Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week.
This week’s featured title is the audiobook production of Code Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry:
- Listening Length: 16 hours and 3 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio (March 25, 2014)
- Source: Personal copy
*Note: This is a review of the sixth book in a series. Please proceed with caution if you have not read/listened to the previous books in this series*
Joe Ledger and the other members of the Echo Unit of the Department of Military Science (DMS) have had their share of interesting experiences. From battling the zombie plague to designer viruses, they’ve seen it all. Any remnants of these weapons have been stored in a remote and isolated location known as the Locker. Until now…
After other units of the DMS are decimated in attacks, the DMS is spread thin. Weapons they thought destroyed or locked up are appearing in public locations. Their new nemesis, Mother Night, has managed to break into the DMS’ impenetrable super computer system, Mindreader, gaining access to knowledge that shouldn’t be made available to the public. Even worse, she broadcasts a video of a rescue mission in which a team went in to put an end to a plague of zombies. The same plague the DMS thought they conquered and destroyed. Before doing so, she dubbed over the sound to make it appear as though the individuals being shot upon are citizens begging for their lives.
This isn’t the first time the DMS has been under fire. The timing, however, couldn’t be worse. The must put an end to Mother Night and her league of rogue “soldiers” before she can unleash something more dark and devastating than before. In doing so, they realize that the individual responsible for their actions isn’t a stranger to the DMS. Her identity shatters the tough exterior of the DMS. Rather than weakening them, however, it makes them stronger, more dedicated and determined to put a stop to Mother Night.
Told in a series of flashbacks to the time Joe Ledger originally joined DMS, Maberry takes readers (or in my case, listeners) on a path through the history of the DMS and Ledger’s existing unit.
Maberry’s Joe Ledger series is one I rush to listen to as soon as it is released. Not only are they truly outstanding novels filled to the brim with action and less than natural enemies, but they contain truly outstanding characters that have grown tremendously since the culmination of the series. Joe Ledger, on the surface, is a mean, brusque, no-nonsense kind of guy. Yet in the past several novels, Maberry has slowly unveiled a softer, more vulnerable side of Joe. To me, this has created a more dynamic, more genuine character in Joe Ledger.
Fans of Maberry’s writing will appreciate the return of characters from the past (as well as one from another series). I’ve been a fan of this series from the beginning and have to say, without a doubt, this is the best one yet.
As with the other titles in this series, I listened to the audiobook production of this title. I don’t see myself ever “reading” them. That’s not to say that the writing doesn’t stand on its own, it genuinely does. Yet Ray Porter’s narration has captivated me. To me, he is the voice of Joe Ledger and the other cast of characters. He completes the package for me, his narration capturing the essence of Joe and the rest of the cast of characters. I won’t say I wouldn’t enjoy reading the titles, it would just feel different, not complete. If you are new to this series, I highly recommend going with the audio. Some of the best out there!
I know this goes without saying, but this, and other Ledger novels, come highly, highly recommended.
Other titles in the Joe Ledger series (in order):