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Patient Zero (Joe Ledger #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  20,723 Ratings  ·  1,700 Reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published January 1st 2009)
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Alexander If you are looking for a good zombie book look elsewhere; this has little zombie action. While the villain is interesting and you'd want to read more…moreIf you are looking for a good zombie book look elsewhere; this has little zombie action. While the villain is interesting and you'd want to read more about that side you may often find yourself checking out during frequent descriptions of Joe wrasslin' his foes. Warning: repetitive descriptions abound. (less)
Terri Pray My teen has read and enjoyed it - she's 15. She's also listened to the audio book. I'd say it depends on the teen and the views of the parents.…moreMy teen has read and enjoyed it - she's 15. She's also listened to the audio book. I'd say it depends on the teen and the views of the parents. There's violence, some language, some sex (not graphic in all honesty).

If you're uncertain - try the Rot and Ruin series by the same author. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 10, 2011 seak rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2012
Jonathan Maberry has made a name for himself writing horror, but more specifically writing about zombies. Going into Patient Zero, I knew it would contain zombies, but it could probably fit just as well under the label of "covert ops" or some such (not that this fantasy nerd knows anything past dragons and magic). It technically contains a form of "zombie," but it really isn't a zombie book.

The real threat in this book is terrorism. Joe Ledger, the series' eponymous hero and Baltimore detective
Mike (the Paladin)
Jun 09, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
How can a book about zombie terrorists be boring? I wrote a review here (an earlier book)where I noted that I can at times read at a fairly fast rate and I do that especially when I have a large number of library books waiting to be read. In that review I noted that sometimes I regretted it as there were/are times I'd like to linger over a book....this isn't one of those books.

The book caught my interest initially and I had hopes for it. It "was/is" another "zombies are caused by an infection th
Pure mindblowing awesomeness, that's all I can say. The only way I can properly describe this novel is that its "24 on pages" (referring to 24 tv show of course). The Department of Military Science (DMS) standing in as this version's CTU, from one jawdropping INSANE action sequence to another, an earthshattering impending terrorist attack looming over the horizon, evil middle eastern terrorists and an westerner being the main puppetmaster behind all the schemings... Everything screams to me as 2 ...more
Shannon (leaninglights)
This book was awesome. What do I even say?! It was so much more than a "zombie story" and I will definitely continue the series in the future! I loved all the special ops military stuff and Joe Ledger is freaking awesome. Highly recommend!! (And if you're squeamish like me and were hesitant to pick up due to zombie/horror/gore, don't worry because this book isn't horror at all - it's more action and military).
Jun 26, 2011 Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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With the protagonist Joe Ledger I am thinking of a blend of The characters James Bond, John Rambo and Jack Bauer from 24. The story actually is serving up a good slice of entertainment in the the hole that 24 and Jack Bauer no-more has left. It starts off the first half more of a cerebral approach of a thriller. Maberry writes with this story as if it has been ripped from today's headlines incorporating terrorism and political battles from across the shores. A good story that incorp
Nov 17, 2009 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually steer clear of series fiction, but the Peter Straub blurb made me pick this one up. It's a fast-paced, somewhat cartoonish zombie-thriller involving Joe Ledger, the hard-boiled detective who is recruited by the super-super-ultra-secret Department of Military Sciences. There is plenty of action and the book is well-plotted (if by-the-numbers), but it does have a lot of howlers in it, particularly when protagonist Joe begins to feel patriotic or amorous. Joe can kill anyone, kick anyone' ...more
Excusing all my derogatory comments about light / beach / vacation reading, I finally get it. If you have basically a cookie cutter action / thriller novel and it's about zombies I totally understand the appeal. If this had been merely about terrorists attacking America with some unstoppable hero going about shutting them down I'd think it was crap, but when the terrorists are spreading a zombie plague, now that I can get interested in and want to read. I'd probably still rather watch this as a ...more
Aug 01, 2009 Christina added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christina by: Android's Dream (sci-fi/horror/fantasy book club at the Doylesto
I have thoroughly enjoyed doing dramatic readings of the Joe Ledger chapters of this book in as gravelly a Christian-Bale-as-Batman voice as I can muster (which isn't all that gravelly, because I am, after all, a girl). This book lends itself perfectly to that kind of parody.

Because it is a parody.

A parody of a parody.

It's cliched in the worst possible of ways...

You've got main character/hero Joe Ledger who walks with a big stick and supposedly has a bigger dick. He's self-aware enough to know t
I started this on Audible a year ago and returned it. I started reading it last week and could not put it down. One of my Bookworm Buddies loves this series and now I see why. High action believable, human mutation story with a breakneck fast moving plot. The Characters were a bit crazy and over the top but fit the situation perfectly. I will definitely be reading more in this series as well as others by Jonathan Mayberry. It's hard for me to be fair to the next book I read after flying through ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I don't like zombies, but I like this book!

I bought this one a while ago because I was intrigued by the idea of an action/adventure series about a special government agency which handles strange science threats. It's been sitting on my shelf, not because it didn't look interesting. I was just reading and doing other stuff.

Glad I was able to read it for the February group read for the Action/Adventure Aficionados group. A very strong selling point is that this one hits the ground running. I hate
Quentin Wallace
Oct 16, 2015 Quentin Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zombies are really not my thing. I love The Walking Dead (both the comic and the TV show), and I've seen all the Romero movies. I even have written a book with zombies. But really, I'm more of a Vampire, Werewolf, Sea Creature guy. However, Zombies can be cool too.

This is probably the most realistic zombie story I've read. While I prefer the supernatural in my stories, the science fiction here actually made this one scarier. Terrorists creating zombies? And using a virus that maaaybe be real som
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
*** Note: this review follows a format intended for the "Group Read" in the Action/Adventure Afficionados discussion group. It may not conform to what your used to, but, it'll make sense... at least I hope it makes sense. End Note***

1. Did you feel that this was a good zombie novel?

Well, it’s a good book, it has Zombies in it, but it might be premature to call it a “Zombie Novel.” It was more action adventure with a risk of zombie apocalypse…and…it was a GOOD one.

2. Action scenes. How did they
Apr 26, 2009 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miriam by: First Reads
What seems to be a straight-forward police raid quickly takes a turn for the bizarre when officer Joe Ledger is shown the man he killed in the raid, now reanimated as a zombie! The zombies is are not supernatural creatures but victims of a deliberately engineered virus which terrorists are testing for use on the populace. Ledger is recruited to a secret joint American and British effort to stop them.

This is an entertaining read with an interesting protagonist and plenty of action. Very short ch
Aug 29, 2014 Checkman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Well I'm definitely not on a roll here. Two books in a row and both left something to be desired.

Patient Zero seemed like a sure fire proposition. Zombie horror meets super charged action spy novel genre. Excellent. Right? Wrong.

To begin with I automatically disliked the hero Joe Ledger. Haven't we gotten beyond the perfect hero who is (prepare yourself. It's a long list), smarter, better looking, tougher, faster, stronger, wittier, more aggressive, infallible, a natural warrior and able to ge
The Crimson Fucker
Jan 20, 2009 The Crimson Fucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mucho-macho
Joe Ledger was sent to America to kick platypus ass and kill zombies!! And there ain’t no more platypuses on this continent! So watch it zombies cuz this “man” can kick the shit out of a room full of special forces members in less than 6 seconds!! Yes you read right! 6 seconds, he can make a last stand against dozens and dozens of zombies without even getting a scratch, this man is like the Chuck Norris of zombie slaying!! I swear to god I kept expecting him to grab a zombie by the arms rip em’ ...more
Janie Johnson
When I first started this book I was very interested and intrigued by it, and then about a quarter of the way through it got a little dull and boring and I thought it was gonna take me forever to get through the book. But then something happened and the book quickly turned course on me and I fell in love with all of it. The characters, the plot, and the overall story.

I have learned that Maberry has a great gift in story telling and for character development. Our main character who is my favorite
Dec 28, 2008 J.D. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is pure, kick-ass fun. Joe Ledger's a great action hero, and the story zips along at a great clip. I read the whole thing with a big sloppy grin on my face. I highly recommend it.
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

“Patient Zero”,by Jonathan Maberry, follows smart-mouthed Baltimore cop Joe Ledger who, after joining a secret government agency, the Department of Military Science, or DMS, races to stop a plague from destroying the country, except this plague makes Ebola look like child’s play. This plague kills you, then re-animates you, zombie-style. Except the "zombies" in this book are not your traditional zombies. The “plague”, is,
Beanbag Love
Sep 26, 2015 Beanbag Love rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite far too many interruptions, I finally finished this incredibly suspenseful and creepy book.

I started reading this because Maberry is set to collaborate with Larry Correia on a crossover book with Joe Ledger (the protagonist of this series) and Monster Hunter International (Agent Franks specifically I understand). So I thought I'd better get up to speed on this. I'm glad I did as it was a highly engrossing story and I do love the character of Joe Ledger.

Unfortunately, although it isn't c
Alissa Patrick
May 27, 2014 Alissa Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, I was totally amused that the zombies in this story are called Walkers. It made it much easier to get into the story, as weird as that sounds haha

If a Zombie apocalypse actually occurs, this is as close and accurate to the way I would imagine one being. It's scary, chaotic, and terrifyingly real. How can a zombie horror novel be realistic, you ask? Right in the beginning of the novel, there's an Author's Note that says "much of the technical information in this novel is based upon act
Feb 25, 2012 Char rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patient Zero is a number of different stories in one.
A zombie story, a terrorist story and a military/police story.
I enjoyed the first two but not so much the last.
It was fun and intricately plotted. The characters were well developed and many of them likeable. I'm just not much into guns, knife fights and explosions.
It was enjoyable, just not really my thing. If you have an action jones then this may be the book for you!
Lilyn G. (Scifi and Scary)
Wow. Out of all the Jonathan Maberry books I’ve read, Patient Zero is by far the best. Non-stop action, fantastic hero, and zombies galore. What more could a girl ask for? Well, a great narrator would be a bonus (as I listened to this as an audio book.) And…

Once again, Ray Porter’s amazing narration brings an already exciting story into vibrant life. Joe Ledger is a character you can’t help but like. He’s confident in himself and his skills, he’s someone who takes no crap from anyone, and he’s a
সাদমান হুসাইন
পড়ে শেষ করলাম Joe Ledger সিরিজের পরথম বই, Patient Zero।

লেজার বেচারা ছিলো এক পুলিশ ডিটেকটিভ, তার আবার তিনটা আলাদা আলাদা পারসোনালিটি। আগের জীবনে অনেক বাজে অভিজঞতা মোকাবেলা করে আসছে সে, এখন সে পুরোদসতুর হারডেনেড আপ ওয়ারিওর। তাকে একটা আজব ধরনের থরেট মোকাবেলা করার জনযে নিয়ে যাওয়া হয় ডিএমএস নামের অরগানাইজেশনে, যেইটার কোন অসতিতব সে অনেক খুজেও পায় না কোথাও। সেই থরেটটা হইলো একটা জমবি ইনফেকশন!

সতযি বলতে কি, এই বইয়ের কাহিনী সংকষেপ আগেও পড়সি, কিনতু বইটা পড়তে তেমন ইচছা করে নাই। ভাবসি, কতোই তো পড়লাম জমবি নিয়ে

Baltimore Police Detective Joe Ledger gets recruited to work for a top secret government organization known as the Department of Military Sciences. There is an outbreak of hard to kill for good zombies, possibly caused by an infection and they need someone with Joe's razor sharp reflexes to give them an edge. Even without a gun, Joe works fast, real fast. The DMS, run by the mysterious Mr. Church makes him a team leader after locking him in a room of similar beefy military recruits types and tel
May 18, 2009 Damian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I won Patient Zero on this very website, so I went in knowing nothing beyond the blurb. I probably won due to my past reading history, a significant portion of which is horror. The title states that it's "A Joe Ledger Novel". I'm not sure if that means the author has used this character before or if this is his introduction. I won't get into what the book is about, because like me, you can get it from the blurb. To start with, Joe Ledger is pretty cool. Many times he's a little too cool, and tha ...more
Dec 01, 2008 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
From Publishers Weekly 12/1/2008:

Patient Zero Jonathan Maberry. St. Martin's Griffin, $14.95 paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-312-38285-8

While raiding a terrorist cell at the start of this exciting thriller from Stoker-winner Maberry (Dead Man's Song), Baltimore PD Det. Joe Ledger shoots two .45 slugs into Javad Mustapha, killing him very dead. Four days later, while trying out for a secret government antiterrorist unit, Joe has to kill Javad all over again. It appears the terrorists have figured out a w
Mogsy (MMOGC)
I didn't really enjoy this, even though it was well-written and had a good story. The thing is, it just wasn't my kind of story. Admittedly, I was misled by the cover and the description of this book to believe that it was mainly about zombies. It really isn't. I mean, they do play a role, but this turned out to be more of a thriller/suspense novel dealing with terrorism and covert ops, with the zombie threat only playing second fiddle.

I personally found it boring, but like I said, it's probabl
Rick Fisher
Very impressive story by Jonathan Maberry. This one has it all. Thrills, spills and chills.
Mr. Maberry has impressed before with his "Rot and Ruin" series, but here, he shows he is a true master. He has mad skills. This is undoubtedly the best novel I have read in this genre.
Highly recommended.
Scott Sigler
Jun 03, 2009 Scott Sigler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maberry takes a shot at hard-science zombies and pulls it off well. Yes, the zombie genre is choked with me-too books, and yes, most people are writing the exact same plot we've seen in movies for thirty years now, but this one is very different. Fans of David Wellington's MONSTER ISLAND will also dig this one.
10/5 - Another zombie book with the possible involvement of a mutant parasite? What a strange coincidence that I've just finished The Troop, my first book with zombies that aren't your usual run-of-the-mill zombies, and only a day later I start this one which has a now familiar theme running through it. I think this could be a five starrer for me, depending on some important factors. I like the language and style of this, the way Maberry is very confident in his descriptions of the sophisticated ...more
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  • Eden
JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries.

His novels include the Pine Deep Trilogy: GHOST ROAD BLUES (Pinnacle books; winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 2006), DEAD
More about Jonathan Maberry...

Other Books in the Series

Joe Ledger (10 books)
  • The Dragon Factory (Joe Ledger, #2)
  • The King of Plagues (Joe Ledger, #3)
  • Assassin's Code (Joe Ledger, #4)
  • Extinction Machine (Joe Ledger, #5)
  • Joe Ledger: Special Ops
  • Code Zero (Joe Ledger, #6)
  • Predator One (Joe Ledger, #7)
  • Kill Switch (Joe Ledger #8)
  • Dogs of War (Joe Ledger #9)

Share This Book

“I’m not sure I could trust a man who would bypass an Oreo in favor of vanilla wafers. It’s a fundamental character flaw, possibly a sign of true evil.” 129 likes
“When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there's either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world.
And there's nothing wrong with my skills.”
More quotes…