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  • gilwilson 10:11 PM on November 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , berserkers, , , , , genetics, , joe ledger, , josef mengele, , , , , unicorns   

    “The Dragon Factory” by Jonathan Maberry 

    “The Dragon Factory”
    by Jonathan Maberry
    Read by Ray Porter
    Produced by Blackstone Audio
    16 hours and 11 minutes

    I love it when an author creates a character that is so strong that it constitutes a revisit or even a series based on the character.  But only when it is a Strong Character.  Jonathan Maberry has created a Strong Character in Joe Ledger.  In the first book, “Patient Zero,” Ledger is a Detective wanting to get into the FBI, what happens is Ledger is recruited to join a new branch of law enforcement called the DMS (Department of Military Science) in which he leads a team to fight off terrorists who have devised a disease that creates zombies.  The DMS is the branch that keeps the country and the world safe from evil that is beyond the scope of reality.

    The second novel in Maberry’s Joe Ledger series starts very soon after “Patient Zero” left off, with Joe visiting the gravesite of one of his oldest and dearest friends. The problem is, the DMS has suddenly been targeted by all the other alphabet soup agencies with the search and seizure order issued by the Vice President of the United States. All the DMS offices and teams soon find themselves under attack from their own government.  Forced to fend off NSA and CIA agents alone, ledger escapes and eventually regroups with the DMS to find that while the President is getting open heart surgery the Vice President is officially in charge and has taken this time to shut down the DMS.  The V.P. as it turns is really a puppet and a mysterious group pulling the strings wants 2 things, 1.) The DMS shut down long enough to institute their plan to destroy the world, and 2.) Mindreader, the DMS computer system that can find anything anywhere.

    The DMS soon learns that the evil afoot is 2 groups of genetic scientists that have genetically created mythical creatures, Dragons, unicorns, centaurs and more.  One of the 2 groups creations are a fighting force which are called Berserkers due to their complete loss of control and destructive chaos the creatures go into when a battle begins.  The Berserkers are super strong, and have a very unique body armor that just cannot be real.  The real threat runs throughout the book in the form of a countdown clock known as the Extinction clock which counts down to when a group of genetic diseases which are prevailent in certain races have been turned into viruses which when released will destroy 6/7ths of the world population leaving most of the Earth’s inhabitants to be whites only.

    From the first word spoken in this book the action begins and never lets up creating a super action story mixed with some horror and some psychological horror.  For the most part the book is told in First person and Ray Porter owns the role of Joe Ledger.  He also creates the voices of the other characters that not only keeps it clear who is talking but he is able to create through superb voice acting a complete persona for each person capturing perfectly their personality and history.  Porter rocks this book, as he did in the first book, “Patient Zero.”  I don’t think I could listen to these books read by anyone else.

    Maberry writes the perfect action/horror novel.  Really! with Nazi clones, genetically created mythical beasts, the perfect evil mad scientist and his 2 mad scientist children (albino twins) (who are pretty creepy in their own right), ethnic cleansing and a race against time this novel will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout every second of the book.  On the good side a team of soldiers that are too cool for words and a young boy hero that shows what pure goodness is all about.

    Now let’s see if I can find the next book in the series “The King of Plagues.”

  • gilwilson 10:04 PM on January 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , joe ledger, , , , ,   

    “Patient Zero” by Jonathan Maberry 

    “Patient Zero”
    by Jonathan Maberry
    read by Ray Porter
    produced by Blackstone Audio
    Approx 15 hours

    I love zombies, whether it’s zombie movies, a zombie TV series or zombie books, as long as it’s zombies I love them.  Zombies have a way about them, teenage girls can’t get all gushy over them and want to marry them, they are monsters, flesh eating monsters and nothing can stop them, except for a head shot.  There just is no way to really romanticize a zombie, so the horror of them trying to hunt you down and the survival instincts used to fight them off are straightforward and simple, kill or die.

    I thought that there wasn’t much new people could do with zombies that hasn’t been done.  There are fast zombies and the slow zombies, zombies brought from the grave by Haitian voodoo priests, bacteria from a space probe or various other methods of reanimating the corpses, and nearly all zombie apocalypse stories tell of survivors and how they survive while searching for a cure and/or why there came to be zombies taking over their mall, town or country.  This book by Jonathan Maberry actually does do something new, this tells first how and why zombies can be made and then what to do to prevent them.  Picture “Night of the Living Dead,” Rambo and James Bond in a mashup and you’ve got this non-stop action packed horror/thriller where a zombie apocalypse is looming over the horizon.

    The cover of this book says it is a “Joe Ledger novel.”  Joe Ledger being the main character who is pulled from the Baltimore Police to become a special ops agent in a secret branch of the government.   So with that on the cover, I had to find out and sure enough this is the first book of three featuring Ledger, and let me tell you, with the story Maberry weaves and the super cool character of Joe Ledger this is going to be a great collection of stories.  Ledger kicks butt like no other, and he does it with class.  Just roll James Bond, Rambo, Steven Segal, Jean Claude Van-Damme into one and the outcome still couldn’t stand up against Joe Ledger.  He is just that cool and tough.  Plus Ledger has the smart mouth that Bruce Willis’ tough characters all seem to have.

    Anyway, back to zombies.  Yes this is a zombie book.  Since 9/11 terrorists have been trying their best to attack the free world, but it seems they threw their best on that day and ever since their Jihad has just faded into the Afghan mountains.   Well, known terrorist El Mujahid is being funded to create a virus/parasite that turns people into the walking dead.  Ledger kills one of these, or so he thinks, when his task force raids a warehouse in which terrorists are holed up.  When a mysterious government agency called the DMS tries to recruit Ledger, they do so by having him try to handcuff a man in another room.  It turns out that man is the same man Ledger killed, only this time his flesh has rotted a bit more.  After Ledger kills this terrorist twice he is told of the virus/parasite that is being unleashed on America and with all his patriotic duty he jumps on-board.

    His team is to replace two other teams that were taken by surprise as the bodies in a hospital became reanimated from the bite of the original terrorist.  The teams hesitate shooting as women, children, doctors and nurses all begin eating each other and attacking.  Ledger is hired because of his lack of hesitation and ability to assess any situation at the speed of light.

    Pulling the best of the best to form Echo Team, Ledger becomes their leader and they raid a warehouse where more “walkers” are suspected to be found, ready to be unleashed on the population.  When Ledger and his team arrive they find scientists conducting research on the zombies/walkers.  The scientists are releasing the walkers on several captured children.  Echo Team explodes on the scene taking out all the walkers and most of the scientists, managing to save most of the children, although they will need some serious therapy.

    Ledger’s team soon learns that a major final attack of the zombie creating virus is planned and must act fast to not only stop the zombies but to find out where and when the attack will occur.

    This book is solid action from the first word spoken and even the end of the book leaves you with your adrenaline ready to be released for more fight or flight action.  Maberry has created the perfect action zombie story with the perfect action hero to lead the fight.

    The real plus behind this audio book is the seemingly unlimited voice talent of Ray Porter.  His vocal gymnastics lead you down the dark hallways with horror and then exposes the action with expressed excitement.  Porter’s gymnastics don’t stop there, he also is able to vocalize the many accents not only giving the characters accents based on their nationality but also based on their motives and psyche.  His presentation of Joe Ledger is par excellence.

    • Jonathan Maberry 9:53 AM on January 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for that great review! I agree that Ray Porter did an amazing job with PATIENT ZERO. He’s currently recording the second in the series, THE DRAGON FACTORY; and I’m writing the fourth in the series, BOOK OF SHADOWS.

      The Joe Ledger has been optioned for TV by Sony Entertainment. Too soon for details yet.

      There are also some free Joe Ledger short stories available via links on my website, http://www.jonathanmaberry.com; and a new one, “Material Witness” will be posted next week.

      I also have two other zombies novels, if you want to sink your teeth in. ROT & RUIN (Simon & Schuster) is a very edgy post-zombie apocalypse novel set fourteen years after the events of Night of the Living Dead. That also kicks off a series. And this summer, St. Martins Griffin will release DEAD OF NIGHT, a standalone zombie novel set near Pittsburgh.


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