On opening day of the new baseball season, a small model-kit airplane flies down from the stands and buzzes the mound, where a decorated veteran pilot is about to throw out the first ball. The toy plane is the exact replica of the one flown by the war hero. Everyone laughs, thinking it's a prank or a publicity stunt. Until it explodes, killing dozens.
Seconds later a swarm of killer drones descends upon the picnicked crowd, each one carrying a powerful bomb. All across the country, artificial-intelligence drive systems in cars, commuter trains, and even fighter planes go out of control. The death toll soars as the machines we depend upon every day are turned into engines of destruction.
Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences go on the hunt for whoever is controlling these machines, but the every step of the way they are met with traps and shocks that strike to the very heart of the DMS. No one is safe. Nowhere is safe. Enemies old and new rise as America burns.
Joe Ledger and his team begin a desperate search for the secret to this new technology and the madmen behind it. But before they can close in, the enemy virus infects Air Force One. The president is trapped aboard as the jet heads toward the heart of New York City. It has become Predator One.
©2015 Jonathan Maberry (P)2015 Macmillan Audio
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"This time it gets personal"
Some lose threads from book #3, The King of Plagues, get pulled on and things start to unravel for Joe Ledger and the DMS. It was uncovered back then that the Seven Kings had a list of all DMS members and their families, which was one of the main reasons that taking them out became so urgent. Once the Kings were all neutralized it seemed like the risk to the DMS families was eliminated but this turns out not to be true. With Joe and Rudy in attendance to watch the Orioles play the Phillies on opening day a terrorist attack targets not just the innocent baseball fans in attendance but the DMS agents in particular. The remnants of the Seven Kings are back and this time they are making it personal.
The Seven Kings were the largest and most well funded adversary the DMS has ever gone up against and it turns out that taking out their leadership was not enough to dismantle the entire operation. But how could the Seven Kings be back without the DMS knowing it? After all, MindReader is able to infiltrate every computer system in the world so any activity on such a large scale as the Seven Kings would instantly be discovered. That would be true unless the Seven Kings now possessed a computer system far more powerful than MindReader but if that were true then the DMS would go from hunter to hunted. Yes indeed they would.
Computer technology is front and center in this one as Jonathan Maberry creates a world where all of the automation systems that are becoming commonplace have been compromised. This includes software in self driving cars, drones, and most of our high tech military assets. With the DMS blind to what is going on, the Seven Kings have been busy testing their ability to take control of anything with automated control software embedded within it. Now the time for testing is done and it is time to move forward with their plan to eliminate the DMS by attacking their families and cripple the United States in the process.
With drones and self driving cars in the news every day this one certainly makes you feel unsafe about the technology all around you. Going from the fantastical concepts of the prior books, such as zombies, vampires, and aliens, to every day real things actually made the threat much scarier. This one was action packed from start to finish and is one of the best books in the series. Ray Porter does another great job on the narration and the series keeps on going strong. Nobody is safe in this one and the dark sides of some of the "good guys" start to be revealed so it will be interesting to see where it all goes after this.
"Maberry needs to get Ledger back to his roots."
Yes, I am a die-hard Ledger fan, I love this series, but unfortunately the last few books have strayed from what made Ledger so awesome. Maberry has slowly integrated more and more of his politics into these books and it is starting to dominate the narrative. The second "grievance" I have is that Maberry feels the need to have Ledger spend 2 minutes rationalizing his kills. I don't need Ledger to explain to me how much it hurts him inside each time he has to put someone down, just be a bada** and put the bad guy down! Reading some of the narrative I feel like Maberry is a pacifist and has a hard time writing this violent character. He can still be human without going all soft every time he pulls the trigger. To his credit, Maberry does get Ledger back to being his traditional self in the last few chapters. Again, I love this series, I buy every book pre-order, and even if Maberry keeps up this style I will keep buying. Just wish he would infiltrate less (lets be honest, liberal) politics into the writing and just let us enjoy the awesome character we met in Patient Zero.
Oh, one last thing...the DMS is the top military organization in the world! - and yet every single book they are defeated by jammers! every single book. The DMS would have solved this problem by now, let's get a new plot device Maberry!
Great ending, no issues.
Ray Porter is...the number one narrator in the audiobook world. Hands down.
nope, mostly in-line with what I expected.
Said all I had in the first box.
"One of the best Joe Ledger novels to date!"
What a book! I always wait with anticipation for the next Jonathan Maberry novel. Always. This time was no exception. I have re-listened to every Ledger book over the last few months in preparation. Timing it just right, I finished Code Zero Monday on my way home from work. Tuesday morning I set in for an adventure. I was not disappointed.
It was going to be a good day. Joe and Rudy were at opening day in Baltimore. They were going to watch a true American Hero throw out the first pitch and shake hands with Joe's all time hero, his father. Junie, Circe, and Lydia were in San Francisco house hunting. Then, out of nowhere, Circe faints. Meanwhile in Baltimore, a small remote airplane flies over the field, doing tricks and dives. The crowd was loving it! In the blink of an eye. BOOM! A good day went very, very bad. A quick series of events involving timers, guns, and...pigeons? WTF?...sends Church and the entirety of the D.M.S. into a battle they are ill prepared for, and a name they thought they'd never hear again. This time though, it's all personal. A computer program developed by a man who puts even the D.M.S.'s top expert, Bug, to shame, can take control of virtually any military equipment with a CPU. It wreaks chaos, sending Captain Ledger and the rest of the Echo team on a mission they thought was completed years ago. While Echo team tries to find the bastard behind this, unknown to them as The Gentleman; Church is stranded on Air Force One, a plane no longer under their control, and Rudy Sanchez is battling his own demons. Oh yeah, and a nice little glimpse of where Joe Ledger gets his tenacity.
I devoured this audiobook in 2 days. Ray Porter delivered an absolutely incredible performance. I've listened to a lot of audiobooks narrated by Mr. Porter and he is easily my favorite narrator, so I will obviously show no bias. He is Joe Ledger. I'm sure you've seen that before, so have I. It's just fact. The man adds so much to this story with his intensity. Every character has his or her own voice and they all get their own special touch of character from Ray Porter. You can hear the passion he has for these characters in every word.
This is a must read and a must listen. It's one of the best Ledger books yet. It adds depth to a lot of characters and is packed with adrenaline.
"Well; I liked the cover!"
[Helloooo Joe! ]
Next to eating Cracked Pepper sunflower seeds at my kids' baseball games (BP no-no); Joe's my next favorite guilty pleasure. It was a brilliant beginning; a tie-in to the Seven Kings (no spoiler here, but what a hoot!). Depending on your poison, whether you like the zombies, aliens, vampires, plagues, super-soldiers, or the more political foes, will determine how much you like this latest Ledger adventure. My least favorite of the series was The King of Plagues (and Dragon Factory) and you need to have read that book to clearly have a grasp of who The Gentleman is, and the threat he poses to the DMS.
Most fans will probably love this one--I'm a fan and I merely liked it. Maberry has reached back and pulled in some old foes, dropped a few new bombshells, opened some questions, and shown a vulnerable side to his seemingly impervious team -- and it seems speculative of something ominous brewing for the next Ledger novel. But I feel sympatico with another reviewer that pointed out the political leanings of the author, political Joe/Maberry can be a buzz-kill. Speaking of buzz...while the casualty count is high in P1, the whole drone thing, didn't get it for me. I still see drones delivering shoes from Zappo's, the neighborhood pack of boys chasing my dog, and haven't made the intellectual jump to terrorism by mechanical mosquito.
The team seemed a little less dimensional, dropped into the middle of one surprise attack after another that left them helpless, without a plan, and spending a lot of time in the hospital. Reading this felt a little like watching my kids play what ever it's called that they play with their action figures -- and listening to Joe practice his stand-up routine. Wise-cracks are one of Joe's most endearing qualities, but that's when they are wise, or smart, not just testosterone-fueled comments like those spinach-fueled comments mumbled by Popeye.
Bottom line: Even a bad day with Joe and his group is a good day. I'm counting this one as a mediocre lead-in to a fantastic 8th in a series (unless that *went up in flames* wink wink). Porter? Come on, it's Porter! Awesome as usual, only little problem for me was he had to read Joe as Maberry wrote him this time, and I personally want Joe to keep his day job and pass on becoming a full time comedian.
"Best Joe Ledger Yet"
Ok, I am a huge fan of Joe Ledger, everyone in his team at the DMS, Jonathan Maberry and Ray Porter. So I will let the gushing commence. If you have been following this blog from the beginning, not sure how many people were around back then. This is the series that jump started my obsession with audiobooks.
If you are a fan of precise secret agent, hugely entertaining, highly technical and sophisticated military, fast paced action scenes, characters that seem shallow on the surface but are way deeper than you would ever imagine, constant plot twists, turns, dead ends and reboots, expertly crafted stories that are brought to life with a master of his craft narrator. Then Joe Ledger is for you.
If you have yet to listen or read to any of the books in the series, your in luck, because any of them could be picked up and enjoyed in any order. Jonathan Maberry made this possible by briefly introducing most of the characters and a history of what the DMS team has been through.
In my humble little fan-boy opinion, Predator One is hands down the best Joe Ledger novel yet. Why, you ask? Simply because Joe Ledger and his team are unleashed from their reins and allowed to do what they do best. Stop the bad guys. However, in Predator One, each one of them have a huge price to pay. I think everyone of the characters are forever damaged if not killed from, of all things, drones.
Yes, drones. Remote controlled flying machines (there is so much more to this, but I will not spoil the fun) wreak havoc on the DMS, yes there is way more to it than this but trying to keep this simple. Told in a way that made me look around whenever I heard something strange outside or saw a strange shadow coming near me. Along with that Maberry was able to deepen each and every character contained to a level that has never been reached before.
The more that I listen to Ray Porter, the more silky, subtle and commanding his voice becomes. I have not listened to him do much else other than be Joe Ledger so maybe I am biased. You want to hear a story telling technician at work, this is your chance.
Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.
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"Lock'n'Load Ledger with Searing Social Commentary"
With each Joe Ledger novel, the stakes get higher, Joe gets wittier and Maberry's brand of grade 'A' action thriller becomes more and more a metaphor for some truly deep insights on present day social and political ambiguities.
Predator One was so good I finished it and started to listen to it again a second time. But I admit to having listened multiple times to the earlier Ledger novels too. And I usually never do that. Once is usually enough and I'm onto the next book.
Maberry's one of the very few writers of his genre who are equally skilled at characterization, action sequences and tasty, fresh dialogue. Even his prose and descriptive writing leaves others in the genre eating his dust.
Meanwhile, if you're one of those readers who gets enjoys a good action yarn, but gets bored by the long battle sequences, give the Ledger series a go. They really aren't like anything else in the genre. It's meaty, exciting fiction, whether you're a fan of plot or character-driven novels.
"Edge of Your Seat Action With Great Charcters!"
Wow, my heart rate is still up!
I could not stop listening to this book! The action, plot, and characters kept enthralled but Ray Porter's performance made this story a homerun!
Another Awesome addition to the Joe Ledger series!
Never a dull moment in this book. I swear I was standing the last few hours listening because it was that intense!
"Maberry does it again."
I cannot get enough of Joe Ledger and the DMS. Predator One goes deeper on my favorite characters then ever before. Fantastic twists and timely subject matter make for an edge of the seat thrill ride. This is a masterpiece for Maberry and for Ray Porter. Brilliant!
"Maberry ratchets up the intensity again"
From the very opening of the book, we were off and running. It seems like each Joe Ledger book is a little more intense than the last, and this one takes a major step up in that intensity. This comes as a pleasant surprise because I didn't think that was possible after the last book. Also, though Joe Ledger is still used as a vehicle to express Jonathan Maberry's social commentary, its not done nearly so much in this book.
Of course Joe Ledger. He's the one that ties it all together and keeps it all moving forward in his particular way. However, I found myself really listening hard to the parts of the book with Church as well. He is featured much more prominently in this book than previously, and he's an outstanding character.
Specifically in the way that Ray Porter did it, I liked very much his portrayal of Toys. He did a great job of presenting the way the man felt about himself balanced against his desire to work towards what he felt was important. It was sympathetically done, but not as sappy as his portrayal of Toys has been in past books.
The country is going to burn
Rippingly good action conspiracy yarn with great characterisation. Knocked a story point off as I hadn't realised there were others in the series and as such have semi- spoiled the earlier books for myself.
Another great story. In keeping with the rest of the series but completely original at the same time. Fast paced and gritty, I'd recommend it highly.
"Best Maberry book yet!"
Jonathan Maberry is simply the best living author on the planet and the king of the horror/thriller genre
Joe Ledger - he is not just my fave character but my hero! Like Captain America without the innocence.
It is hard to pick one, but seeing Church get more hands on and also witnessing his more human side were a real treat.
Is your world about to burn?
Cant wait for the next Joe Ledger novel! Bring on "Killswitch"!
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