Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review – Assassin’s Code (Joe Ledger 04) by Jonathan Maberry

Assassin’s Code
Joe Ledger Series Book Four
Jonathan Maberry
Trade Paperback (Advance Reader’s Copy)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication date: April 10, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0312552206
432 pages


     Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.

     I requested Assassins Code from a group of Advance Reader’s Copies simply because the cover intrigued me. I know, I know, “looks can be deceiving” and “you can’t judge a book by its cover” but in this case I wasn’t disappointed. I have to confess that I've never read any of the other books in the Joe Ledger series and starting with the fourth book is probably not the best way to be introduced to a series but there was absolutely no disconnect in the story for me and I was able to follow it easily without having any of the back story of the first three books. The first compact chapter, only 48 words long, hooked me immediately and the story only got better from there. After reading Assassin’s Code I will definitely pick up the other titles in the series. I admit to having an affinity towards techno-thrillers with strong characters (i.e. Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone series) and Assassin’s Code fits into that mold nicely.

     In some ways Joe Ledger reminds me a bit of Cotton Malone, Mac Bolan, and Doc Savage all mixed into one character. All are, or were, government contract operatives, are tough, witty, and sarcastic and their exploits are packed full of action scenes. The only real difference between them is that Joe Ledger is an extremely funny character. No, I take that back. What Joe Ledger thinks and says is often times hilarious. The novels are similar in some respects, as well. The plots are always eventful and conclude effectively and the suspense leading up to the climax is always “edge of the seat” and full of entertaining twists and turns.

     In Assassin’s Code, Joe Ledger and his team are tasked with extricating three American’s from an Iranian prison after they are taken into custody on accusations of spying. In the process, Joe meets a member of the Iranian government that tells him seven black-market Russian nuclear bombs are in the hands of terrorists and that their mere presence threatens both countries. Ledger and his team need to find them and quickly. Mixed into that story line is a clandestine society bent on keeping their secrets hidden and destroying their enemies, namely anyone associated with Ledger and his team. The premise, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” while cliché in some respects, stands up well under the hand of Jonathan Maberry who weaves as suspenseful and thrilling a tale as I’ve read in a very long time.

     Recommended for thriller/suspense buffs, fans of military fiction, enthusiast of character driven suspense, and anyone that enjoys secret government operatives, spies, political intrigue, and secret societies peppered throughout a solid fictional drama.

4 out of 5 stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

Additional Reading:

Assassin’s Code Amazon.com Page

Assassin’s Code Excerpt

Fan Based Joe Ledger Page

Jonathan Maberry’s Big, Scary Blog

Jonathan Maberry Wiki Page

Jonathan Maberry Interview

The Joe Ledger Series
1. Patient Zero (2009)
2. The Dragon Factory (2010)
3. The King of Plagues (2011)
4. Assassin's Code (2012)

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