JOE LEDGER

 
Full Name: Joe Ledger
Nationality: American
Organization: Department of Military Sciences
Occupation Agent

Creator: Jonathan Maberry
Time Span: 2009 - 2016
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Joe Ledger is an agent with the D.M.S.
       The Department of Military Sciences is a fairly new organization created because the existing governmental bureaus were not equipped to handle the kind of situations the ever-inventive scientific community makes possible. Well trained operatives from the FBI are fully qualified to handle crime of all sorts. The CIA handles covert activies world-wide. NSA monitors, well, everyone. And the myriad other departments and agencies all have their own niche expertises.
       None, however, have had to deal with the sort of problems the D.M.S. fight almost on a daily basis. Things which usually, and thankfully, do not ever make the newcasts. Dangers that often were not possible 100 years ago, or 50 or 20 or, as happens more and more in their line of work, sometimes even last year.
       As science evolves ever faster, new potentials constantly come into being and with them new chances for very greedy or very bad people to make the best of them for their own gains. And if a handful, or townful, or countryful of innocents die which some agenda is sought or another billion or two is captured, well, that's progress!
       Joe Ledger is one of the front-line operative fighting those nasty sorts, putting his life on the line and barely surviving over and over because as good as he is, the enemies the D.M.S. goes after are just as good at being bad and there are a whole lot more of them than there are of him.
       Ledger got his start with the D.M.S. while a detective with the Baltimore police. He was made a part of a multi-jurisdictional task force fighting terrorists on the homeland when an altercation with an al-Qaeda ring changed his life forever. They were smuggling something into the country, something secret but sure to be bad for the nation. When the task force raided their operations, most of them fought back and all of them died. Ledger took care of a few himself.
       A few days later he was asked to put handcuffs on a man. This man was one of those he had killed. The man had been really and truly put down. Except through modern science and an especially mad scientist, he got back up again. And he was not in a good mood. Ledger barely survived the reunion and after he permanently ended the man's tirade, he knew he would never be the same.
       Leading the D.M.S. was the enigmatic Mr. Church, a man who "invited" Ledger to take on the living dead guy and who would have sadly but quickly done Ledger in should he have been infected. Since Ledger did not die when all indications showed he should have, Mr. Church knew Ledger was the kind of guy needed by the D.M.S. Ledger told him, well, no.
       The "no" did not stick. Ledger knew it wouldn't. He hated that it wouldn't. He preferred not knowing that things like the undying terrorist existed. He wanted to go back to tracking down normal killers and bad guys and not have to worry that things a nutso brewed in a test tube not only could wipe everyone out but was planning to do just that. Even worse for Ledger was knowing that it took someone with a killer's instinct and incredibly fast reactive skills to make the correct instantaneous decisions that hopefully will keep the world breathing for another few days. And Ledger was one of those few.
       Ledger does not fight the bad guys alone. The D.M.S. has a large assortment of people to battle the bad guys and Ledger gets close to quite a few of them. He saves the lives of many and they return the favor. Some of them do not survive long and all of them know that they are in one of the most dangerous professions there is. They also know that if they do not do the job, a whole lot of other people won't be around long. Perhaps the entire planet.

BOOKS

Number of Books:10
First Appearance:2009
Last Appearance:2016

1 Patient Zero Patient Zero
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2009

Joe Ledger had killed the terrorist as part of his new job with the DMS. A few days later he had to kill him again. That should not happen. That's when it is learned the radicals have a bio-weapon that turns people into zombies.

2 The Dragon Factory The Dragon Factory
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2010

The President is in surgery. The VP is trying to break up the DMS. A bioweapon is being readied to be deployed by neo-Nazis aiming to wipe out all non-Aryans. Joe Ledger is grieving but must put aside his pain to take action.

3 The King Of Plagues The King Of Plagues
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2011

The radicals were using the 10 Plagues of Egypt to cause destruction and mayhem on the planet. After they attack a British hospital killed hundreds, Joe Ledger steps in to put a stop to them.

3.5 Joe Ledger - The Missing Files Joe Ledger - The Missing Files
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2011

A collection of five Joe Ledger stories or novellas. See that section for more information about the stores:
Countdown
Zero Tolerance
Deep, Dark
Material Witness
Dog Days

4 Assassin's Code Assassin's Code
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2012

The request came after Joe Ledger led a team to rescue American college students held in Iran. It was from the Iranian government needing help to find nuclear weapons stolen by a band of genetically altered cultists with a desire for destruction.

5 Extinction Machine Extinction Machine
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2013

With the President having disappeared from the White House, tensions are high. They get higher when reports of UFOs start coming in from all over the country. It looks like aliens have come to reclaim technology they left behind now being studied by the military.

6 Code Zero Code Zero
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2014

The vault where the DMS kept the most dangerous bioweapons from endangering the public has been breached by an elite band who are releasing the items around the country.

6.5 Joe Ledger: Special Ops Joe Ledger: Special Ops
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2014

A collection of 9 Joe Ledger novellas and short stories. Some of these were included in the other collection published earlier. See that section for details about:
Countdown
Zero Tolerance
Deep, Dark
Material Witness
Changeling
Mad Science
Artifact
The Handyman Gets Out
Borrowed Power

7 Predator One Predator One
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2015

The first drone attack took place on opening day of baseball in a stadium filled with fans. Soon it was machines of all shapes and sizes, items used everyday in life, that became weapons of destruction. As the Joe Ledger and the DMS sought answers, the people behind the attacks sought the DMS.

8 Kill Switch Kill Switch
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2016

100 E-bombs, capable of destroying all power in a major city, are in the hands of terrorists planning on using them across America. After a string of inexplicable failures, the DMS is sidelined by the President though that does not stop the bad guys from going after Ledger and team.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:13
First Appearance:2009
Last Appearance:2014

       Some of these stories are contained in Joe Ledger collections while others are found in anthologies about other topics. There may be more that I do not know of.

1 Countdown Countdown
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2009

A prequel to the first book, it gives more detail into the events in which he first killed the man he would have to kill again later.

2 Zero Tolerance Zero Tolerance
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2009

Taking place shortly after the first book, this story wraps up some very important details of that horrific assignment.

3 Deep, Dark Deep, Dark
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2009

The Vault was where a lot of the nasty things the D.M.S. came across was put for safekeeping. Someone has broken in. Ledger and his team must go after them.

4 Material Witness Material Witness
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2011

Pine Deep is a community that many would like to forget and Joe Ledger becomes one of them when he has to go there to try and save an author who has made a lot of very nasty enemies.q

5 Dog Days Dog Days
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2011

Reeling with grief, Joe Ledger is forced by Mr. Church to take on a new partner, a trained war dog named Ghost. Together they go after the man who caused Ledger's heartbreak, and they were not planning to be nice.

6 Mad Science Mad Science
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2012

Found in the Liar Liar collection. With the help of Violin, Joe Ledger hunts down a kill-squad from the Red Knights.

7 Changeling Changeling
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2013

Teaming with a very unusual British agent named Felicity, Joe Ledger is asked to look into a dangerous bioweapons factory.

8 Borrowed Power Borrowed Power
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2013

Many years ago Mr. Church and the enigmatic Lilith fought and barely defeated a powerful enemy. It has come back.

9 Three Men Walk Into A Bar Three Men Walk Into A Bar
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2014

Joe Ledger is joined by Malcolm Crow (from the Pine Deep Trilogy) and Sam Hunter (from Strip Search) to fight a group trying to make real-life werewolves.

10 Artifact Artifact
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2014

Joe Ledger seeks a device that can either unlock permanent sustainable energy or destroy the planet.

11 The Handyman Gets Out The Handyman Gets Out
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2014

Held naked and unarmed in a maximum security facility, Joe Ledger is a mite on the testy side and determined to get out.

12 A Footnote in the Black Budget A Footnote in the Black Budget
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2014

In a crossover with the Cthulhu Mythos, Joe Ledger, joined by Top and Bunny, head to the bottom of the world to take on things that might not be from this world.

13 Mister Pockets Mister Pockets
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Copyright: 2014

Found in the Dark Visions anthology, this Joe Ledger adventure takes him back to the very spooky Pine Deep, hardly one of his favorite places.

MY COMMENTS

       Okay! If you glance at the grade I give this series, you will see that I loved it. Truly, completely, absolutely loved it. I read a lot of the books and listened to the unabridged audio versions of the rest and far too often would go back and re-read parts I had listened to just to make sure I got everything. I would get out of my car after listening to a part and then as soon as the family would allow, I would find that spot in the ebook and continue reading.
       I was totally hooked from the second or third PAGE and stayed hooked through six books and a few novellas. I could not get enough of Joe Ledger. I purchased the ebooks. I purchased the audio versions of the same books. If my bookshelves had the room, I know I would have bought the physical editions. I was and am a Ledger fanatic.
       The writing is a great as you could hope for. Action is fast and furious but terrifically detailed without ever bogging down the reader (a very hard trick). The dialogue is so realistic you would swear you were easedropping on real people. The characters are fully developed people that the reader gets to know very, very well, even the bad guys. And when a person you've gotten to know over a few chapters or a few books gets taken out, it hits you really hard.
       Then there are the fantastic plots. Zombies? Yes but totally believable ones that are real enough to scare the pants off of you. Viruses nastily snuck into common day places and things make you not want to go outside for a while and when you turn on the tap for a glass of water, you learn the writing has made you not a little paranoid. Genetics are a particularly popular field for the villains in this series and make very good (bad) use of it in a variety of ways from creating creatures that never should have existed to bringing back those that were thankfully gone for good.
       In the insanely brilliant mind of the author, all of science is game for a nutcase to manipulate. Now since I am not and never will be scientifically inclined, I do not have an inkling whether anything Mr. Maberry comes up with is truly possible but he convinces me.
       I cannot recommend this series enough.

GRADE

My Grade: A+

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