The Extinction Machine by Jonathan Maberry

Extinction Machine (Joe Ledger #5)Extinction Machine by Jonathan Maberry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“So, basically if we keep trying to save the country and maybe the world from a bunch of murderous assholes with outer space weapons, then we’re the bad guys?”

“In a nutshell.”

“Then, hey … let’s be bad guys.”

Joe’s back.

Pulled off vacation, Joe Ledger and Echo Team are knocking on research lab doors, looking into cyber-attacks so clever they can’t be tracked back to anyone. But no one’s answering, even though all the lights are on. Until a couple of strangely inhuman Men In Black step onto the loading dock.

Mayhem ensues.

Of course, anyone who is this far into the Joe Ledger series knows that whenever Joe is called in mayhem always ensues, all to save the good ol’ U. S. of A. Jonathan Maberry has tackled zombies, vampires, the seven plagues of Egypt and more, but this is the first time he’s gone beyond so-called supernatural creatures. Crop circles, space ships, and aliens are the topic of investigation.

And I (mostly) loved it for all the reasons I have enjoyed the entire series. These are adrenaline rides with Joe getting into and out of increasingly impossible, perilous situations while the reader hangs on by their fingernails wondering just how he can possibly escape. Meanwhile, Maberry weaves intriguing mysteries which may not keep us guessing, since he enjoys giving us both sides’ points of view, but they do keep us wondering if Joe can stop the bad guys.

What kept me from completely loving this book?

I am as ready for a good invading aliens story as the next person, but at one point the action came to a grinding halt as Maberry wove together two story lines in a gigantic “aliens among us” info-dump. Indeed, this went on for so long and contained enough duplicate information that I began to wonder if the author had fallen into “true believer” status and wanted to be sure we came away converted. Whether that was his motive or it was simply imperfect editing, I wearied of the information long before it ceased flowing.

On the other hand, Maberry is going to have to work hard to top Joe’s accomplishment in the light house. I won’t say more because I don’t want spoil it for anyone but I was literally laughing with delight as I heard what was happening. Adrenaline rush achieved!

Speaking of listening, Ray Porter does his usual excellent narration and is the reason I wait for the audio books rather than pick up print copies. As I’ve said before Ray Porter IS Joe Ledger. So let me say it again — Porter’s direct, blunt delivery can go from sarcastic to heart-felt to outraged in 60 seconds. Believably. That’s good because sometimes that’s the way Joe’s day goes.

Complaints aside, this book is great fun. Definitely recommended.

(Review copy from Audible, via SFFaudio, where this review first appeared.)

About Julie Davis

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