Julie Davis's Reviews > Assassin's Code

Assassin's Code by Jonathan Maberry
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's review
Apr 17, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 17 to June 23, 2012

In my trade, confidence is built on a platform whose legs are made up of good intelligence, continuous training, proper equipment, and field support. I had a sick dog, a dead man’s gun, a stolen briefcase, a vampire hunter’s stake in my belt, and a cell phone…

Joe’s dealt with zombies, the island of Dr. Moreau, and the Seven Plagues of Egypt. Surely nothing can surprise him now. At least that’s what he thinks.

After rescuing American college students held hostage in Iran, Joe is contacted with the alarming news that the Iranians want his help in locating six stolen nuclear bombs. Nukes are soon the least of Joe’s problems when he’s attacked by super-powered killers who are probably genetically engineered and may actually be unbeatable. Certainly, it’s the first time he’s been told to “run away” when he calls Mr. Church for orders. The mysterious assassin Violin, with her mommy issues, adds an intriguing element that I liked, although her name made me snicker. Whose side is she really on? Toss in the mysterious Book of Shadows together with an age-old Holy Inquisition* that’s gone off the rails and you’ve got a fast-paced thriller with the usual slight touch of science needed to make us wonder “could it happen…” As usual Joe is sarcastic but has the heart of a warrior so he never quits.

As always, Ray Porter IS Joe Ledger. As I’ve said before, his narration is the reason I wait for the audio books instead of snapping up the printed versions. He’s got a direct, blunt delivery that can go from sarcastic to heart-felt to outraged in 60 seconds. Believably. That’s good because sometimes that’s the way Joe’s day goes.

The fourth entry to the Joe Ledger series piles surprise upon surprise until there are so many moving parts you need a score card to keep up. That’s ok. The ride is most of the fun anyway. It was refreshing to see Echo Team on an assignment that didn’t involve anything supernatural or genetically engineered. It also explained why Joe is sometimes incredulous about the strange situations in which he becomes embroiled. He’s so deep into rescuing college kids that he just plain forgets about his first zombie killing assignment.

Yeah right.

That excuse doesn’t really work for the many times that people who should know better protest, “What? Supernatural? That’s just crazy!” That really is the weakest part of these stories. Shouldn’t Echo Team be surprised if there isn’t a monster or super-villain somewhere in the shadows?

This was a return to the Joe Ledger adventure style of the first book in a way, which I liked very much. It also satisfactorily tied up some loose ends that had been accumulating through the last book or two. Highly recommended for those who enjoyed the previous books.

NOTE: This book was originally reviewed for SFFaudio.

* Catholics needn’t worry. Maberry plays fast and loose with elements but he’s generally respectful of religions. Any Catholics involved in this were lied to, folks. Lied to!
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Reading Progress

04/18/2012 page 40
9.0% "I already am enjoying this much more than the beginning of the previous two books. It feels more like the sort of story telling that was in the first two Joe Ledger novels. Also, it's interesting watching Echo Team pull off an op that is normal (with no genetic engineered monsters, etc. but just real people involved). Liking this very much."
04/20/2012 page 112
26.0% "The author mentioned to me that the cover didn't feature a ninja. So I began thinking about monsters (not that ninjas are monsters, I know) not featured yet ... like mummies or vampires. Wouldn't you know it, the very first few words of a certain character, I thought, "Vampire?" Now that's a good narrator! And Fr. Nostradamus and the Inquisition ... I'm enjoying this a great deal so far."
04/30/2012 page 140
32.0% "Back to listening to this and have to admit that I am simply fascinated by what the author is doing with Toys and his conscience."
05/01/2012 page 167
39.0% "In which we finally see Mr. Church freak out. Granted it's a small freak out, but Joe Ledger fans will know that Mr. Church is unflappable. About everything. So ... instead of arguing about how tough you are Joe, why don't you just up and freaking run when he tells you to? Hmmm? Oh, right. More brawn than brains. Got it."
06/21/2012 page 324
75.0% "Vampires, Hugo Vox, and being stranded in the Middle East. Oh Joe Ledger ... is this one going to be too hard for you? I am beginning to wonder."
06/22/2012 page 368
85.0% "Genetics, nukes, and .... wait for it ... chaos. Sound familiar? It should -- Joe's in town. And it's getting HOT."
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