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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Patient Zero Review

Todd Jepperson

What does it feel like to kill the same guy twice in one week? Joe Ledger knows. His swat team hits a terrorist juncture in a warehouse where all hell breaks loose. He ends up putting four men down in the sting and still manages to drag his shredded buddy, Jerry, back outside after his shield gets torn up by a Chinese QBZ-95. The strange thing about the ordeal isn’t that he had to shoot somebody. He’s Baltimore P.D. He’s used to that. It’s that there were only twelve dudes in the room when they kicked it down; but, there were thirteen when it was all over. That last guy is the only one which caught him off guard; the sicko actually tried to bite him. When thirteen makes a move for one of his partners, Ledger puts two rounds from his .45 into the guys back.

Fast forward a few days and Joe gets nabbed by three goons in suits and shades. They throw him in a car and drive him about 100 miles down the road to a building he’s never seen before. They leave him in a windowless room to wait a couple of hours and then send in the boss. Mr. Church, they call him. He’s hard as a hammer and pulls no punches. After a few minutes of interesting dialogue, and a few cookies, he gives Ledger his “audition”.

In a room similar to his interrogation room, sits a man at a table. Joe simply has to go in, subdue the guy, and walk out. Simple, yeah? Not by a long shot. The moment Ledger gets close, the man springs on him; number thirteen. The guy should be in a box buried under a nice field of fresh cut grass right now; but, he’s snappy as a spring chicken. After one of Maberry’s marque throw downs, Ledger finds out exactly what Mr. Church wants with him. There’s a new face behind global terrorism, and they’re looking to release a Prion disease, which they call Seif al Din; or, Sword of the Faithful, at a conference in D.C. The disease is a combination of fatal familial insomnia and some naturally occurring aggressive parasites which cause the dead to rise… hungry. They plan to set the world on fire and dance in the shadows of its destruction.

This book is what got me into reading Maberry. The reason I picked it up, back in ’09, is because I was in the market for a new zombie book after The Zombie Survival Guide and I’d started to hear buzz about this Jonathan Maberry dude. He’d won multiple awards, including the Bram Stoker award for best first novel, and he was an 8th degree black belt in Jujitsu. I figured I’d give him a try; It was a great decision.

Patient Zero is the first book of real-world fiction novels about Detective Joe Ledger (followed in 2010 by The Dragon Factory and in 2011 by King of Plagues). The things in the book aren’t real; but, the situations are too close to science fact to ignore. There’s even a flyleaf disclaimer at the beginning of the book to which lets readers know no matter how real it sounds, it’s not… yet. Expect violence, picturesque brutality, sexual themes, language, and everything that goes with it. Definitely not for the kids.

Sadly, Zombies are only the theme of the first book; the second dealing with Genetic Splicing and Eugenics and the third to deal with a remix of the Biblical plagues. Still, you’re gonna wanna pick these up. You won’t regret it.

Don't forget to read our review of Rot & Ruin and enter to win a copy!


  1. I first read Maberry in the form of "The Family Business" in the zombie anthology, "The New Dead" and was instantly hooked. His take on zombies is true to form yet still fresh. The expanded story of "The Family Business" can be found in "Rot & Ruin" which is a masterpiece of the zombie genre and a solid novel.

    I've since read both "Patient Zero" and "The Dragon Factory", both of which are top notch, as well as a couple of free short stories that have been release digiatlly on-line.

    Maberry is definitely one of my new favorite authors and I'm hungry for more. Next up I plan to read through his "Pine Deep" trilogy.

    Good stuff. Highlly recommended.

  2. Wow! A solid recommendation from a reputible source.

    I'm bummed as I don't have the time to read anymore. But Maberry is recommended by everyone who writes for ZT that have read his books.

  3. I read Patient Zero, then while I waited for The Dragon Factory, I bought and read Pine Deep. Also Highly recommended. When you do get around to reading them, watch for a kid named "Iron" Mike Sweeney. One of my favorite characters of all time. Thanks for lending some cred to the review, and thanks for reading Z&T!


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