Everyone's favorite snarky, dangerous, idealistic, relentless covert operative is back, and this time he's brought friends. Joe Ledger: Unstoppable presents original short stories about Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences by some of New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry's "friends in the industry." Buckle up for powerful, exciting, and nail-biting adventures by Seanan McGuire, Scott Sigler, Larry Correia, Weston Ochse, Steve Alten, David Farland, Aaron Rosenberg, James A. Moore, James Ray Tuck, Javier Grillo Marxuach, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Jeremy Robinson, Joe McKinney, Jon McGoran, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Nicholas Seven, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, P.G. Charles, and Dana Fredsti!
Joe Ledger is a former Baltimore cop who was recruited into a secret government agency tasked with stopping terrorists who are using bleeding-edge science weapons. The stakes are always high. If you have to call Joe Ledger, it's already hit the fan!
JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-seller and Audible #1 bestseller, five-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, anthology editor, comic book writer, executive producer, magazine feature writer, playwright, and writing teacher/lecturer. He is the editor of WEIRD TALES Magazine and president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. He is the recipient of the Inkpot Award, three Scribe Awards, and was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than thirty countries. He writes in several genres including thriller, horror, science fiction, epic fantasy, and mystery; and he writes for adults, middle grade, and young adult.
Jonathan is the creator, editor and co-author of V-WARS, a shared-world vampire anthology from IDW Publishing that was adapted into a NETFLIX series starring Ian Somerhalder (LOST, VAMPIRE DIARIES).
His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuted in 2018 and was followed by LOST ROADS in fall 2020. ROT & RUIN is in development for film by ALCON ENTERTAINMENT and was adapted as a WEBTOON (a serialized comic formatted for cell phones), becoming their #1 horror comic.
His novels include the enormously popular Joe Ledger series from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel) and eleven other volumes, most recently RELENTLESS. His middle grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY (Simon & Schuster) was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015. His standalone novels include MARS ONE, GLIMPSE, INK, GHOSTWALKERS (based on the DEADLANDS role-playing game), X-FILES ORIGINS: DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, and THE WOLFMAN --winner of the Scribe Award for Best Movie Adaptation
His horror novels include The Pine Deep Trilogy from Pinnacle Books (GHOST ROAD BLUES, 2006, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel and named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium; DEAD MAN’S SONG, 2007; and BAD MOON RISING, 2008; as well as DEAD OF NIGHT, and its sequels, FALL OF NIGHT, DARK OF NIGHT, and STILL OF NIGHT.
His epic fantasy series, KAGEN THE DAMNED debuts in May 2022. And he just signed to co-author (with Weston Ochse) a new series of military science fiction novels that launches the SLEEPERS series. Jonathan will also be launching a new series of science fiction horror novels for the newly established Weird Tales Presents imprint of Blackstone Publishing.
He is also the editor of three THE X-FILES anthologies; the dark fantasy anthology series, OUT OF TUNE; SCARY OUT THERE, an anthology of horror for teens; and the anthologies ALIENS: BUG HUNT, NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD (with George Romero), JOE LEDGER UNSTOPPABLE (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt); two volumes of mysteries: ALTERNATE SHERLOCKS and THE GAME’S AFOOT (with Michael Ventrella); and ALIENS V PREDATOR: ULTIMATE PREY (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt). He is also the editor of DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, the official tribute to SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. His next anthology will be ALIENS VS PREDATOR: ULTIMATE PREY (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt), debuting in spring 2022.
Jonathan was an expert on the History Channel documentary series, ZOMBIES: A Living History and TRUE MONSTERS. And he was participated in the commentary track for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED.
His many nonfiction works include VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006); THE CRYPTOPED
i would never call myself a completist. yet i have been a big fan of Maberry's joe ledger series since Patient Zero. hence reading this was a no-brainer to me. it is a collection of short stories set within the DMS universe. it has stories set between novels, stories that are self contained and even a story from Ledger's dog, ghost's POV. some of the authors were well known to me and were favourites some were unknown bit part of the excitement was reading the lesser known authors' take on Ledger and co. Also there were some very entertaining crossovers/teamups. overall this isnt the friendliest collection to those unfamiliar to the characters and universe as a jumping on point but for readers that are fans of the Joe Ledger addition i would say this was an excellent addition to a collection.
This is by far one of the best anthologies I have read in a long time. It is packed full of great short stories. There were a lot of authors I was being introduced to the first time. My list of authors and books to check out has now grown after finishing this anthology. Which goes to saying that I am not that familiar with the world of Joe Ledger. Yet, after getting to know him some being featured in so many stories, I want to familiarize myself better with Ledger.
I am excited to see two of my favorite authors featured in this anthology...Mr. Scott Sigler and Mr. Jeremy Robinson. Both great and amazing authors. If you have never read either of their work, you have to check them out. I was not disappointed in their stories in this anthology. Although, some of my other favorite stories were and not in order: Honey Pot by Steve Alten, Confusion by Nicholas Steven, Target Acquired by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, White Flame on Sunday by James Ray Tuck, Rookie by Joe McKinney, and Crash Course by Dana Fredsti to name a few others.
Hunting monsters is hard work but it can be humorous as well. Fans of Joe Ledger will by thrilled by this anthology. Skip the candy bars and costumes and treat yourself to a copy of this anthology!
This is a good anthology of stories by a wide range of different authors set in Maberry's Joe Ledger/DMS world. There's a nice story by Maberry himself, which serves as a nice homage to the old film Invaders From Mars. I particularly liked the ones by Joe McKinney, Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, and Dana Fredsti. Ghost is the main character in a story by co-editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt with G. P. Charles, and surprisingly Joe himself doesn't appear in my favorite stories, those by Keith R.A. DeCandido, Mira Grant, and especially Jennifer Campbell Hicks. I'd recommend reading Patient Zero, at least, before tackling this one to have a better idea of what's going on, but it's definitely a good volume of high-energy adventures.
It's always interesting seeing how other writers treat a series and the characters in it. Nice short story collection where not only the main but many of the supporting characters get a look at by these other writers. Nice read. Recommended
*3 and a half stars* I enjoyed a few of these stories, but not all. I've read the entire Joe Ledger series, and most of the short stories he's appeared in. In my opinion, a lot of the authors didn't quite get the characters they were writing. But that's just my opinion. Solid read for Ledger fans.
- Narration: Ray Porter was great! He managed to make all of the stories sound like they were a part of the series. I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed reading the stories and had the same reaction as I had while listening to the audio. - Story rating ranged from 2.5 to 4.5 Stars. Some were better than others. - Atoll: What a tease! That one could be a novella or book based on the plot concept. =)
- The Honey Pot by Steve Alten - Confusion by Nicholas Steven - Target Acquired by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon - Vacation by Scott Sigler - Banshee by James A. Moore - Red Dirt by Mira Grant - Black Water by Weston Ochse - Instinct by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and G.P. Charles - No Guns at the Bar by Aaron Rosenberg - Strange Harvest by Jon McGoran - No Business at All by Javier Grillo-Marxuach - Ganbatte by Keith R.A. DeCandido - White Flame on Sunday by James Ray Tuck - Wet Tuesday by David Farland - Prince of Peace by Jeremy Robinson - Rookie by Joe McKinney - Three Times by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks - Psych Eval by Larry Correia - Crash Course by Dana Fredsti - Atoll by Jonathan Maberry
I'm the perfect audience for a collection like this, since I love the DMS books, but this was a lackluster collection. A few I especially disliked (like Black Water)--and take Black Water for example. As much as I like Joe Ledger, I do dislike his woman-in-refrigerator-back story (traumatized by watching his girlfriend get gang raped by 4 guys and later--although years later, after they are both in therapy with Rudy, so the story doesn't even get timeline correct--discovers her body after she drinks bleach), and it seems like a very easy and cheap cop out, when again several of the stories mention other high school girlfriends. The story on this part of his life felt silly and exploitative.
Best of the whole bunch was Mira Grant's Red Dirt, on what happens after a pallet of the Jacobi poisoned water gets out. But too many of the stories were other authors fumbling trying to write Joe Ledger. It would have been much better if many had stuck instead to the other (MANY and interesting) characters' POV instead.
I didn't realize this book was an anthology with short stories when I picked it up from the library. What makes it different from so many is that other authors wrote the stories and I'm amazed that I couldn't tell a difference. While most of the stories revolved around Joe, there were others with his team and even one with Ghost. All in all this is a great addition to the series.
An anthology of new stories by top authors set in the New York Times Bestselling universe of Maberry's Joe Ledger military fantasy horror thriller series about government agents fighting zombies, plagues, and other supernatural terrors.
As I listened to the audio book edition, Ray Porter's familiar voice narrating Joe's thoughts made it easier for me to accept the various short stories by other authors. Some were more successful than others in emulating Joe's (and other agent's) thoughts making it a seamless transition to the world created by Maberry. Win-win! ⭐⭐ are the stand out stories.
Foreword by Tony Eldridge - 4⭐ Pretty illuminating foreward by a producer who is, admittedly, keen on adapting the Joe Ledger series. IMO this would actually find an audience, easily.
Introduction by Jonathan Maberry - 5⭐ It's rare when an author tells you he "hears the voices" of the character in his head, and that's how the series came into being. Very revealing and inspirational
The Honey Pot by Steve Alten - 4⭐ Ledger wakes up in a hotel in bed with a dead woman in a compromising position.
Confusion by Nicholas Steven - 5⭐ Following Patient Zero, this sequel to Deep, Dark sees Ledger, Top and Bunny visiting an underground bunker only to discover the brother of the scientist from Deep, Dark has trapped them in a labyrinth filled with more scientifically engineered terrors including these two famous movie monsters!
Target Acquired by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon - 5⭐ After losing a loved one in a hospital bombing at the start of The King of Plagues, an assassin is convinced by some unknown agency that Joe Ledger is to blame. Thus begins a cat and mouse game.
Vacation by Scott Sigler - 5⭐⭐ In this cross over with Sigler's Nocturnal, Joe's San Francisco vacation with Ghost, much needed to recover from events in The Dragon Factory and Dog Days is interrupted by Mr. Church's request for him to deal with ... ORCs?? His contact, "Pookie" Chang, is a motor mouth who can insult people like no other. They meet Ericson, a rich mysterious recluse that may or may not be a genetically gifted vigilante. Fresh, biting insults plus a great bro code made this one of my favorites.
Banshee by James A. Moore - 3½⭐ Joe investigates assassinations of aides to political figures, but the assassin seems to have scales.
Red Dirt by Mira Grant - 4½⭐ In this story with a ton of social commentary about the lack of healthcare for the poor, the team investigates issues with left over water shipments from The Dragon Factory that jeopardizes an entire community.
Black Water by Weston Ochse - 5⭐ Past Joe deals with trauma from the attack on himself and Helen. Big plot twist but this was still very sad even if it was kind of satisfying.
Instinct by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and G.P. Charles - 5⭐⭐ Ghost point of view story set during Assassin's Code but with many flashbacks to previous books. This just shows us why there's such a strong bond between Joe and Ghost, who was rescued from a puppy mill. He's such a good, good boi.
No Guns at the Bar by Aaron Rosenberg - 3½⭐ Top, Bunny and Warbride (Lydia) get a rare night off when an investigation does not pan out. They hit a bar ... where things happen.
Strange Harvest by Jon McGoran - 3⭐ Doyle Carrick from McGoran's Detective Doyle Carrick Series and Joe team up when both meet in a room to locate their respective missing people. Junie asks Joe to find the speaker at an Alien conference, and Doyle's friend is her boyfriend. Their only lead - a fungus that ingests arsenic.
No Business at All by Javier Grillo-Marxuach - 4⭐ Joe is masquerading as a military consultant for an Action movie star who seems ageless and does all his own stunts, in a thinly-veiled parody of an instantly recognizable famous actor. This is pretty funny.
Ganbatte by Keith R.A. DeCandido - 5⭐⭐ Lydia "Warbride" Ruiz returns to Florida where she discovers her friend has fallen into the wrong dojo after her Sensei's dojo closes with his death. This story deals with horrific abuse and yet manages to be a culturally sensitive, nuanced portrayal showing great respect for Japanese culture. Translation: It's not about the result. It's about the effort and not giving up.
White Flame on Sunday by James Ray Tuck - 3⭐ Deacon Chalk from James R. Tuck's Deacon Chalk Occult Bounty Hunter Series discovers an ancient Summerian Blood Cult, where he runs into Joe Ledger. They team up to stop a summoning that will require many human sacrifices.
Wet Tuesday by David Farland - 3½⭐ Remnants from an assassination event when analyzed by the DMS reveal a company's remote driving technology has been re-purposed for terrorism. Joe investigates the company to try track down terrorists.
Prince of Peace by Jeremy Robinson - 5⭐ Jack Sigler, "King" from Jeremy Robinson's Chess Team Adventure Series and Joe Ledger are both lured to ruins by a mastermind who has hidden their friends. The duo of special operatives are a natural team-up, very good story.
Rookie by Joe McKinney - 4⭐ Action packed story preceding Patient Zero. Policeman Joe might be off duty, but the cop in him instinctively knows something is up with unexpected Fed Ex Trucks and an out of place "Grunt Boy" at his usual convenience store.
Three Times by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks - 5⭐⭐ Journalist Emily is saved by "The Major" (Grace) at the Liberty Bell event in Patient Zero, which leads to her spiraling into alcoholism after. A meeting with Grace helps her get her life back on track. Oh man, I didn't expect this. I'm still not over it.
Psych Eval by Larry Correia - 4⭐ Rudy evaluates the sole survivor of a strange massacre. Not gonna lie, I was scared listening to this story.
Crash Course by Dana Fredsti - 3⭐ Ash from Fredsti's Ashley Parker Series and Joe are on an assignment to bring back a very rich man's son from an Island hit with a zombie outbreak. Their relationship starts rocky but they're both professionals. This was a strange but decent pairing, unfortunately the writing was very prosaic.
Atoll by Jonathan Maberry - 5⭐ Joe is taken out of vacation as his crack Echo Team has to investigate an Atoll. Once he sees the satellite imagery of what is there, it's Extinction Machine deja vu, basically "Oh no, not THEM again. Then all hell breaks loose with weird stuff galore! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
Loved it! Author and publisher approved fan fic. A fun read from beginning to end. Introduced to a host of new authors I must now seek out. I especially liked Black Water and Instinct. One of the reasons I love Joe Ledger is the alternating POV and time slips. This fills that in with new POV from the same characters we know and love. Fun romps with hero's from other series, perfectly executed. Quick introduction, immediate trust, equal, but different supplemental skills.
Some hits, some misses but overall a great collection of Joe Ledger (and other members of the DMS) stories. Psych Eval by Larry Correia, Prince of Peace by Jeremy Robinson, & The Honey Pot by Steve Alten are all standouts as well as Atoll by Jonathan Maberry ('natch) but some of the stories, particularly the ones that involve other authors mainstay characters, mostly miss the mark overall.
Worth a read for fans of the DMS (or Rogue Nation) and JM's Joe Ledger stories.
For fans of the series, worthwhile for numerous authors providing not only their perspectives but also the POVs of characters we don't usually hear from, including the dog, all admirably narrated by Ray Porter.
Tended to like the stories that weren't from Joe's point of view better than others. Only Maberry can write Joe, in my opinion. Liked all the stories, but some a lot better than others. One of my faves was Dana Fredsti's story, where Joe met Ashley Parker. Other faves (besides Maberry's story) were by authors Bryan Thomas Schmidt & G.P. Charles, Aaron Rosenberg, Jon McGoran, Keith R.A. DeCandido, James R. Tuck, Jeremy Robinson, and Jennifer Campbell-Hicks. Found a couple of new authors to give a try; Thanks, Jonathan!
An interesting attempt but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The different perspectives just add no additional value to Joe and some stories are total tangents. The only ones which make sense are the crossover stories. Avoid if you are a hardcore JL fan and even more so if you are not.
This is a collection of short stories set in the world of Joe Ledger, a creation of Jonathan Maberry. For those who don't know Johnathan Maberry is a cop who was recruited by a secret government organization. His new job is to help fight threats that come up from science. His job interview was to kill a terrorist that he had already killed once...yes zombie. Not all of the stories are zombies but all contain products of science gone awry. A word of warning, if you have not read the first of his three novels you should not read these short stories as they contain spoilers about events in them.
The Honey Pot by Steve Alten (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_A...) No not Steve Alten!!! He has written some of the worst books I have ever reviewed (The Meg Series and Domain Trilogy). I was really worried going into this one. But overall it wasn't as bad as I was worried. One of the books I read from this guy, well I tried I never finished it, was about how 9/11 was planned by America. The MacGuffin in this story is the result of another far paranoid conspiracy, that there is an energy source that can get automobiles 1000's of miles per gallon but the big oil companies are keeping it hidden. (By the way, why would the automobile manufacturers agree to this. Do you know how many of a car a manufacturer would sell if it got 500 miles per gallon?)
Confusion by Nicholas Steven I do not have a Wikipedia or an artist page for this writer because it is the pen name of an author. The book states that he will be releasing a new novel under this name, but so far nothing. A decently entertaining story that is a sequel to one of Jonathan Maberry's short story. The first contained roach human hybrids. This one has wasp humans, butterfly humans, and minotaurs.
Target Acquired by Christopher Golden (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christo...) and Tim Lebbon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Lebbon) Lesbian Assassin!!! Someone frames Joe for the death of a hit woman's girlfriend. She carefully stalks him to learn his route thinking she is going to avenge her lover and stop a terrorist. Unfortunately, Ledger tips off to her and manages to sneak up on her during one of her stalks. Once he realizes she is after him for a crime he stopped he gives her the choice to kill him or maybe get some answers. This story I wished was cannon so that there would be a further mention of how it turned out.
Vacation by Scott Sigler (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_S...) I liked Scott Sigler's novel Nocturnal if you haven't read it check out his site you can get the podcast version for free. This story takes place a few years after the conclusion of the novel and it was nice to see what some of the characters were up to. And he did a good job of balancing his protagonist, who is superhuman in ability, with Joe Ledger who is baseline human.
Banshee by James A. Moore (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_A...) This one read a lot like one of Ledger's novels as far as the use of science. A hit woman has designed a suit that makes her virtually invisible and able to walk through walls. With just a touch she is able to liquefy the insides of someone. Joe must fight an enemy he can not shoot and whose touch is deadly.
Red Dirt by Mira Grant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seanan_...) I love Mira Grant, her Deadline series is great so I am happy to see her contributing to short story collections. In one of the previous novels for Ledger, a group had planned on weeding out the weaker specimens in humanity by putting a scientifically tailored organism into bottles of water. It would cause anyone with a recessive gene of deadly genetic traits to spontaneously get the disease. Some of the water ended up sitting in a warehouse. One day one of the employees of the warehouse steals the water and donates it to his church, as it is well past the date they were supposed to be picked up. The members of the church start to die. There is no miraculous save in this one. It's a sad thoughtful read. Joe Ledger does not appear in this one.
Black Water by Weston Ochse (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston_...) A story of Joe as a teenager. He finds that the spot he used to go with his girlfriend has turned into a polluted pond and decides to see if he can stop it. Also, he is spending his nights trying to find targets for his rage over the rape and death of his girlfriend. A nice twist at the end.
Instinct (A Ghost Story) by Bryan Thomas Schmidt (http://bryanthomasschmidt.net/) and G.P. Charles (http://www.gpcharles.com/) This is not a ghost story as far as talking about spirits. It is instead about Joe Ledger's dog, "Ghost." At first, I was disappointed when I saw this, thinking that a supernatural story would be more interesting, but a reading of one of Joe's adventures from the dog's point of view makes it a good story. And doggies!!!!
No Guns at the Bar by Aaron Rosenberg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_S...) Another story that does not include Joe Ledger, but instead some of his supporting cast. After a tactical strike turns to a bust three of team Echo decide to stop at a bar on the way home and let off some steam. Their break is interrupted as they start to notice people watching. Then all three of them notice that their guns are gone. The people who are watching them approach and it is revealed that they are part of a clandestine group that Echo has been hunting. They use science for world domination and used teleporters, microrobots, and metal dissolving guns to track down Echo, surprise them, and render them weaponless. But despite not having weapons the team shows that Echo is more than guns. One question I have that was left open in this is how that at the end of the story the team drives off. However, if they no longer had metal on them how did they start their cars?
Strange Harvest by Jon McGoran (http://www.jonmcgoran.com/) A crossover with Ian McGoran's detective Doyle Carrick, the story involves both of them running into each other while searching for missing people who are friends of friends of each other. Eventually, they track down the disappearance to a trip the two took to the woods where they found a strange fungus. Tracking down a scientist that the two missing people had visited Joe and Doyle find that there is a possibility that the fungus is of extraterrestrial origin. One clue leads to another until the two find themselves in a building full of weird acting, eerily similar guards. They find their friends and get free. Plans are made to follow up on the company behind the building but within a matter of minutes, all traces of the company disappear offline and all personal vanish. The story ends at a point where either one of the characters could pick it up for another novel, but it was one of the weaker stories in my opinion.
No Business at All by Javier Grillo-Marxuach (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Javier_...) A movie is being filmed and there are some striking coincidences between its plots and elements and that of the DMS that Joe works for. He is given a cover to go into the film set as a technical adviser on the military special forces. Not long after arriving it becomes obvious to Joe that the coincidences are just that. However, while on the set he witnesses the star of the movie take a terrible tumble off of a motorcycle resulting in a compound fracture. Yet hours later when he is introduced to the star he has not a scratch on him. Looking further into it he soon discovers that the star is using banned Chinese technology to keep himself young and healthy. The technology is banned because to be used it has to drain the blood of a healthy person. In this case, a crew member who accidentally spilled oil that caused the motorcycle wreck. Joe leaves Hollywood after a series of horrible "accidents" that kill the star and his entourage, content that even if he could not save the crew member she was avenged.
Ganbatte by Keith R. A. DeCandido (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_D...) This is a story that focuses on Lydia Ruiz a member of Team Echo taking a short vacation. She returns to the Florida Keys and the town she grew up. The story reviews her past and the events that made her go from a potential juvenile delinquent into a bad ass special forces operator. It is intercut with the current predicament of her former mentor who is dealing with sexual harassment and worse to keep a job. Lydia uses her special forces training to help her mentor get back up and running.
White Flame on a Sunday by James R. Tuck (http://www.jamesrtuck.com/) A team-up between Joe and James Tuck's Deacon Chalk, a man who specializes in occult practices in Atlanta. The two of them independently come upon a cult that is trying to resurrect a long-dead elephant god. A bad thing as the prophecy of this god is that it will trample the world flat in its wake. A lot of shooting and manly men doing manly things later the cult is dead and the two men are strong allies.
Wet Tuesday by David Farland (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Wo...) A pretty standard plot of middle eastern terrorists planning on a series of car bombs in London. But this being a Joe Ledger novel there is a lot of science fiction going on here. The bombers rather than using suicide drivers have stolen a program made to allow self-driving cars make life easier for the blind and others unable to drive. Joe tracks down the maker of the program and is readily convinced that while she made the program she did it for good and that it is used to deliver bombs is not part of her plans. He tries to warn her that this is happening but she is so shocked that someone would use her invention for this purpose she ignores him and walks back into her office to be blown up. Joe uses fly cameras, literally cameras shaped like flies to track down the terrorists and sends a few laser-guided bombs their way. Happy that he has done his job but also a bit more wise to the fact that there might be some people too innocent for this world.
Prince of Peace by Jeremy Robinson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_...) Another story where Joe works with an existing character of another author. In this case, it is Jack Sigler written by Jeremy Robinson. Of the crossover stories, this one was the best. Both of them are lured into a trap when they are looking for friends who have gone missing. The story has a good take on the villain monologue where he confronts them and starts to tell them what he wants them to do, fight each other to the death with the winner becoming a member of the group Prince of Peace. Before he can get more than 10 words out both of the protagonists attack him. From there the man administering the test watches as all his plans go to pieces as he can't even tell the two the rules of the fight. Along the way, the heroes learn that the Prince of Peace is a group of people who are texted a name of a target. A few bits of information of the target is included and a planned action, such as kidnapping, assassination, etc. They all vote on what should happen to the target, with the ultimate goal being that this group will eventually turn the course of humanity to good by eliminating the bad with group consensus. After a lot of close calls, they find themselves across the field from the member of the group administrating their test. He has the two friends tied up and despite his words, both men know that there is no way to save their friend. Instead of playing this game they both shoot him as he tries to escape a fire he set to kill their friends. They are sad to find the corpses of their friends, but sadder still when they find their cellphones and each of them has been texted a request for an answer to a plan of action. Killing the man opened up an opening in the group and now both of them are part of it whether they want to be or not.
Rookie by Joe McKinney (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_McK...) A story that takes place before the events of the novels it tells of a time that Joe unwittingly brushed shoulders with the group he would eventually join, bringing him to their attention. While a rookie cop Joe is on a break inside a small bodega. A man walks into the bodega and by his manner and bearing it is obvious that the man is part of some kind of military special forces and he is in some type of trouble. Joe confronts the man in the back of the bodega and they both fight each other to a stalemate. Before this can be broken a group of armed military men comes storming into the store. While this man has fought Joe, Joe notes that despite having a gun he never tried to use it and most of his fighting was to take Joe out of the picture rather than kill him. The new members, however, immediately open fire on Joe despite his cop uniform. Joe and the stranger fight off the group of infiltrators despite being outgunned. Eventually, the cavalry arrives and Joe is surprised that he recognizes at least one of them from his previous military experience. He is left wondering what he was involved in while the DMS agents start to look into his background to see if he might be good for them.
Three Times by Jennifer Campbell-Nicks (http://jennifercampbellhicks.blogspot...) Massive spoiler if you have not read the first three novels. This story covers the effects of the events of the second and third novel on a reporter named Emily Grant. In particular, it has to do with how she deals with being saved from certain death by a mysterious military liaison named Major Grace. Her handling of the PTSD that comes as a result of the incident and finally how she comes to terms with the death of Major Grace, which happens in the third novel.
Psych Eval by Larry Correia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_C...) Starring Joe's best friend Dr. Rudy Sanchez, he is put in charge of interrogating the only survivor of a strike team that was sent into Mexico to bring down a drug lord. The scene of the team's last stand has information that makes no sense and there are signs of strange behavior such as cannibalism performed by the team. Rudy's job is to find out what happened to the team and if the lone survivor, Olivia Carter, had part of their deaths. There is additional pressure put on Rudy as he is told that a specialist has been sent for and if Rudy can't get the answers and determine Olivia's innocence the specialist will handle it. Rudy starts to get part of her story but soon the interview turns weird as Olivia starts to talk about an ancient god that has been raised. Finally during a break that Rudy takes the lights of the building go off and when the lights come back on Olivia is gone. Rudy then learns that the specialist that was on the way was not an enhanced interrogator as she suspected but instead a priest who specializes in exorcisms.
Crash Course by Dana Fredsti (http://danafredsti.com/) The last of the crossovers it deals with Joe in the alternate near-future world of Ashley, a creation of Dana Fredsti. The son of a high ranking politician disappears on an island that has been overrun by a zombie infestation that is part of the world of Dana's novels. The echo team is sent in along with expert Ashley, a woman who has learned the hard way that she is immune to the virus. Both she and Joe are shanghaied from their plane and are dropped off in a remote spot of the island by parachute. It soon becomes obvious that they are being put through a game quite similar to a role-playing game. And with the discovery of cameras, they realize that they have been brought in as entertainment for someone. Fighting across the island they eventually find the missing teen and determine he is the one hosting the games. He is selling the footage of the games for money. Because he is the relative of someone with a lot of pull Joe cannot do what he would normally do with someone like this, kill them badly, but this does not prevent Ashley from beating him unconscious before trussing him up for delivery to his father.
Atoll by Jonathan Maberry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonatha...) A story that is canon for the series. Dealing with aliens that were discovered in the fourth novel, I believe, it is a weird time-traveling tale where the time traveling may have been more of a bending of reality. Joe is sent to an island where a few ships have disappeared and where right before cutting out satellite cameras grabbed a glimpse of a familiar triangle shaped flying vehicle. Upon arriving Joe is eventually captured and finds himself being mind controlled along with other people who have visited the island for hundreds of years. Their job is to repair the crashed plane, but this adventure does include Joe killing Nazis!
By and large, this is an outstanding achievement by the writers who contributed. I was on the edge of my seat throughout. The writers really did a great job working with the DMS characters that we all know, keeping them true to canon while giving fresh looks into their lives.
We don't just wander with Joe Ledger, either. We get a great chicks-kick-butt story with Lydia and a fun story about off-time with Top, Bunny, and Lydia.
We also get a story in Joe Ledger's days as a uniformed police officer. That was a really exciting and fun one.
Then there are the stories told from the point of view of people traveling with Ledger, and I found the external view of him fun to experience.
I thought that the tie-ins to other universes risked cheesiness, but that was not at all the case. The tie-ins were very well done, introducing me to some characters that I may find the books for and listen to.
And the last story written by Jonathan Maberry himself... WOW! Freaking outstanding.
I did, however, have two stories to gripe about.
My top two favorite authors are Jonathan Maberry (Ledger) and Larry Correia (MHI and Grimnoir). I finally got to the Larry Correia's story with great anticipation. And I was kind of let down. The story was told in vivid detail with fascinating concepts. But in the end, it just kind of went nowhere and fizzled out right when it could have become really gripping.
The other is about a reporter who is supposed to be super virtuous. It's written by a former reporter, and is an obvious attempt to show that reporters and their editors aren't monsters willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to create chaos they can sensationalize to promote their careers. Having seen how reporters operate on several tense occasions first hand, I found the story to be a transparent, self-serving, and insulting.
Other than those two stories, I absolutely loved the rest of the anthology and will be giving it a second go-around.
To be fair I confess I’m crazy about the Joe Ledger series and I love, love, love Ray Porter as a narrator, so you can probably guess I enjoyed most of the short stories in the Ledger universe—true. All the stories gave me insights into the personalities I look forward to following most and I was happy to see that all the characters remained spot on to their Maberry-written-originals. Dr. Hu didn’t suddenly volunteer at the local soup kitchen and Church didn’t reveal a secret past as a stand-up comedian.
One minor disappointment was Joe didn’t get to meet Agent Franks. I’d love to see a Ledger-Franks smackdown.
My favorite story was Red Dirt. Although the story didn’t have any fighting, it had a lot of heart. I connected with Katherine, the down-home-girl who became a doctor to help her community. Next, I loved that Ruddy Sanchez got the chance to play team leader. Usually, he’s the guy who stays at the base camp waiting to put mental band-aids on the trauma victims or counseling the returning warriors after mission. This time he, Circe, Top and Bunny investigate a mysterious disease that mimics Adult Onset Galactosemia, a disease I didn’t know anything about before this tale. Other highlights for me were Black Water, a sad, sort-of ghost story which involves Joe as a teenager and Banshee had a super suit which would give Antman’s a run for its money.
If you like Acts of Valor meets X-File tales, you’ll enjoy these stories.
"The captain of the destroyer was a friend of a friend, but that didn't make him a friend of mine. In fact, he was pretty frigging unhappy to have me and my team delivered like an unwanted pizza onto his aft deck in the middle of a bad night. The fact that we were pretty damned unhappy to be there made it a real party." -- Atoll by Jonathan Maberry
Thoroughly enjoyed this short story collection starring Joe Ledger and the supporting cast of the DMS. Red Dirt by Mira Grant was a pleasant surprise -- huge fan of hers since reading her Newsflesh series. I loved Instinct by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. Written from the point of view of Ledger's dog, Ghost, I thought it was an imaginative take on the whole DMS universe. We should hear from Ghost more often 😉 I think my favourite of the bunch, if I had to pick a favourite, is Three Times by Jennifer Campbell-Nicks. I loved meeting up with Grace again. I miss her!
I will read anything by Jonathan Maberry and am slowly making my way through his massive bibliography. Joe Ledger is always good for an entertaining, funny, action-packed read that ALWAYS blows my mind in some way by making me think about things I never thought about before.
it's hard to rate this group of short stories, since they are very, very different from each other. Several lesser known (by the mainstream) authors write stories with Joe Ledger in them, often having the Cowboy meet characters from their own book series.
Most of these are decent and only one or two made me wish I was reading the print version so I could skip them easier.
The audio is the same wonderful talent that reads the regular Joe Ledger series, so that was a HUGE plus for me.
I don't know if any of these would be "canon." At least one of them is from a reality where the zombie apocalypse already happened.
I would have been way more excited to get this book if I was reading the series when it came out, and didn't have the newer books that come after this ahead of me.
It was weird getting stories with characters that are dead now, and hearing Ledger use metric instead of American measurements in a few stories.
Hit or miss. You could skip this one if you want to save the time.
I'm being honest here, I'm totally in the tank for Joe Ledger, ever since picking up Patient Zero on a whim. Now the Ledgerverse has company. Many short story collections, even those by Maberry, are charitably uneven, this is not. From stem to stern it's as solid a collection of writing as I've had the pleasure of reading. Perhaps my glasses are a bit rose colored, but hey, it's my rating.
The other joyful part of this is that not all the stories start Joe. I know, right? But the other members that world are just as interesting as our erstwhile hero. One of my faves is with Rudy, Top & Bunny head to Alabama for a strange happening; those guys rock, and no one was shot. Joe also meets some other established characters from other 'verses of their own, and gets along smashingly.
I hope we have more this type of thing coming around again.
Foreward by Tony Eldridge Introduction: The World of Joe Ledger by Jonathan Maberry The Honey Pot by Steve Alten Confusion by Nicholas Steven Target Acquired by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon Vacation by Scott Sigler Banshee by James A. Moore Red Dirt by Mira Grant Black Water by Weston Ochse Instinct (A Ghost Story) by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and G.P. Charles No Guns at the Bar by Aaron Rosenberg Strange Harvest by Jon McGoran No Business at All by Javier Grillo-Marxuach Ganbatte by Keith R.A. DeCandido White Flame ona Sunday by James R. Tuck Wet Tuesday by David Farland Prince of Peace by Jeremy Robinson Rookie by Joe McKinney Three Times by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks Psych Eval by Larry Correia Crash Course by Dana Fredsti Atoll by Jonathan Maberry
I LOVE JOE LEDGER!! This was just as good as I have come to expect from Jonathan Maberry - and he didn't write most of the anthologies in this book. Different stories by different authors showing different sides of Joe Ledger's world. One even focuses on Grace Cortland (yep, I want to be her when I grow up. Still mad that she was killed off.)
Once again Ray Porter dilivers a spot on voice of all the great Ledger series characters. There was only one story that I was not that fond of - the story of Ghost. It kind of wasn't the way I see Ghost, so maybe that had something to do with it. Over all I really enjoyed the book and await even more from the great Jonathan Maberry and the Joe Ledger series.
Always thoroughly enjoy stories in the Joe Ledger universe, and was looking forward to seeing interpretations from other authors. There was only one story in the group that I truly disliked, and that was more for the "style" it was written in than the story, because the story was good, but the tone and everything else was very much not Joe Ledger. Standouts for me were White Flame by James Tuck, Crash Course by Dana Fredsti, of course Atoll by Jonathan Maberry, and the best one I read, Psych Eval by Larry Correia. That one was awesome and I really want more of that story line. Also, really wish Scott Siglers story had been longer as I really want more of Brian and Pookie, and to mix in Joe would be awesome in a much longer story.
5 stars: They Honey Pot - Steve Alten Red Dirt - Mira Grant Black Water - Weston Ochse No Guns at the Bar - Aaron Rosenberg Strange Harvest - Jon McGoran Prince of Peace - Jeremy Robinson Atoll - Jonathan Maberry
4 stars: Target Acquired - Christopher Golden and Tim Lennon Instinct - Brian Thomas Schmidt and G.P. Charles Wet Tuesday - David Farland Rookie - Joe McKinney Psych Eval - Larry Correia Crash Course - Dana Fredsti
2.5- 3 stars: Confusion - Nicholas Steven (DNF’d) Vacation - Scott Sigler Banshee- James A. Moore No Business at All - Javier Grillo-Marcuach Ganbatte - Keith R. A. DeCandido White Flame on a Sunday - James R. Tuck Three Times - Jennifer Campbell-Hicks
“The first time, you saved my life. The second time, you saved my sanity. The third time, you saved the world."
Joe is one of those characters that I'd really like to meet. However, since meeting him would most likely mean that the world is about to end, I'll settle for just reading about him every once in a while.
Oh, and the story Three Times by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks? It made me realize how angry I still am with Maberry for . Such a shame.
The last Joe ledger novel I read was Predator One (book six). According to one of the shorts in this collection, this anthology is best read after reading Kill Switch (book seven). I enjoy anthologies very much but this is the second one I've read recently that has been a letdown. These stories contain too much repeating of backstory and character nuances from previous novels. Not a single story captured my interest and the story from ghosts perspective was utterly ridiculous. I would not recommend this anthology to fans of the Joe Ledger series since it dilutes the greatness of the author's original novels.
I am a *HUGE* Joe Ledger fan, but was concerned that there would be a loss of continuity or conflicts of canon in an anthology. I'm pleased to say that my concerns were unfounded (mostly... Mr. Church eating the filing out of an Oreo?)
These stories could be read stand alone as an intro to the Ledger series as well as in addition. They are very well done and serve as an introduction to a long list of great authors.
The absolute best part of the book was the introduction where the intent for a Joe Ledger movie is announced!