Joe Ledger: Unstoppable

As the protagonist of five novels and numerous short stories, Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger is a fully formed character with recognizable traits. This new anthology, JOE LEDGER: UNSTOPPABLE, shows how a group of other authors, selected by the Editors, handle Ledger and his various missions with the Department of Military Science (DMS). The stories vary in both length and perspective, but adhere to the series’ combination of thriller and science fiction, and are for the most part worthy additions to the Ledger canon.

In “Banshee,” by James A. Moore, Ledger, with the able assistance of his DMS teammates Bug and Bunny, tracks down a nearly invisible, possible female assassin that has been murdering foreign diplomats. The method of the murders further suggests the assassin is something other than human. In Steve Alten’s “The Honey Pot” Ledger wakes up to find himself naked in an expensive Paris hotel room, with a beautiful girl in his bed and no memory of how he got there.

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Dogs of War

In this ninth title of Jonathan Maberry’s series, Joe Ledger and his cohorts in the Department of Military Science (DSM) are once again called upon to battle a villain threatening the world with technology not too far from reality – in this case the latest creations in robotics. But DOGS OF WAR suffers from a meandering plot structure and a sluggish pace – characteristics never experienced in any of the previous Ledger novels.

No sooner does Joe Ledger return from a mission in Prague than he receives a call from his brother Sean, a homicide detective in Baltimore. A local teenage prostitute is found dead and the autopsy reveals very strange results – strange enough for Sean reach out to his brother, who Sean knows works for a clandestine government organization that deals with these kinds of things.

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Kill Switch

killswitchAfter seven novels, Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger of the Department of Military Sciences (DMS) has faced some of the most fantastic and formidable threats ever created by Maberry’s fertile imagination. If KILL SWITCH, the eighth and latest series entry, suffers from anything it is, ironically, an embarrassment of riches as Maberry attempts to once again outdo himself.

While on a mission in the Antarctic, Ledger and two members of his Echo Team discover an odd looking machine. When activated the machine nulls all electronic devices and software. But exposure to the activated machine has other strange effects that Ledger and his team only later understand.

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The Dragon Factory

dragonfactOne of the many pleasures of 2009’s PATIENT ZERO, Jonathan Maberry’s outstanding novel that introduced the character of Joe Ledger, was how the author took an outrageous premise and made it completely credible. In THE DRAGON FACTORY, his 2010 follow-up now available in a new mass-market edition, Maberry amps up the outrageousness factor by several degrees. But again, thanks to his energetic prose and narrative drive, he has us believing it.

Ledger has been approached by ominous government security goons before, but this time, he senses that something is seriously wrong. Rather than comply with their demand to come with them, he distracts them with a few well-placed punches and flees. While on the run, Ledger learns that the U.S. executive branch, currently run by the vice president while the president recovers from surgery, is out to dismantle the Department of Military Science, the fiercely patriotic, but under-the-radar agency for which Ledger works.

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Predator One

predatoroneWhat differentiates PREDATOR ONE, the seventh in Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, from the earlier titles are is weapons used by the villains. Instead of bio-engineered mutants or contagious pathogens, the villains here wreak havoc using mostly mechanical drones.
 
But just because these weapons need a little less imagination to envision doesn’t make this latest title any less frightening. In truth, PREDATOR ONE is the most terrifying and intense novel of the series to date.

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Code Zero

codezeroFor all the thrills and inventiveness Jonathan Maberry brings to his Joe Ledger series, nothing compares to the unanticipated kick-in-the-head of PATIENT ZERO, the 2009 novel that introduced the character. No doubt that’s why CODE ZERO, this sixth title in the series, proclaims itself “The Sequel.”
 
But CODE ZERO is not a sequel in the strictest sense of the term. That is, it does not take place immediately or even shortly after that book’s events. The setting is the present day and many of the events of the previous novels are acknowledged. It’s the medically produced monsters from the first novel that reappear and are among the reasons why this latest is the strongest Ledger entry to date.

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Chimera

chimeraDavid Wellington was writing about an impending zombie apocalypse long before it became the horror genre’s hot topic (his MONSTER ISLAND series). He then managed to bring vampires into the contemporary world (his 13 BULLETS series) without making them lovelorn, shimmering wimps. Then he revitalized the neglected werewolf troupe in a pair of wonderful novels (FROSTBITE and OVERWINTER). So what’s next for this exceptional horror reinterpreter?
 
The answer is CHIMERA, the first in a proposed trilogy of novels that introduces a new series character, Jim Chapel. While the premise is not altogether original, it is as suspenseful, involving and as difficult to put down as anything Wellington has written.

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Extinction Machine

extinctiomachineJoe Ledger is back in EXTINCTION MACHINE, the fifth title in this exciting and altogether unique series by Jonathan Maberry. For the uninitiated, Joe Ledger is a Captain in the Department of Military Science (DMS) — an innocuous name for a covert organization that battles some of the most incredible threats to the U.S. (and often the entire world) imaginable.

In past books, these threats have included zombie terrorists and bio-engineered monster soldiers. This time around, the roots of the antagonists are literary not of this earth, and it is presented in perhaps the most complex and suspenseful Joe Ledger novel to date.

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Assassin’s Code

Think your job is hell? Be thankful you’re not Joe Ledger. As chief agent of the CIA’s super-secret Department of Military Science — and the star of three previous Jonathan Maberry novels — he earns his keep saving the U.S. from some of the most ominous villains imaginable, and usually encountering some really nasty monsters along the way. Be thankful also that Maberry continues to chronicle Ledger’s wild exploits, including this latest, ASSASSIN’S CODE.

Immediately after he and his Echo Team rescue a group of American teenagers from an Iranian prison, Ledger is mysteriously summoned to a local coffee shop where he is approached by his dreaded Iranian Intelligence Agency counterpart.

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The Dragon Factory

One of the many pleasures of last year’s PATIENT ZERO, Jonathan Maberry’s outstanding novel that introduced the character of Joe Ledger, was how the author took an outrageous premise and made it completely credible. In THE DRAGON FACTORY, his follow-up, Maberry amps up the outrageousness factor by several degrees. But again, thanks to his energetic prose and narrative drive, he has us believing it.

Ledger has been approached by ominous government security goons before, but this time, he senses that something is seriously wrong. Rather than comply with their demand to come with them, he distracts them with a few well-placed punches and flees. While on the run, Ledger learns that the U.S. executive branch, currently run by the vice president while the president recovers from surgery, is out to dismantle the Department of Military Science, the fiercely patriotic, but under-the-radar agency for which Ledger works.

Read more »

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