Extinction Machine, Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin’s/Griffin)


Get ready to have your mind boggled. In the fifth Joe Ledger novel, Maberry provides explanations—plausible, logically consistent, tantalizing explanations—for alien abductions, UFO sightings, the 1947 “flying saucer” crash at Roswell, and those pesky rumors of secret technologies reverse-engineered from extraterrestrial devices. When Ledger and his Department of Military Sciences team—they defend the U.S. from science-based terrorism—are tasked to investigate a wave of cyberattacks, they wind up in a race against time to stop a brilliant and powerful megalomaniac. From the first Ledger novel, 2009’s Patient Zero, the author has tackled such subjects as zombies and bioengineered mythical creatures, but he never lets the fantastic elements get out of hand. The Ledger novels are exciting sf thrillers that just happen to involve stuff that’s a little out there (and Joe himself is a realistically portrayed soldier who, from time to time, has a hard time dealing with the weirdnesses that surround him). Readers familiar with the series will need no prodding to check this new one out, and newcomers, immediately upon finishing the book, will want to hunt down the earlier installments.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, March 2013.







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