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Extinction Machine (Joe Ledger) by Jonathan Maberry
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
St. Martin's Griffin Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312552213
Date: 26 March 2013 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

High-paced suspense involving an elite US cyber crimes squad. The rest of the world is trying to develop alien technology into super weapons. A fast-paced armed race.

Early in the Extinction Machine, the US President is kidnapped. Only, he was safely in the White House and guarded by secret service, and no one saw him leave. Later a group of secret service find what looks like a crop circle on the White House lawn.

The DMS, or the Department of Military Sciences, is led by Mr. Deacon Church with Capt. Joe Ledger as its chief operative. They are a super-techno force that basically "saves the world" from all the bad guys. They have all the latest is whiz-bang technology, including a highly specialized computer hacking program called Mindreader that can intrude into any other system, read and copy data, and exit without a trace.

The DMS receives a video from an unknown group with a video of the kidnapped president telling them to find the Little Black Book, or else a giant earthquake and tsunami will be initiated that will destroy the US East Coast. The DMS has no idea what the Little Black Book is and the search for it leads to a secret program initiated by the US government in the 1940s to harvest alien technology from alien shipwrecks and apply the technology to modern weapons and systems.

The use of alien technology seems like a joke at first but the DMS finds out it is very real. They learn a lot during their search for the Little Black Book in order to rescue the president. The search for the Little Black Book leads to Junie Flynn, a UFO expert that many believed was crazy, but it turns out she is not.

Meanwhile unexplainable attacks are happening around the world. Ledger's commando team faces some highly technical small weapons that have capabilities that never before existed on earth. Mysterious aircraft appear out of nowhere at impossible speeds and then disappear again. Nobody knows which group has custody of these strange weapons. The sub plots involve the Chinese government and a US Contractor and their programs since the 1940s to develop this technology and it turns into great suspense as the DMS has to sort out all the details.

Extinction Machine is action-packed. I loved it. I could not wait to read more. The alien technology satisfies all the techno-urges that I have when I read science fiction. It is described well, but not too technically, and is explained in more detail as the story progresses. It is close enough to current technology that it's a logical stretch for someone versed in the current day.

I did not realize when I started reading Extinction Machine that Joe Ledger is a recurring character in a series of novels. I had no problem catching up and following the plot and characters of the story. I highly recommend the book for suspense and techno-SF readers. I cannot wait to read some more novels about Joe Ledger and his team.

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