Book Review of Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Review of Patient Zero, A Joe Ledger Novel, Book 1, by Jonathan Maberry. SPOILER ALERT. This post contains some spoilers.

One of my favorite writers right now is Jonathan Maberry. I was first introduced to his work when I watched the History Channel’s documentary called Zombies: A Living History.  He was one of the writers featured on the documentary. This was around the time I first started listening to audiobooks, but I was still being picky about my book selection. Not because I didn’t think they’d be good reads, but before audiobooks I didn’t have a lot of free time to sit and read. I spend at least 5 hours a week commuting so I have plenty of time now for audiobooks. Now I just pick one and start listening.

The first Maberry book I listened to was Patient Zero. It was summarized as an action thriller with suspense and it mentioned “zombies” so I was down. Any mention of zombies usually sparks my interest. Just the cover art alone peaks some interest. I don’t think I’ve ever “read” anything like it. Granted I wasn’t seeing the words as they were written on paper, but I don’t think it would have mattered. Ray Porter, the narrator, just took me into that world. I have to admit, after Patient Zero, Jonathan Maberry, and Ray Porter, I was hooked on audiobooks and Joe Ledger.

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Patient Zero has the best of both worlds with the zombie sci-fi that I am truly obsessed with and the thrilling special ops stuff. Joe Ledger is the protagonist and you experience everything through his eyes. He’s a Baltimore detective who was thrown into a special task force to keep an eye on some terrorists. Little did they know, the terrorist group they were monitoring were housing a zombie. Shit hits the fan and the good guys take out the bad guys, so they think. On route to the hospital, the zombie terrorist wakes up. He infects and kills a bunch of agents and everyone in the hospital. With everyone turning, the DMS locks down the hospital and burns the place down. They can’t let anyone out or else… zombie apocalypse. The terrorists weapon was the zombie.

Oh, I casually mention the DMS as if you know what it is. Assuming you don’t, the DMS, Department of Military Science, is a secret branch of the government. It’s run by a man named, Mr. Church, which is not his real name, of course. He’s so secret, that only a handful of people know who he really is, but not even they know all of it. He’s this stone cold, old time warrior that you know not to fuck with because you know he’s done some shit. With Mr. Church always “having a friend in the industry” the DMS resources and weapons far exceed what Q supplied for Agent 007. They have a supercomputer called “Mind Reader”. It can infiltrate any systems and cover its tracks by rewriting the other system’s code. It can also find links, and patterns, and predicts, where other systems can’t. Scary thing is, this powerful computer belong to one man, Mr. Church. Glad he’s one of the good guys. Joe Ledger is recruited into the DMS after proving himself able to not get killed by this zombie terrorist.

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Maberry puts enough of everything for me to care about the characters. He thoroughly explains how this zombie virus/weapon was made and how it could be turned loose. The virus called the Seif al Din was created by crazed religious fanatics and financed by a money hungry pharmaceutical mogul. The doomsday plague would kill everyone except for the true believers, who are vaccinated from the virus. The sequences of the story are divided up into days, time, and location. Very similar to the way The X-Files was laid out for us. You know exactly where you’re at within the story even though there is a lot of jumping back and forth. I promise, you don’t get lost.

I know this all lines up for a cheesy B movie about zombie invaders and the secret government types, but Maberry made it way cool.

The way this book is written it can easily be adapted for the screen. Back on 2011 Jonathan Maberry mentioned on Facebook that a TV series was to be adapted, but there hasn’t been much word about it since. I hope they do make it.

All in all, it was as great book. I highly recommend it.

PATIENT ZERO on TV? Lot of people asking. Yes, Michael DeLuca/Sony optioned it. Javier Grillo-Marxuaxh @OKBJGM wrote the pilot. All other details under wraps right now.

Posted by Jonathan Maberry on Sunday, February 13, 2011

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