Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Quickish Read: "Code Zero" by Jonathan Maberry

Quickish Read: Code Zero by Jonathan Maberry, 2014, 9781250033437.

Another in the Joe Ledger shoot-em-up series.  Maberry brings back some evil science but with a new villain.

A recap: Ledger was a Baltimore cop recruited by the Department of Military Sciences (DMS).  The DMS is ultra-secretive and run by the mysterious Mr. Church who has influence throughout the government and several private industries. The DMS recruits the smartest scientists and best soldiers and cops to fight sci-fi grade threats from evil scientists, North Korean spies, and scheming politicians and billionaires.  The DMS's main tool is the MindReader computer system that can defeat any software protection and cover all traces of its presence.  MindReader both protects super secret information and searches out patterns and data to reveal bad guys.

Artemisia Bliss was a genius level scientist who started stealing secrets, was arrested, tried, convicted, and murdered in jail.  Except the murder was faked and Bliss has spent two years building the persona of Mother Night and gathering a wide group of disaffected computer and gaming geeks to be her violent minions.  Bliss stole the science for a zombie virus, genetic mutations, and other biological weapons that Maberry had in previous Leger novels.

Ledger and co. are spread thin as Bliss's followers set off pressure cooker bombs, release plague diseases and cause general mayhem.  But, what is Bliss's motivation?  And how can DMS stop her when Bliss stole the predecessor to MindReader and has built her own updated version?  Lots of shooting ensues.  Lots of death ensues.  Lots of drama ensues. Some sex ensues.  Ledger gets mopey.  Ledger emotes on his stress and lovey-dover for his girlfriend.

1. Fun stuff and Maberry packs a lot of action and intrigue into the book.  He had to.  He took 470 pages to tell the damn story.
2.  Not a good starting point within the series.  A new reader is better off starting with an earlier book. I was thinking some characters were too rapidly introduced.
3. Plenty of pop culture and gaming references. I had no idea what computer games they were referring to but it did not matter.
4.  Lots of short chapters.  I've heard one or two audio versions from this series and the narrator really chews up the dialogue and description and makes for a good listen.

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