Code Zero – A Weak Heartbeat

Discovering sequels or a follow-up to a book is always exciting.  You get to visit the characters you liked from the first book again and hope the author does a good job with the second (or subsequent) book.  I had read Patent Zero, the first book in the Joe Ledger series by Johnathan Maberry and made a mental note to add the Joe Ledger series to my “I’ll buy those one day” list.  One day I was checking out Mayberry’s website and found a follow-up to Patient Zero had come out: Code Zero.  I was excited about this went to the bookstore that weekend to buy a copy.  Unfortunately, the follow-up wasn’t the best.Code Zero - A Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry

Code Zero deals with the DMS’s (Department of Military Services) cache of genetically modified viruses and the zombie virus encountered in Patient Zero and how those get infiltrated.  The viruses are unleashed to the public with the potential to cause massive panic and death.

Let’s start with the good: More of Joe Ledger.  Joe is an ex-cop, ex-military guy.  A bit macho for my usual taste but Maberry keeps the machoness to an acceptable amount and peppers in a bit of a level-headed guy traits as well;  The DMS .  The DMS is the super secret government agency that combats all the genetic freaks mad scientists and bad people come up with.  If you read my blog, you know I love my secret government agencies; Smart chicks that rock. Gotta love that and support my fellow chicks (even if they aren’t real).

the-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-buttonAnd now the not so good: The main villain, Mother Night, is supposed to be this super smart girl.  I found her to be an egomaniac that didn’t have the nerve to stand up for herself;  The flash back scenes.  In Code Zero, the flash back scenes come too often.  One character is portrayed as a fairly high up and integral person within the DMS but this character was never mentioned in the first novel (at least that I can recall).  This caused the book to have a lot of flash back chapters that, although short and did provide a good background, chopped up the main story too much.  Would have made more sense if this character would have been at least mentioned in the first book; Too much detail.  The fight scenes got a bit long for me and were told in too much detail.  It’s not necessary for Joe to describe what’s happening during a fight each and every time; The naivety of the DMS.  I found the villain connection to be blatantly obvious.  A department that is supposed to be super smart taking so long to figure things out was in line with the FBI of the t.v. show The Following.  Very disappointing and almost frustrating.

Overall, Code Zero was an Okay book.  I was hoping for a better story but just didn’t get one.  This book is the follow-up to Patient Zero and it does mention events that happened in other Joe Ledger stories. It didn’t take anything away from the book, but made me kind of wish I would have read the other J.L. books before this one.

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Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Joe Ledger has just came face to face with a guy he knew he had killed a few days ago.  How can this be?  There has to be something going on that Joe doesn’t know about.  That something would be a new biological weapon that is suspected of being released in the next few days: Zombies.

In the novel Patient Zero, by Jonathan Maberry, zombies take on a whole new meaning.  Weapons to be used by suspected terrorPatient Zero, a Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberryists as well as by a pharmaceutical giant.  Joe Ledger is the man who is asked to lead the fight against the zombies and help find out who is making ththe-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-buttonem and where they are coming from.  Joe is a Detective for the Baltimore police and has a military background as well as excellent fighting skills and an ability to think while the action is erupting right in front of his face.

I have to admit that I went into reading this book thinking it was about something else.  I read a synopsis of the book but it was very short and didn’t offer much in the way of details.  When I realized the book was more of a thriller/suspense one that was focused on Joe Ledger, I was surprised and had to think of this book in a new way.  Not to say the book was bad – it wasn’t – just that it wasn’t what I thought and had to adjust my thinking.

Joe is a man’s man but has a soft, decent side to him.  Joe is recruited to work with the DMS – Department of Military Science – a top-secret agency that has technology no one else has even heard of or seen.  The DMS is also able to act with impunity and has a direct line to the president.  Ledger is thrown into action quickly with no time to get to know his team or with the needed knowledge of what is really going on.  His good friend and psychologist, Rudy, is unexpectedly thrown into action with the DMS as well.  The zombies Joe and the DMS face are ones that are made – not quite the risen dead, rather a manufactured virus that they come to face in various stages of speed and viciousness. The brains behind the zombies think no one will ever find out who they are.  A brilliant but egotistical scientist is on the bad side.  The bad guys use terrorists to their advantage as well.

The pace of this book was good, not too fast and not too slow.  This is definitely an action type book and I can see this easily being made into a movie.  The ending chapters got a little bit too winded and long for me.  They seemed too much like a long drawn out action scene that is in need of some editing.  There was a tinge of too much macho-ness for me as well but I still enjoyed this book. The main character is a likable enough guy and the surrounding cast is interesting and doesn’t slow the pace.  Maberry has a full Joe Ledger series as well as a follow-up to Patient Zero that I’d be interested in checking out.  I’d say this is a fun book to read and not take too seriously.  I liked the zombies as a bio-weapon aspect, which made the book seem slightly different from a typical thriller/suspense novel.  Overall a good book that is enjoyable and a fun read.