At a Glance
Last Updated on July 9, 2021 Reading the Jonathan Maberry books in order for his two main series is not only a treat for crime mystery book lovers, but also for zombie apocalypse fans.
The first time I came across this author was through picking a copy of Patient Zero, the first in his Joe Ledger book series. I have just finished reading Khost by Vincent Hobbes, and I was searching for a book written in the same veins in the techno-thriller/horror genre.
Someone on Goodreads recommended I try the Joe Ledger series, and the rest is history. I was hooked for good.
So here are the Jonathan Maberry books in reading order, because he wrote so many books ranging between many different series across genres, that it’s easy to get lost while trying to find your next favorite read.
New Jonathan Maberry Books
Joe Ledger Series
- Countdown (Joe Ledger 0.5, prequel), 2011
- Patient Zero, 2009 (Joe Ledger #1), 2009
- Zero Tolerance (Joe Ledger #1.1), 2011
- Material Witness (Joe Ledger #1.2), 2011
- Deep, Dark (Joe Ledger #1.3), 2011
- The Dragon Factory, 2010 (Joe Ledger #2)
- Dog Days (Joe Ledger #2.1), 2011
- The King of Plagues (Joe Ledger #3), 2011
- Assassin’s Code (Joe Ledger #4), 2012
- Borrowed Power (Joe Ledger #4.2), 2013
- Extinction Machine (Joe Ledger #5), 2013
- Joe Ledger: Special Ops (Joe Ledger #5.5), 2014
- Code Zero (Joe Ledger #6), 2014
- Predator One (Joe Ledger #7), 2015
- Kill Switch (Joe Ledger #8), 2016
- Dogs of War (Joe Ledger #9), 2017
- Deep Silence (Joe Ledger #10), 2018
Rogue Team International Series
continues the Joe Ledger series except the team is now independent, not working for any specific government
Pine Deep Trilogy
Rot & Ruin Series
- Rot & Ruin, 2010
- Dust & Decay, 2011
- Flesh & Bone, 2012
- Fire & Ash, 2013
- Bits & Pieces, 2015 (Benny Imura short story collection)
Broken Lands Series
set in the world of Rot & Ruin
Dead of Night Series
- Dead of Night, 2011
- Fall of Night, 2014
- Dark of Night, 2016 (novella, also part of the Joe Ledger books)
- Still of Night, 2018
Dylan Quinn Series
- Watch Over Me, 2016
- Cold Cold Heart, 2016
The Nightsiders Series
Standalone Jonathan Maberry Books
- The Wolfman (movie novelization)
- Mars One, 2017 (teen sci-fi novel)
- Glimpse, 2018 (horror novel)
- Ink, 2020 (supernatural thriller)
Joe Ledger Books Synopsis
Joe Ledger is the main hero in the same-named book series, and in the new RTI. Under Mr. Church, and together with his team, he is always there to save the world from unspeakable horror, some which could literally end it.
We first meet Joe Ledger in Patient Zero, where he is a Baltimore detective who’s having a bad time killing the same person twice. His confusion is only mounted by him being recruited by Church into a secret government agency called the DMS (Department of Military Sciences). His first mission? Stop some terrorists from unleashing a bio-weapon that makes zombies real.
The Dragon Factory
In The Dragon Factory, our main hero gets his second case which pits two groups against each other. We have some mad scientists who created the perfect genetic enhanced soldiers, and new Nazis who want to continue Joseph Mengele’s devious world started during WWII. When Ledger with his Echo Team takes the fight to the baddies, take one guess who will win at the end.
The King of Plagues
In The King of Plagues Joe is sent to London to investigate an explosion at a hospital that killed thousands. What he uncovers takes him and the Echo Team to fight against a secret society that wants to unleash their own version of the Ten Plagues of Egypt that would destroy the world. That evil group belongs to the 1% of the ultra-billionaires who control everything, and who seek to destabilize the world as we know it.
In Assasin’s Code, the Echo Team is in Iran doing some covert op saving some American hikers, which goes well. Just before he is ready to go home, he is hunted down by no less than three different groups, one more dangerous than the other. Here he meets Violin, who is initially his enemy but soon will become something else, and a long-term character in the book series. What all these group have in common is the flash drive that Joe has and they all want.
While so far our main hero has dealt with zombies, vampires, genetically engineered soldiers, plagues, and mutated monsters, now we get into some different territory with crop circles, alien technology, UFOs, and the Extinction Machine. The U.S. president has been abducted from the White House, and the ransom is a Black book that the Echo Team has to find to have the president released. But what is the Black Book and why is it so important globally to literally everyone on the political scene?
In Code Zero we meet Mother Night who is as evil as they come. The book is in part a direct sequel to Patient Zero, because zombies are back, even if slightly altered. Mother Night, the anarchist mastermind, wants to destroy America and reshape it based on her ideas and ideals, all which are of course very wrong. Now the DMS has to stop this evil from turning America into a zombieland with living dead.
Predator One brings us drones. Because our Joe didn’t have enough different types of enemies and monsters to deal with. Now he has evil, bad, and murderous drones to contend with as well. Echo Team has to find the ones who control these drones before it’s too late. There is a new piece of technology involved, and Joe Ledger, unstoppable and badass, is the one to hunt down this technology and to save the president – again, as he is now trapped in what has become Predator One.
In Kill Switch, the author has brought to life one of my biggest fears. What happens when the lights go off completely? You no longer have electricity, no computers, no fridges, no light in the homes, it’s all dark, planes will drop out of the skies, and chaos ensues. This frightening scenario is what the DMS has to deal with now and stop the terrorists who are planning to EMP bomb the entire country. In this book Ghost features more than usual, which is wonderful for everyone who loves this dog.
Dogs of War
Dogs of War brings back Joe and a newly rebuilt DMS (read Kill Switch to learn what happened to contribute to its total destruction) to try to save the world from total annihilation. There are only a few people left in the DMS and Joe’s Echo Team, so personnel is tight and Joe is almost on his own. When an AI (called Calpurnia) enters the mix, Joe has no idea whether the machine is there to destroy or save the world. Because as sure as hell, Calpurnia’s creator, Zephyr Bain, is dead-set to end it.
In Deep Silence the author brings Joe closer to his Rot & Ruin series, with his almost-zombie-like people who become violent and suicidal before major volcanoes. The story is, as usual, hard to put down, and it brings back some of the main characters from the previous in the series. I was not surprised to see the president in the book having a strong resemblance to the current commander-in-chief of the US of A.
This is the first in the new RTI series, but it is included here since, at its heart, it is really just a continuation of our regular Joe Ledger stories. Echo Team is no longer; instead, we now have Havoc Team. For the most part, the same people feature with a couple of exceptions. Also, the group is now working internationally, no longer having to answer to any particular government or president. When something called Rage is unleashed on the world, it could potentially end the world as we know it. So Joe and his team have to stop it before it’s too late and battle a few old and long-forgotten enemies that have now come back stronger than ever.
Who is Joe Ledger?
We first met Joe in Patient Zero, when he was still a detective with Baltimore PD. He is also a former Army Ranger and FBI agent. When strange things started to happen and someone took notice of Joe’s heroic actions, he was rectruited into DMS, the Department of Military Sciences led by a very cryptic and enigmatic Mr. Church, to solve the weird cases that noone else would touch. Cases that involve zombies, vampires, genetically modified humans, bio-weapons, plagues, drones, aliens, and so much more…
Joe is now a specially trained agent who travels the world to save it from certain extinction from book after book. He has some killer instincts that save him and his team more than once, and he has three different personalities – cop, warrior, and civilized man – due to some childhood trauma, which serve him well during various dangerous situations. Still, those personalities are in constant war with each other, and often it’s a surprise as to which side comes out victorious at the time. Still, from book to book, he learns to control these personalities and bring out the right one for when it is needed.
From book to book, Joe evolves, becomes stronger and more badass, and almost a superhero. Not much can get him down, or if they do, he always gets up and kills them before they can do a final blow. And in each book he is put through the ringer. Normal people could not hold out even a minute when Joe ends up saving the day.
He has strong morals but he is willing to do whatever is needed to save the world. Sometimes this involves doing things that the average person wouldn’t dare do. He is a flawed person, no doubt about it. But he is also not afraid of all that much, and that’s why Church trusts him to go out and do the things nobody else would. When he makes mistakes, he rises above them and moves forward.
About Jonathan Maberry
Jonathan Maberry was born in Kensington, Philadelphia in 1958. He went to Frankford High School, after which for college he attended Temple University.
As his childhood was spent in a rather rough neighborhood, he took martial art classes to learn to defend himself.
His first works were non-fiction books related to the topic of martial arts with titles such as Judo and You, Ultimate Jujutsu and Ultimate Sparring. He holds an 8th-degree black belt in Shinowara-Ryu Jujutsu
The next step in his career changed his topics drastically from martial arts to the esoteric the occult and the paranormal, having written books including The Vampire Slayers Field Guide to the Undead, Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us and Wanted Undead or Alive, among others.
The author started writing on a professional level while in college, by selling magazine feature articles.
Moving on to writing novels, he debuted with Ghost Road Blues in 2007, a novel which won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel.
Only when you really check out his books you realize just how many genres Jonathan Maberry has touched over the years. From martial arts non-fiction and vampire books, he moved on to horror novels, post-apocalyptic zombie stories, techno-thrillers, teen mysteries, sci-fi stories (think The X Files) and even comic books. He is really a man of many talents, especially considering that he even wrote greeting cards back in the day (betcha you didn’t know this!).
Over the years, he had several jobs. He was a bodyguard, bouncer, martial arts instructor, a teacher at Temple University. As a teacher also he wrote textbooks for students. In addition, he created martial arts and self-defense programs for women and the police force.
When you think about it, his career could have taken really many different paths, considering that he also knew how to read the tarot and even tea leaves. But then again, the books on the occult and his horror novels do show this facet of his vast knowledge on all that is out there beyond our five senses.
One could say the Joe Ledger series is Maberry’s most popular series, however, it really depends on which genre is your favorite when you come across this author. I love mysteries and thrillers, so Joe Ledger was my entry point before discovering Rot & Ruin, but I have a Goodreads friend who started with the author’s zombie series and then transitioned to Joe Ledger.
For me, Joe Ledger is special. When I started reading this series, I was heavily into military thrillers and horrors, so Joe Ledger fits right in with the rest. It was also at a time when military thriller as a genre was booming.
So who is Joe Ledger anyway? The author created this hardened Baltimore cop who’s seen way too much in his days in a way that we got to love him from the very first book, Patient Zero. Joe is approached by Mr. Church, who wants him to join a super-secret special ops government agency to deal with stuff that normal people don’t ever need to learn about. The agency is called DMS and over the next few books, Joe Ledger becomes one of its most important members.
I’ve so far read every book in the series that was published – as soon as it was published. If I were to read them now, I would definitely read them in order, starting from Patient Zero. So, yes, I suggest that you read the Joe Ledger books in order because without it you’ll lose much of not only the character progression but also storyline. For example, Dogs of War starts right where Kill Switch left off, and without reading Kill Switch first, the latest Jonathan Maberry book won’t make much sense.
Not only that, but some books have recurring (bad) characters, but I won’t spoil it for you. So make sure you that read the Jonathan Maberry Joe Ledger novels in the proper reading order, and while you’re at it, read Countdown first. It is a short novella that really helps nail Joe Ledger down and sets the stage for what it is yet to come.