Customer Reviews for

Patient Zero (Joe Ledger Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Must read

Joe Ledger is good, really good, usually when he puts someone down, they stay down, but like the story starts "When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there's either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills... and there's no...
Joe Ledger is good, really good, usually when he puts someone down, they stay down, but like the story starts "When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there's either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills... and there's nothing wrong with Joe Ledger's skills."


In that first paragraph I was "all in". Patient Zero grabbed hold and never let go. Maberry is relentless, he latches on to your greatest fears, shows you people you might know, people you may even love, then shows you the worst things you can imagine, and some you couldn't.



From a literary perspective this book was fascinating, as the story is told both in first person (From the perspective of Joe Ledger) and also in third person when it is necessary to see things from another perspective. I'll be honest, I haven't seen this done much and never this well. There was a moment in the very beginning of the when my mind wanted to shout POV violation, but once i saw what had happened I realized just how well it worked.

This is, bar none, one of the best books I've read in a couple of years, and THE best zombie book I've read. Don't let the whole Zombie thing keep you from reading this. It's not really about the zombies, it's about the people. Jonathan Maberry doesn't create characters, the PEOPLE in this book feel as real as you and me.

posted by JasonDWarden on April 7, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Generic, cliché, zombie-action movie

I enjoyed the start of this novel, though it quickly became very cliché. Think Predator, starring the Governator and Ventura and all the macho-posing it contained, replete with one-liners and snappy dialogue. The more I read, the more the protagonist, Joe Ledger, became...
I enjoyed the start of this novel, though it quickly became very cliché. Think Predator, starring the Governator and Ventura and all the macho-posing it contained, replete with one-liners and snappy dialogue. The more I read, the more the protagonist, Joe Ledger, became a caricature of every action-movie star ever invented. Additionally, though it may seem absurd to question plausibility in a novel about the living dead, I was bothered by some of the more absurd plot elements, such as major pharmaceutical companies being fronts for terrorist groups, terrorists individually outsmarting every U.S. intelligence agency in existence, plus their complete ability to encrypt cell phones so they could communicate at will without fear of eavesdroppers, and their ability to produce scientific technology in their remote bases decades ahead of U.S. capabilities. If you aren't bothered by movies with plot holes, but principally want lots of violence, an invincible main character, arterial spray, and zombies, you'll likely enjoy the book as it provides all this and then some. I was asked to suspend my disbelief too many times in this novel and couldn't stop myself from picking it apart as I read. I don't plan to read more by the author.

posted by Genghis_Sean on October 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2013

    '24' Meets 'Resident Evil' with a touch of 'Splinter Cell'

    This book was right up my alley in ever way. Having fell in love with characters like Sam Fisher and Jack Bauer, Joe Ledger was easy understand. And being a huge zombie fan (pre The Walking Dead) I always loved the idea of it being a genetically manipulated virus as oppose to the supernatural. If anything it mixed techno-thriller/espionage with horror; two of my favorite genres. I recommend this especially for any readers who are equal part gamers.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An average Joe living in a not-so-average world

    I think Jonathon Maberry had the right idea when he opens with a quote of Part One:

    A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I'm not sure if Emerson is die-hard Team Zombie, but in this instance, he certainly captures the essence of Joe Ledger. Furthermore, I don't know if Emerson elaborates, but I am fairly certain that five minutes can definitely change a person. I mean, wouldn't it be safe to say that after these five precious minutes, a hero is no longer an ordinary man? He has seen something different, and that will affect the rest of his life. Ledger has killed a terrorist twice in one week - a terrorist who tried to literally rip his throat off - and that has prepared him to be the nation's #1 zombie slayer.

    What really motivated me to read the book was not the plot (though it was very well done if you like the political suspense/thriller genre), but the character of Joe Ledger. He was very badass and sarcastic and didn't care if you had issues with him. He knew how to survive and how to keep you alive as long as possible (unless you deliberately don't want to stay alive).

    I just found Joe really endearing, even though he definitely would punch me in the gut for saying so. But I understand if no one else shares my opinion. It took a few pages or so before Joe really grew on me and I just had to keep reading to see what nonsense he had to mess with.

    So, there were funny bits throughout, but not much. Which makes sense since I don't think Patient Zero was going for funniest zombie book of the year. Like I mentioned earlier, it came across more of a political thriller. The actual plot was okay. If I was more into the genre, I think I would have been blown away. I think what deterred me was how the story sometimes detoured into the other characters' perspectives. It would have worked, I think, if there was no first-person narration of Joe Ledger. However, going from first-person to third-person of another character just did not work well for me. I did not care what the brains behind the terrorist operation were doing at the moment or their suspicions of being betrayed by each other. Patient Zero did not quite capture my interest beyond Joe's character, sad to say, though I really wished it swept me off my feet like World War Z.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    Great read must check it out!

    Very well written ! This would make for a great movie! I'm reading it for the second time!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    New twist on the zombie genre

    Loved it. Being from the area in the book (oc md) it really touched home.
    I admire JM going out on limb with the new twist on zombies (new to me anyways).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2013

    Overall great book! Action packed and lots of twists, although I

    Overall great book! Action packed and lots of twists, although I found Joe Ledger not to be as bada$$ as people claim him to be. Great storyline and can't wait to read the other Joe Ledger Novels! I was tossed up between giving this book a 5 star and 4 star.....wish there was 4.5 star button.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    Wild fun, though a bit preachy

    I could have done without the chapters-long dissertations on the nature of man and the fine line between the near-psychotic good guys and psychotic bad guys. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and kept wanting to read more.

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  • Posted June 5, 2012

    Lives Up to the Hype

    I've read some of the author's work before and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I had heard much hype about this series and thought to give it a shot. It does indeed live up to the hype. A nice mix of George Romero and action/adventure. My only complaint is that it sometimes came perilously close to going over the top, veering into comic book type scenes. Not that that there's anything wrong with that, but it didn't always mix with the tone of the rest of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    New Favorite Author

    I admit I was a bit skeptical when a friend recommended this "zombie book." It's not at all what I expected, and I have a new favorite author. Lots of action and well written plot. I definitely recommend this book, in fact, the whole series. It only gets better!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    good fun

    Interesting characters with bond-esque heavies and a tortured protagonist, mixed up with plenty of action. If anything the character building and soul searching slows up the plot a little, but it makes sense for the first of a series. I'll be interested to see where this goes from here - it will be hard to follow the zombie menace.

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A New Kind of Zombie Book

    Two of my favorite genres, Zombies and Military Black Ops, together at last. Found a copy of this left by another soldier in my office in Afghanistan in 2009, and loved it. After getting a nook for this deployment, I bought this and the rest of the Joe Ledger Series and read them all over a few days. This series breathes new life into a series about walking dead, and the oddities seen in this book are only the beginning.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Fun read

    This book wasn't what I expected, but I did really enjoy it. I loved the scientific explinations and how realistic it felt. My only complaint was the main character was so quick, smart and intuitive, but missed some parts so obvious the reader caught them a mile away. But overall would recommend.

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  • Posted April 13, 2010

    Fast-paced Action

    Very entertaining "zombie" book for fans of the genre. It's a bit of Rainbow Six or 24 meets Twenty-eight Days Later. The characters are a little cliche, but the writing is snappy and the action moves along at a good clip. I will definitely pick up the sequel, The Dragon Factory, as soon as it becomes available as an e-book. So far it is only a paperback -- what's up with that?

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  • Posted March 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    not just zombies

    My son said there was more to this book than he'd expected. He knew there'd be zombies, and assumed they'd just be the McGuffin that centered the tale. Obviously there'd be some clever trick to destroying them at the end. But he was pleased to be wrong, and handed me the book with a strong recommendation that I should read it too.

    Patient Zero of the title is a fleeing terrorist who gets shot and killed. Shortly thereafter he attempts to kill his killer. More specifically, he tries to bite him. Said killer, a cop called Joe Ledger, finds this distinctly dismaying and is soon recruited into a secret government organization tasked with controlling the terrorist threat.

    But it's not that simple. Nobody knows which terrorist group is represented, or how they developed such a sudden talent for science. And who would have the money to finance such a plot?

    The story is well-told-a successful mixture of first and third-person fiction that really satisfies. Action scenes are fast and furious and somehow so well choreographed that they make perfect sense. Introspection is also convincingly done, as Joe tries to come to terms with who he is and what's happening to his world. And the twists and turns of the plot, including clever detective work and solving of mysteries, is intriguingly complex and disturbingly plausible. The science is portrayed with a deft, convincing touch, and the politics is satisfyingly nuanced-no red state, blue state here.

    Jonathan Maberry's characters are fascinating too, from witch-like genius Amirah, to terrorist, to sinister Toys, to slick philanthropist, to scarily skillful soldiers, to psychologist. Like Michael Crichton at his early best, combined with classic horror, with a touch of first-season 24, this reads like watching a movie that you'll want to recommend to all your friends-or else just to their sons.

    Of course, if you don't like blood, it's not for you; it does, after all, have zombies.

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  • Posted March 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A blend of zombie horror and military thriller

    When a book chooses to go beyond the boarders of its label,that's what I like, and want more of.

    Joe Ledger is not a superhero but often put in situations where his abilities make him into a killing machine. The zombies are only part of a well crafted military thriller. I would have never seen the appeal had someone told me this was a military thriller. But throw in zombies and I am sold.

    The story is about Joe Ledger being recruited by Mr. Church into a secret military branch of the government, to contain the spread of an infectious disease that turns people into zombies. The reason/cause of the infection is also ingenious and kept me interested in the 400+ paged thriller.

    In all I had never read zombies done like this. I am looking forward to more Joe Ledger novels and perhaps other themes by author Johnathan Mayberry

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    Fun book, but price is too high

    I had a good time with this book, but the price of the book ($14.95!) is way too high, considering paper quality, etc. I "paid" for the book by cutting out some of my favorite workday vices for most of a week.

    I hope more Joe Ledger novels are on the way, but at this price there's a good chance I'll wait until I can borrow them from the library.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fast Moving Hard-boiled Thriller

    I enjoyed this fast paced action crammed thriller more than I probably should have. Maberry combines several standard genre plots to come up with a unique story within a new genre: the Zombie, mad scientist, terrorist, police prodecural genre. Interesting characters who actually seem to suffer from their actions in deplorable situations. My only quibble would be with the villians who rarely raise above the I'm an evil Mad Scientist/Terrorist so I don't really need motivation. Overall, highly recommended.

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  • Posted May 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Joe Ledger is kick a**!!!

    Highly recomended. A fast paced, nail biting page-turner. I went into the bookstore and grabbed this book just to see what it was about, read the back..hmmm..interesting. Opened the book and started to read. That was all it took..couldn't put it down, had to buy it.
    I'm glad I did..very good book. Joe Ledger is one super tough bad a**!! I can't wait to read more novels of Detective Joe Ledger, you will too...he's a natural born leader and he proves it. When this new terrorist "weapon" turns up, even Joe Ledger (a trained killer) is chilled.
    I think this is just the beginning of an awesome series...
    BUY THIS BOOK!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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