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Assassin's Code: A Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry
Cover Artist: Photos: Man's Face by Jason Jones/Getty Images;
Tear by Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images;
Illustrations of Missles by Stockbyte/GettyImages,; Soldiers by SHutterstock
Review by Harriet Klausner
St. Martin's Griffin Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312552206
Date: 10 April 2012 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

U.S. Department of Military Sciences Captain Joe Ledger and his Echo Team rescued three twenty-something Americans hikers taken by an Iranian patrol that crossed the border from a high security prison. The next part of the mission is to escort the college students through hell to Kuwait City.

The next morning at Starbox Coffee in Teheran, while waiting for extraction orders, a woman calls Joe on his cellphone as two red dots appear on his chest. He is told to follow her instructions with no deviation starting with throwing away his cellphone's battery. After completing this first step, he waits for further directions while drinking coffee at a table inside Starbox.

Several people arrive apparently for coffee until he recognizes the man coming to meet with him. Jalil Rasoli of the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of Islamic Republic of Iran (MISIRI) says he could not use diplomatic channels, but he needs the skills of Joe and his team before weapons of mass destruction devastate the Middle East. Joe threatens to rip out his throat and shove it down Rasoli's bodyguard. Rasoli insists this is different as sometimes you must sleep with the devil for the overall good. The Iranian assigns his top assassin, Violin, to accompany Joe and Echo Team as they hunt for six stolen nuclear bombs planted in various regional oil fields by traitorous genius Hugo Vox and his super team.

From the first phone call received at the cleverly named coffee shop until the final confrontation, this is an exhilarating paranormal thriller as Joe wisecracks his way through combat against genetically-engineered mass murderers who crave blood. The tale is loaded with nonstop action even when Joe spends time with his seemingly nonstop quipping asides. However when the super patriot finds and reads the Book of Shadows, his belief systems of what is good and evil is nuked.

Joe and his team are cartoonish, but fans will not care as we are reading for the adrenalin rush. Each clue he and his Echo Team comrades uncover leads to danger as several clandestine groups besides Vox and his horde want to control the nukes and much more. Fans will relish the latest Joe Ledger horror thriller (see The King of Plagues, The Dragon Factory, and Patient Zero) as once again Maberry is over the top to the delight of grateful readers.

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