Title: Patient Zero
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Series: Joe Ledger, #1
Date(s) listened: April 1 – 10, 2013
Genre: Zombie Thriller
Source: Purchased (Audible)
Length: 14 hours 45 minutes (Unabridged)
Narrated by: Ray Porter
Published by: Blackstone Audio (October 1, 2010)
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. And that’s both a good, and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance….
I’m not sure why, but for the last year or so I just haven’t been “into” zombie stories. I want to like them, but I just haven’t been able to find the story that really attracts me. One thing I really liked about this story was that there was an actual explanation about WHERE the zombies came from. Too many times, it’s like the zombies are just “there” in a story, but in Patient Zero, the zombies are an act of terrorists.
I have to admit that I loved the character of Joe Ledger. He was snarky, sarcastic, and QUITE the character. I think if I had any other type of character, I might not have been interested in the story, but Joe Ledger had a charm about him that I found very intriguing. Even when the times were tough and zombies were, you know … zombies … he still made me laugh. There were times that I wanted a lot more Joe, and a lot less of Afghanistan and the terrorists. I also really loved Bunny and Church — as well as the emphasis on the cookies. I didn’t expect the book to get me craving cookies as much as I did!
I’m also very happy to have listened to this story via audiobook. I had bought it during a sale on Audible after hearing really good things about the series and from the instant I started listening to it, I loved the narrator. Ray Porter was a PERFECT fit for Joe’s character. I couldn’t imagine anyone else narrating the story. It did seem long in a few parts, but there was enough of a blend of humour and gore, as well as plenty of other characters that the story still moved at a good pace. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed the story as much had I physically read it, rather than listened. What also worked, for listening, was the fact that the chapters were quite short — they ranged from 5 minutes to 20 minutes, so it was easy to stop listening at a chapter’s end. The only thing that got a little confusing was that at the beginning of chapters, it would be told where the chapter was taking place, with who, and the time — it would’ve been nice to be able to flip back and see this sometimes.
By the end of this story, I was still torn. I liked the story, but I’m still not sure about how I feel about the whole “terrorist” aspect of it. I’m not sure if the rest of the series is the same, but if one thing would keep me listening to it, it would have to be the narration of Ray Porter, as well as the character of Joe Ledger. And, as most series go, I feel like the first book is only the beginning — it can only get better from here.