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Patient Zero

(Joe Ledger #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  28,977 ratings  ·  2,127 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)
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Verusex No really a zombie book, more like a Jack Reacher SiFi. Author respects the science and plot is logical. Reader is the best. Can't compare to zombie b…moreNo really a zombie book, more like a Jack Reacher SiFi. Author respects the science and plot is logical. Reader is the best. Can't compare to zombie books because I don't read them. Quite well written thriller. (less)
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 likab…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)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  28,977 ratings  ·  2,127 reviews

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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
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe Ledger is a Baltimore cop who takes his job very seriously. He kills a guy during a raid and the last thing he expects is to have to kill him a second time that day, when the dude somehow reanimates as a Zombie! But zombies aren't real, right? Well, apparently they are and someone is using a pathogen to induce the condition and use it as a weapon against the general public in the USA. There are some religious fanatics, some of those for whom money is their G-d, and some political fiends thro ...more
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.
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!*
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
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
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
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 (kitchandpages)
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). ...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
Bark  |  Ladies Of Horror Fiction
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
Kenneth McKinley
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-kindle, horror
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
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
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
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
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, zombies
Joe Ledger is the James Bond of zombie slayers. This was book was well paced, action packed, and sometimes funny (view spoiler)- in short, this was an entertaining action movie of a book!["br"]>
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020, audio
Patient Zero is the first book in the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Mayberry. Joe Ledger is a Baltimore Detective who gets recruited by a secret government agency to head up a special task force created to deal with problems that Homeland Security can't handle. The team's first mission is to stop a group of terrorists from releasing a bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies and save the world.

Apparently reading a book about terrorists creating a zombie plague during a real pandemic
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
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
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!
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
Sci-Fi & Scary
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
The Crimson Fucker
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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. ...more
Zombies Are Real!

Somebody is plotting an apocalypse! Terrorist are attacking the world! They have created a virus that kills and then reanimate the dead!

The zombies are violent and hungry for human flesh!

Here comes Joe Ledger of the DMS ( Department of Military Science). He and his team are on it. They have the guts to fight the walking dead and kill them and the terrorists!

Will they succeed? Will they stop the apocalypse? Or will they fail in their mission? Read this book and find out.
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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 &

Other books in the series

Joe Ledger (1 - 10 of 11 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)
  • Fantastic Hope

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“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.”
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