Patient Zero follows Joe Ledger, a hard, no-nonsense cop in Boston who is facing a hearing because of the his fatal shooting of a suspect – Joe isn’t worried, though. The hearing is merely for show since his actions were legal in every way, but the motions need to be gone through to satisfy those that need satisfying. Joe, however, is waylaid by two burly ear-piece-wearing men in suits, who take him to see a ‘Mr. Church’, and it’s from that moment on that Joe’s life spirals out of true… You see, Joe once again comes up against the same guy, a Middle Eastern terrorist, that he shot and killed earlier… But he’s dead, isn’t he? Well, dead he may be, but he’s also hungry, his skin is a bit on the grey side, and he snarls a lot… And now Joe has to contend with the fact that suicide bombers are going out of style and a new kind of bio-terrorism is being born…
Welcome to 21st Century zombies – and trust me on this one, you haven’t ever seen zombies like these before!
I’m not going any deeper into the plot – What I’ve told you is (as far as I remember) the first four or five pages of the book, and if that already sounds cool, then preare yourself – Jonathan Maberry is going to knock your socks off with what else happens in the book!
Not only are the action sequences incredible, fast-paced, hard-hitting and violent (think the Punisher crossed with Christian Bale’s moves in Equilibrium and spiced with the tech-angle of Mission Impossible), they are also personal; we are in the thick of it, seeing and experiencing everything through Joe Ledger’s eyes and other senses. Jonathan uses all the senses, mind you, which is one of the aspects that makes a novel incredible – you can practically smell the gunsmoke, feels the line in the air that a passing bullet has created, feel the deep, twisted revulsion when a two-legged once-human thing comes sprinting at you, taste the blood in your mouth and the bile, too, hear the percussion of charges being set off to open doors, the sloshing of sewer-pipe water… Jonathan totally immerses you, the reader, into the story, and here is a warning: if you’re a smoker (like me), have a few boxes handy, because you will finish them all! If you’re a coffee-drinker (like me), keep that kettle boiling! And if you have a job (like me, and almost everyone who reads this blog), then get ready to have some very late evenings!
Another awesome angle of this story is the science; Jonathan does what (in my opinion) only Michael Crichton has been doing, and doing well – he uses science that we know about (even though our brightest minds don’t completely understand that science), science that is real today, to shine a light on how, perhaps, becoming a zombie would be possible. The ideas Jonathan brings forth are pretty damn cool, educating us as well as intruiging us, and he has the characters themselves explain the science. This is one of those rare (like I said, Michael Crichton) books that is highly entertaining, educational, and an absolute thrill to enjoy.
Oh, and beware of the sting, the twist, at the end – not one but two “Holy SHIT!” moments are waiting for you to enjoy them!
I reccomend this book highly – not only for those zombie-lovers out there (and no, I didn’t mean that in a sick way, c’mon!) but for those who like intense action, characters that come alive and don’t mind getting down to business, and science-lovers who’s minds are ticking over with ideas – just don’t actually go and create a zombie, okay? I like my life.