Extinction Machine (Joe Ledger Series #5)

Extinction Machine (Joe Ledger Series #5)

4.5 25
by Jonathan Maberry

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In Extinction Machine, the fifth Joe Ledger book by Jonathan Maberry, the DMS must go up against someone—or something—in search of new technology that could bring about world war

The President of the United States vanishes from the White House.

A top-secret prototype stealth fighter is destroyed during a test flight. Witnesses on the


In Extinction Machine, the fifth Joe Ledger book by Jonathan Maberry, the DMS must go up against someone—or something—in search of new technology that could bring about world war

The President of the United States vanishes from the White House.

A top-secret prototype stealth fighter is destroyed during a test flight. Witnesses on the ground say that it was shot down by a craft that immediately vanished at impossible speeds.

All over the world reports of UFOs are increasing at an alarming rate.

And in a remote fossil dig in China dinosaur hunters have found something that is definitely not of this earth. There are rumors of alien-human hybrids living among us.

Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences rush headlong into the heat of the world's strangest and deadliest arms race, because the global race to recover and retro-engineer alien technologies has just hit a snag. Someone—or something--wants that technology back.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fifth in the Joe Ledger series (after Assassin’s Code), this fast-paced and somewhat tongue-in-cheek thriller sees the cop–turned–government agent facing off against conspiracy theorists, men in black, and futuristic weapons, with the fate of the world at stake. Joe is recalled from a well-deserved day off after a series of nigh-impossible cyber attacks culminate with the disappearance of the president. To save him, Joe and the Department of Military Sciences must track down the semimythical Majestic Black Book and put a stop to the secret economy of retro-engineering salvaged alien technology. Maberry digs deep into the body of lore concerning UFO conspiracy theories, fusing it with the anything-goes sensibilities of a series that’s previously pitted Joe against vampires and zombies. While there’s a kitchen-sink feel to the story’s various components, it somehow holds together in the end. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

“The Ledger novels are exciting sf thrillers that just happen to involve stuff that's a little out there (and Joe himself is a realistically portrayed soldier who, from time to time, has a hard time dealing with the weirdnesses that surround him). Readers familiar with the series will need no prodding to check this new one out, and newcomers, immediately upon finishing the book, will want to hunt down the earlier installments.” —Booklist, starred review

“Maberry delivers plenty of action and intrigue.” —Publishers Weekly on Assassin's Code

“A fast-paced, brilliantly written novel. The hottest thriller of the New Year! In The King of Plagues, Jonathan Maberry reigns supreme.” —Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Athena Project, on The King of Plagues

“While Joe has announced his retirement, eager readers can look forward to one more volume in this humorous, over-the-top cross-genre trilogy.” —Publishers Weekly on The Dragon Factory

“Like a video game on steroids mixed with The Island of Dr. Moreau.” —Booklist on The Dragon Factory

Kirkus Reviews
Maberry's fifth entry in the Joe Ledger series combines conspiracy theories, aliens, corrupt government agencies and tons of action/adventure. Capt. Joe Ledger, a former police detective who is now an operative for the highly secretive Department of Military Sciences, and his team once again face foes coming from every corner. Ledger's problems start when he is targeted by a group of dangerous men who aim to put him, his team and his agency out of the picture for good. This convoluted tale, which switches back and forth from Ledger's present to the past, from country to country and from Ledger's first-person point of view to third-person omniscient, puts readers into the heads of everyone, from Chinese generals to hardened killers. The plot revolves around the kidnapping of the president, who is abducted from the White House in the middle of the night by what appears to be an alien craft that leaves behind distinctive crop circles. Meanwhile, dial back a few decades and the Chinese are busy manipulating some odd aircraft in order to get the jump on the West. Ledger, who is having an affair with a beautiful assassin named Violin, is called in to find out what is going on with the president. While he is out with his combat dog, Ghost, his apartment is invaded and torn to pieces by men sent to take him, and the DMS, down. The confusing plot meanders around, jumping from villain to protagonist in rapid succession and even throwing in a group referred to as the "men in black," along with an enigmatic woman with an eidetic memory and over-the-top bad guys by the score. Although Ledger is presented as a killing machine with a patriotic side, as a character, he is so soaked in blood and testosterone that he comes off as cartoonish. What could have been a fun romp turns into a cliché-ridden tale so confusing that most readers will need a whiteboard to keep track of the characters and plot points.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Joe Ledger Series , #5
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.68(w) x 8.06(h) x 1.16(d)

Read an Excerpt

Extinction Machine

A Joe Ledger Novel
By Jonathan Maberry

St. Martin's Griffin

Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Maberry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312552213

Chapter One

The world “impossible” used to mean something. It was a line that couldn’t be crossed. It was the outer edge of the safe zone.
I can’t find that line anymore.

Chapter Two
Shelton Aeronautics
Wolf Trap, Virginia
Thursday, October 17, 10:36 a.m.
It started with a door knock.
It was the last time it would be knuckles on wood. Next time I’d pound with my fist.
“Nobody’s home,” said Bunny. Not for the first time.
“Parking lot’s full of cars,” said Top.
“They’re here,” I grumbled.
Master Sergeant Harvey “Bunny” Rabbit popped his chewing gum. “Then how come they’re not answering the door?”
I gave him a withering stare. He’s six seven, so I had to look up to do it. “Do I look like Carnac the Magnificent?”
“Cap’n’s telling you that he’s not psychic, Farmboy,” said Top. Full name was First Sergeant Bradley Sims. He currently held my old spot as leader of Echo Team. “And I believe he’s saying something to the effect that if you keep telling him no one’s here he’s going to kneecap you.”
“Words to that effect,” I said.
I knocked again. Louder. With the side of my fist.
This was not how I planned to spend my vacation. Sure, I love my country and yes I would die to protect her … but this was my first vacation since dinosaurs ruled the earth.
I had today planned out, too. It was a very well-constructed plan, starting with lots of sleep, followed by the kind of diner breakfast that would keep my arteries nice and hard. Then take Ghost, my white shepherd, for a long walk in the park where he would help me appear irresistible to pretty women. Then I’d catch the first part of an Orioles doubleheader in the afternoon, ideally to see them make the Phillies weep and gnash their teeth. Then back to planning the greatest bachelor party in the history of personal excess.
My best friend and occasional shrink, Rudy Sanchez, was getting hitched in two months. His fiancée, Circe O’Tree, was away on a book tour, and Saturday night was the party. I already had Sunday set aside for whatever was required after the party: medical attention, psychological counseling, or bail hearings.
Instead, where was I at ten in the morning on a glorious Thursday?
Stuffed into a suit, not flirting with girls in the park, standing outside of Shelton Aeronautics with Top and Bunny who were every bit as disgruntled as I was.
And nobody was answering the goddamn door.
We were out on one of those busybody projects that are often immense time wasters. We were out doing legwork to try and track down some cyber-terrorists. Yeah, I know—that battlefield is online so why were first-team shooters knocking on doors?
Like everything else in my life, it’s complicated.
The short version is that over the last few months there have been some significant attacks on the computer systems of several of the most important defense contractors. These were all private corporations who used intranet rather than the Internet for all the important stuff, so Web access to their research records was supposed to be impossible.
Well, virtually impossible. We could do it. By “we” I mean my team, the Department of Military Sciences. The DMS has the MindReader computer system and MindReader is to other computers what Superman is to the spandex crowd. MindReader can intrude into any other system, read and copy its data, and exit without a trace. Its superintrusion software package is unique and it rewrites the target system’s software to erase all tracks. Other invader systems leave some kind of detectable scarring, no matter how subtle. MindReader doesn’t.
The attacks began small. Some cute little viruses that were more nuisance than threat. Like jabs a boxer throws when he’s trying to get the measure of his opponent’s timing and reflexes. You’re not really trying to score with the jab, but by learning how the opponent reacts you set yourself for the hard right.
The hard right came around the first of the month.
Someone hacked the security computers at a Lockheed Martin plant in New Jersey and accessed the fire control system. The virus told the system there was a major fire in the labs and that tripped the halon fire retardant. Without a single warning bell, the security doors autolocked and massive white clouds of toxic gas began jetting into the labs. The fully staffed labs. Thirty-eight people wound up in the hospital.
Two days later a missile in a test silo in Kansas tried to launch itself. Luckily the warhead was a dummy and there was only residual fuel in the tanks, so the damage was minor. The implications, however, sent shock waves throughout the Department of Defense and Homeland.
The attacks escalated. A tapeworm tunneled through the mainframe at an Aurora Flight Sciences plant at the Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia, destroying all files associated with a new unmanned aerial vehicle, and then self-deleted. Sure, there were backups to all the files concerned with the UAV, but there was a scramble to pull them off any hard drive even remotely attached to an Internet connection.
The big play had been the triggering of an autodestruct protocol at a testing facility in Poker Flat, Alaska. The autodestruct wasn’t something as dramatic as a nuclear core going into the red zone. There was no automated female voice warning everyone to get to minimum safe distance. Nothing like that. This was a small series of thermite charges connected to the mainframes of the lab’s supercomputers. In the case of a physical intrusion, the crucial information was supposed to be flash transmitted to a satellite uplink right before the charges blew. Only it happened the other way around—the charges blew without warning and without uploading the files. The price tag was eleven million. Supercomputers ain’t cheap.
So, the industrialists called their contacts on the congressional oversight committee, who called the brass at the DoD, who called the president, who called my boss who pulled me in despite my being on vacation. Suddenly I was attached to the Cyber Crimes Task Force.
Everybody had a theory about what was happening and who was behind it. The Chinese Ghost Net got a lot of play, of course. Lot of people in Washington agreed it was exactly the sort of thing they’d do. Not only was it a cyber-attack that was so cleverly managed that it couldn’t be tracked back to anyone, it also did a lot of damage to our efforts to bring the next generation of stealth and unmanned aircraft to fruition.
Of course the Russians, Iranians, and North Koreans were put on the Cyber Crimes Task Force watch list. Even some of our allies—the Israelis, the Brits, the French, the everybody else—got some play because when you’re the biggest, toughest, richest kid in school nobody really likes you.
I had to admit that I wasn’t in the mood to buy Uncle Sam a beer either. How the hell were the Orioles supposed to win without me watching?

Copyright © 2013 by Jonathan Maberry


Excerpted from Extinction Machine by Jonathan Maberry Copyright © 2013 by Jonathan Maberry. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times bestseller and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Patient Zero, the Pine Deep Trilogy, The Wolfman, Zombie CSU and They Bite. His work for Marvel Comics includes The Punisher, Wolverine, DoomWar, Marvel Zombie Return and Black Panther. His Joe Ledger series has been optioned for TV.

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Extinction Machine: A Joe Ledger Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full of action right from the start. The story feels fresh and the addition of aliens to the series makes it even more refreshing. Even though the story is not full of surprises, it has enough to make you frown throughout the book. Not a dissapoinment in any way!!
debfromphilly More than 1 year ago
My husband loved this series!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An abandoned disaster-relief camp set up by the government to help people. It was over run and is now cleared out. It's the perfect place for loners and seperate groups of survivors to live.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
Another tale in the Joe Ledger series continues to deliver.  The series is so much fun from Zombies, to vampires, to aliens I’m wondering what is coming next.  Full of action, smart-ass retorts and drama ”Extinction Machine” is another fine book a series that keeps the hits coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for #6!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The fifth book of the series does not peter off the action and mystery! A good plot with an incredible new set of strabge occurences and lots of action!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So I have read all the Joe Ledger series so far and this was by far the weakest of the series. Although still a good thriller by itself compared to the others I was dissappointed. It didn't have the fast-paced action i was used to. Additionally I was not a huge fan of the alien premise eithwe
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I find myself continually giving good praises to Johnathan Maberry and the Joe Ledger series and this one is no exception.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first Joe Ledger story I read, and it was good enough to get me to read the rest of the series. I won't spoil the plot, but it's a little more "out there" than the usual universe Joe inhabits.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another awesome Joe Ledger novel!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Get to the choppa" he said getting into the pilots seat(ha lol my favorite movie)