guy's writing is crazy good. I would have my wife read some of his paragraphs and they were long and so detailed and vivid and they painted such a detailed picture. I could never do this at his level. I told a good friend who professionally reviews books about his detail and she advised that some time too much detail is not good and that people really can't keep up with that kind of reading and tend to read through it. I knew exactly what she meant because though I appreciated Maberry's great attention to detail it was honestly too much and I admit that I tended to read through much of it without painting the picture in my mind because that's the way most of us are. We read for leisure and are simply too lazy to put in the type of work needed to read that way. Again check my reviews of the trilogy and you will see I loved them. My point though is the writing here was way different than those three books (which are the only Maberry books I read). I think I will back track his books and see where that type of detailed writing stopped. This book has excellent writing mind you but it more consistent with the norm of authors who tell a very good story. I have to admit though that in a way I admire the writing in the first three books he wrote and if I so choose to read through his paragraphs so to speak than that is my choice and it is nice to appreciate Maberry's exceptional writing when one wants too like when I just had to show my wife how insanely good his writing was. Anyway this aspect will be a project of mine.
So this book started out a little slow but that slowness laid a foundation for what was to come which was one excellent ride. I am so glad I finally read this book. It didn't really disappoint in any way.
It's a fun read at any level and if you believe we are not alone then it can be really fun. I rate this a 9/10. Pick it up - you won't be disappointed.
Profile Image for J. J. Tabor.
28 reviews5 followers
February 24, 2016
Best series there is right now. I like Jack Reacher and Repairman Jack, love Harry Dresden, Sandman Slim and Special Agent Pendergast, and I even like Sookie(in small doses). Monster Hunter International is another good series. In my opinion none of them are nowhere near Captain Joseph Edwin Ledger of the DMS. When each book comes out I immediately stop what I'm reading and start on it. And for those of you that have never heard Ray Porter's audiobook reading of the series you are missing a treat. This installment has Ledger deep into shadow governments, men in black and UFOs. Like always Maberry keeps the suspense up and the wisecracks flowing. If you are new to the series start with Patient Zero but this is definitely a great addition to the series.
Profile Image for Andy.
1,377 reviews467 followers
March 8, 2020
This is series is a cut above for its genre. The protagonist is a funny smart aleck, with some morality and humanity in addition to the usual violence. Also, I appreciate the correct grammar as in "lay" for the past of "lie." The audio narrator is perfect for this story as well.
Profile Image for Chris.
373 reviews68 followers
March 27, 2014
Fifth book in the series featuring Joe Ledger of DMS (Department of Military Sciences), a shadowy and covert agency tasked with fighting global threats of the most dangerous and bizarre. Think Jack Bauer meets 007 mixed with a little Tom Clancy and you might get close...but make no mistake, author Jonathan Maberry has crafted a thrilling and original series that only gets better with each subsequent novel.

The President has been abducted from the White House, vanishing without a trace, except for a disturbing burn pattern on the lawn outside, which bears a strange resemblence to a crop circle...and the VP wants to shut down DMS, and have Ledger charged as a terrorist (grudge from a previous novel). Ledger and Echo Team has been put on the trail of deadly killers with impossible, almost inhuman strengh, and unbelievably deadly weapons. And if that wasn't weird enough, Ledger learns of a mysterious Majestic Black Book, which holds secrets of crashed and reengineered alien technology, and the horrifying true nature of the President's kidnapping. Aided by a woman who knows the location of the Majestic Black Book, and trying to thwart a decades-old secret organization bent on winning the ultimate arms race, this novel rockets along at (pardon the pun) warp speed. Highly enjoyable to read and one of my favorites in the Ledger series. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Michele.
Author 7 books21 followers
February 21, 2015
I still think that Assassin’s Code (four) was the strongest Joe Ledger story I have read so far. As the fifth book in the series, I thought that Extinction Machine was a weak follow up after a superb action-packed book four. I am rather surprised, but I felt as though the driving force – technology for this book – was not handled as competently by Maberry as he has with the other specialties in his past books. Overall, I thought the pacing was slower through most of the book and only in the last 50 – 60 pages, did the action ramp up to a fever pitch.
Profile Image for Soo.
2,598 reviews257 followers
May 19, 2021
10/10/2020 Notes:

- Rating Raised from 3.5 to 4 Stars
- 1st time around, I thought some of the details and action were rushed. Some of the events in the series have the same vibe as 24 (tv show) and how stuff happens in a very condensed manner. On the re-read, the pacing felt better and I noted several little details that impact the series later.
- Junie is pretty great.
Profile Image for Robin.
1,236 reviews3 followers
April 22, 2013
Oh. My. God. Too much exposition!
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 35 books435 followers
June 3, 2019
My review of EXTINCTION MACHINE can be found at High Fever Books.

Jonathan Maberry gets his X-Files on in the fifth Joe Ledger novel, Extinction Machine. Needless to say, it’s a doozy!

In the midst of a cyberattack and terrorist threats, the President of the United States goes missing. Not just missing, but kidnapped — actually freaking disappeared — from the White House, despite the presence of Secret Service. The only clue to his abduction is a mysterious crop circle on the White House lawn. And so enters the DMS, the Department of Military Science, a covert team of commandos specializing in tackling the misuse of the world’s most cutting-edge weird sciences. Joe Ledger and his team have tackled zombies, plagues, vampires, and now… aliens?


Mysterious aircraft begin appearing in the sky, and a team of assassins equipped with guns unlike anything Ledger has ever seen are trying to kill him and UFO conspiracy theorist podcaster Junie Flynn. Flynn possesses a secret worth killing for, as well as intimate knowledge about the US government’s research into extraterrestrial technology reaching back to President Harry S. Truman’s creation of the Majestic 12 group to recover and investigate alien spacecraft and technology.

Extinction Machine is a trip, man. As is usual of this series, the focus is on killer action sequences (such as Ledger vs an MMA-trained brawler in an absolutely brutal showdown that proves actual combat isn’t a freaking sport) and plenty of gung-ho military know-how, crossbred with strange science and elements of horror. After a number of earthly close encounters, it’s about time the DMS made contact with ET!

It’s rousing fun, and my central quibble is a minor one — why the hell is Joe freaking Ledger so damn resistant to the idea of aliens running amok? Dude’s faced off with actual zombies and a cult of vampires, but after all he’s seen he still can’t take the threat posed by extraterrestrial life seriously. This far into the series, he should be a regular Fox Mulder, ready to believe anything, but instead he cops an attitude of resistance that would make even Dana Scully shake her head in wonderment at his stubborn refusal. Yes, I was a bit annoyed by this, but thankfully Bunny had my back with his True Believer “Why are you surprised by ANY of this?” attitude.

This tiny niggling issue aside, Extinction Machine is another solid entry into Maberry’s on-going series, and gives us an extra bit of elasticity to the nature of threats DMS can and will encounter. If you’ve read or listened to any of the prior entries in audiobook format, you’ve got a solid foundation on what to expect here. It doesn’t break a lot of new ground, although it does a nice job of shaking things up for Ledger and his crew, and it’s a constant dose of pure entertainment.

If anything, the Joe Ledger books have become a bit of a comfort for me to turn to. Ledger’s the perfect, charming, All-American tough guy smartass hero that I really cannot help but root for and want to see kick plenty of old, rich, evil, white guy mad scientist ass. I know what to expect from these books, and can walk away from them feeling pretty damn satisfied. The narration by Ray Porter (easily the best in the business) is damn well perfect, and the man is the definitive voice of Joe Ledger in my mind. Maberry knows what he’s doing, and he does it very well, constantly one-upping the dramatic stakes and action scenes, ratcheting the tension up higher and higher, right to its breaking point. They’re the perfect summer blockbuster epics put to print, and I always finish them wanting more. Luckily, I’ve got plenty left to catch up on…
Profile Image for Sara.
136 reviews13 followers
November 24, 2012

Extinction Machine is the fifth Joe Ledger book out from Jonathan Maberry and all I can say is, wow. It’s astonishing to me how he manages to raise the stakes every time without tipping over into absurdity. Every hit Joe and his team take in this book is as emotionally wrenching for the reader as the very first one in Patient Zero. Every success feels personal. I found myself bobbing and weaving in my chair during fight scenes and clutching my dog during heartbreaking moments. I’m in. I am absolutely on Joe’s side. I want him to win. I want him to be happy. And I want horrible things to happen to his enemies.
Shadow organizations around the world have been playing with toys that aren’t their own. Disasters usually follows these little experiments, things like devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. But whoever figures out the puzzle first will put an end to the arms race, by winning it. Joe and Echo team get brought in with the rest of the DMS when the President goes missing. From his bedroom. In the White House. With no evidence left behind except a crop circle in the rose garden. The aliens want their toys back and Earth has a very limited window to respond or it’s good-bye to most of the western hemisphere. Of course, the DMS’s hands are tied with Acting President William Collins in the oval office because the only thing he hates more than the DMS is Joe Ledger himself.
5 reviews1 follower
April 8, 2013
I adore Joe Ledger - but I found this book to be very disappointing.
Profile Image for Todd.
1,304 reviews8 followers
October 23, 2022
Tremendous! Okay, so we've had zombies, vampires and genetically engineered creatures, why not aliens?
The President disappears from his bedroom in the White House without a trace with only a crop circle left in the lawn.
This leaves the VP, who hates the DMS with a passion for some reason in charge of the nation.
There are attacks, both cyber and physical on military contractors, not to mention a target on Joe Ledger's back.
An excellent story with plenty of action and making the reader think.
Profile Image for Timothy Boyd.
6,559 reviews33 followers
April 4, 2019
I never really thought a SiFi action/adventure spy type story would work. seems to many genres mixing in a muddy mashup. Well Mr Mayberry proved me wrong. It's great if done right and boy does he do it right. Great plot, superb action and adventure and a nice suspenseful spy thriller throughout. Really entertaining read. Very recommended
Profile Image for Bill.
1,550 reviews109 followers
November 24, 2019
This is one of the best narrated series out there. Ray Porter is phenomenal and every time I hear his voice, I immediately think of Joe Ledger. Maberry, Porter and Ledger - a trio of bad asses.
Profile Image for Mike.
658 reviews41 followers
October 4, 2021
Probably my favorite entry so far. I enjoyed that they left the ending a tab ambiguous. However, I will note there were a number of jokes in here that felt a tad homophobic that felt strongly out of place in today's environment.
Profile Image for Elisa .
1,398 reviews24 followers
April 13, 2023
Wow. Excellent Rollercoaster ride. If you like military black ops action, gun fights, trash talking, fantastical science and really bad guys from all over the world, you need to read this series. Looking forward to the next one.
5 reviews
December 2, 2013
Formulaic (genetics making super-people again - which even he recognizes as a trope for this series), repeated material from previous as well as within this work (with some verbatim copying), covering back history which the reader knows (just like in the previous books), and the most critical of flaws - the title is not in the book! How can people claim to have read this, and missed that little fact? There is an engine, but there is *never* any threat of extinction. There are other lacks of continuity, like the super-thin power armour loses all significance after the first encounter, yet it should have meant that the 'Closers' were more than a match for Ledger, or the fact that they had the ability to take him out with a helicopter MPC (microwave pulse cannon), but chose less effective means for no logical reason.

In this book, the science fantasy is mostly left to the imagination, which is a good thing, considering how badly the author does with science. Sure he gets some of the terms right, but it is when he just plugs them together like they are lego, that it starts to fail. The concept of a small device that can project the thermal signature of a human believably is laughable. Since microwaves bounce off of metal, the MPPs in the book are equally horrible weapons at their power rating. One missed shot, and your own head explodes. Yet in the book they are equally good at taking out anything.

This book does have some quality parts, but when taken as a whole with the series it falls far short.

Basically book 1&4 were good, book 3 was mediocre and book 2&5 were bad. They all start off with a little action, then meander about with a lot of micro-bursts of action inter-spaced with backstory (some of it personal about material already in previous books, which has little relevance to the current story) or everyone saying "this cannot be happening/real, can it?". There is also a heavy dose of auto-repeat, where multiple groups all simultaneously discover highly secretive material, wasting a lot of time as the reader is forced to re-read what they just read a chapter ago. Then near the end of the book it finally moves on to actual development, getting to the large battle which the good guys win.

Maberry needs to find a better editor, who will sit down and cut out all the repeated material, as well as help him take his writing from random, to reliable. Not a formulaic, by-the-numbers like the one he is using, but something more random and far more engaging. He also needs to start developing the team and the DMS. There is no advancement between books, even though they are constantly uncovering new technologies that would help explain how they survive the next book (if any).
Profile Image for Bogdan.
896 reviews1 follower
February 25, 2017
Nice addition in this series of books about a secret american agency that fights the most extreme threats for world security.

This time the plot follows the unauthorized exploit of some secret alien technology.

Nothing so wow, standard action/thriller stuff, with a little suprannatural feeling to it, but the characters are well made, the story flows fast and I really enjoy these books of Maberry.

Profile Image for John Patrick.
52 reviews
April 7, 2013
I got into this series when I received a free copy of the second book The Dragon Factory as a giveaway from a book convention at my work and I have been hooked ever since.

This series follows Joe Ledger a former Army Ranger and FBI agent and Captain of the Department of Military Sciences. The DMS is a nominal government agency, run by the enigmatic Mr. Church (Ya it sounds corny but read the books, seriously this guys is a bigger implied bad-ass than Gandalf and a mystery to everyone), that is responsible for dealing with threats that fall into the realm of Fringe Science. Zombie plague bio-weapons, genetically engineered super-soldiers, mutant human vampires, the DMS are the guys you call. In this book we find Joe Ledger and the DMS working with the Department of Homeland Security on a string of cyber-terror attacks that have targeted several defense contractors. When they encounter two fake federal agents, armed with weapons beyond even the tech the DMS has seen, and leaving the scene of a massacre, Joe and Echo team are plunged into a secret arms race. A race that began after a fateful crash in the Arizona Desert back in the 1940's.

The Extinction Machine is an action packed read that you won't want to put down until the end and then leave you begging for the next installment. Jonathan Maberry does a great job of skirting the line between Fringe Science and Science Fiction. This book falls a little closer to sci-fi than other books but he keeps the facts solid and the premise almost believable. The plot is interesting and not over the readers head. Plus there is enough humor, sarcasm, and liberal pop culture wit to keep things from getting too dark and heavy. This was a great read and I can't wait for the next installment.
Profile Image for Emily Northcutt.
166 reviews6 followers
April 20, 2014
In a world where the stress of being the school librarian to a group of energetic K-8 students sometimes gets to me, one of the ways I unwind is with the humor and horror of Jonathan Maberry's writing. Extinction Machine was a non-stop action-adventure and nothing makes me happier than to see Joe Ledger continue to "bring the pain" to the bad guys of the world. April and May are always the toughest months of the school year, so I think I'd better start Code Zero ASAP. When I've finished that one, I'll probably need to re-read Dust & Decay and Fire & Ash with a new appreciation for the Captain.

Oh, and I switched the edition for this review to the audiobook because frankly, narrator Ray Porter is amazing and that's how I've "read" this series so far. The combination of great text and incredible reader makes for the kind of audiobook experience that makes it difficult to stop listening!
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