Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Patient Zero (Joe Ledger, #1)” as Want to Read:
Patient Zero (Joe Ledger, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Patient Zero

(Joe Ledger #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  25,030 ratings  ·  1,990 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 d ...more
Paperback, 421 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Patient Zero, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Eva I enjoyed it quite a bit, although it isn't your cheesy, campy "expected" zombie book. There was a good deal of action in it, the protagonist is…moreI enjoyed it quite a bit, although it isn't your cheesy, campy "expected" zombie book. There was a good deal of action in it, the protagonist is likable, and the villain a bit predictable. If you like a good medical/military/action thriller, you might enjoy this book. Not at all what I was expecting -- it was far better!(less)
World War Z by Max BrooksThe Zombie Survival Guide by Max BrooksThe Walking Dead, Vol. 1 by Robert KirkmanFeed by Mira GrantPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
1,545 books — 4,234 voters
World War Z by Max BrooksZombie Fallout by Mark TufoA Plague Upon Your Family by Mark TufoFeed by Mira GrantThe End by Mark Tufo
Best Zombie Books
1,276 books — 2,932 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  25,030 ratings  ·  1,990 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Listened to this on audio. It took me quite some time but not because of any fault of the book. The narrator, Ray Porter, was excellent and really made the book come to life.

For the book itself, it felt very long. It really isn’t all that long considering it’s 400 pages split up into a hundred plus chapters. I have a feeling if I had read instead of listened it would have been much quicker. I liked the short punchy chapters and the way they were all introduced with a date, time, location stamp.
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
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So...okay, yeah. Ray Porter elevated my enjoyment of this so much that I’m continuing the series this time around!

*Thanks to my local library for the free download. Libraries RULE!*
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 incorporates weapon ...more
Shannon (leaninglights)
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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).
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, horror
I listened to this one on audio and I didn't take notes so this will not be a real review, not that my other reviews are real either, ha. I tried reading another Maberry book called Ghost Road Blues (that sad excuse for a review is here ) and I did not get along with it, its narrator, nor its male characters but so many love this Joe Ledger character that I figured I'd give the author try. And I'm glad I did.

I love this Joe Ledger person. He is crabby and sarcastic and amusing and one hell of a
 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
Aug 01, 2009 added it
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
Ken McKinley
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, own-kindle
My exposure to Jonathan Maberry was reading his wonderful Pine Deep trilogy. So I was looking forward to what I thought was a zombie book and the start of a new series with the novel Patient Zero. The zombie craze has hit full force in the world of horror since the early 2000's (thank you Brian Keen for getting that jump started with The Rising) and I am becoming a big fan. For me, I'm loving the direction that it is going in with The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Land of the Dead, etc. There's s ...more
Cindy Newton
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started off 2018 with a zombie book--The Girl With All the Gifts, and I have now started 2019 on the same note. This is a really good read with lots of action and lots of zombies. Joe Ledger is a fun protagonist with a snarky voice and a badass attitude. The explanation for the zombie plague, how it came about and what it is intended for, is a fairly new and unique one and there is some logic to it. The action is intense and non-stop. This is highly recommended for zombie and action fans! I'm ...more
Sinisa Mikasinovic
“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.”

Story follows a Baltimore detective Joe Ledger.
Seemingly just an ordinary cop living his ordinary police life.

But there's more to Joe than meets the eye.
It's brought to attention of some very powerful people, too.
Especially after a series of unusual events that took place in a very short time.

After one such
Jenny Baker
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the fall of 2017, I met Jonathan Maberry at a small writing conference in Bethesda, Maryland called, "Creatures, Crime, and Creativity". He was such a cool, friendly person that I bought two of his books later that day. This is embarrassing, but I'm just now reading them.

This is the first of the two books that I bought and I loved this from beginning to end. I really thought this was going to be more of a horror novel, but it reads like a police procedural, detective novel that happens to ha
Aug 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mir 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
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
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & 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
Janie Johnson
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Quentin Wallace
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 Crimson Fucker
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 25, 2012 rated it liked it
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!
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
3.5 stars

I decided to read this book because Ray Porter is one of my favorite audio book narrators. And for this story, Mr. Porter gives another great performance. Besides being terrorist themed thriller Patient Zero has a significant horror element to it.

Joe Ledger turns out to be this ultra bad asswho gets unconventionally recruited into the DMS (Department of Military Sciences). DMS is an ultra black ops organization the reports directly to the President. Mr. Church is a mysterious character
Beanbag Love
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
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

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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Plague of the Dead (Morningstar Strain #1)
  • Dying to Live (Dying to Live, #1)
  • Beyond Exile (Day by Day Armageddon,# 2)
  • Eden
  • Siege  (As The World Dies, #3)
  • Dead City (Dead World, #1)
  • The City (Autumn, #2)
  • Domain of the Dead (Domain of the Dead #1)
  • Kings of the Dead
  • The Infection (The Infection, #1)
  • City of the Dead (The Rising #2)
  • The Living Dead 2 (The Living Dead, #2)
  • Rise Again (Rise Again #1)
  • Monster Nation (Monster Island, #2)
  • Twilight of the Dead
  • New Dead: A Zombie Anthology
See similar books…
JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.

He writes in several genres. His young adult fiction includes ROT &a

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)
  • Code Zero (Joe Ledger, #6)
  • Predator One (Joe Ledger, #7)
  • Kill Switch (Joe Ledger, #8)
  • Dogs of War (Joe Ledger, #9)
  • Deep Silence (Joe Ledger #10)
“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.” 139 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…