Read by Ray Porter
Length: 15 Hrs 39 Min
Genre: Science Thriller
Quick Thoughts: Assassin’s Code is a fast paced, no holds barred science thriller with perhaps the most engaging series character in fiction today. If you have yet to listen to a Joe Ledger Book, makes sure you have plenty of time on your hands because once you start, you will not want to stop.
You know, once, someone tried to tell Jack Bauer a "Knock Knock" joke. In seconds, Jack figured out who was there, who they worked for, and just where the goddam bomb was. I’ve always liked jokes like this. Whether they are about Jack Bauer, Mr. T., Chuck Norris, or any random badass character that a generation has latched onto. Being a huge fan of the show 24, my favorite jokes of this sort were always the Jack Bauer ones. We love our over the top bad ass celebrities, and revel in their cold heated determination and willingness to go beyond the law and do whatever it takes to stop the world’s evil doers from wreaking havoc on the innocent citizens. Yet, while many remember the hard core, take no prisoners ultra violent heroics of characters like Jack Bauer, what has always stuck with me is those moments when these characters show emotion. Where after barely containing a toxic gas attack, and having to cut his partners arm off with an axe, Jack finds himself alone, and bursts into tears, showing us that despite his willingness to do what it takes, killing and violence takes its toll on a person, even a badass like Jack Bauer. Jonathan Maberry has created a character in Joe Ledger who has taken badassery to a whole other level. Some of the things that Ledger has had to deal with would make Chuck Norris wet himself, roll up into a ball and cry for his mommy. Yet, one of the things that Jonathan Maberry and narrator Ray Porter both have done so well with this Joe Ledger character is show us the affects of violence on this unstable man. Joe Ledger is truly a hero, yet, with a small crack in his voice, or a slow moment when he is transfixed by a simple photograph of children playing in the street, we see levels to Joe Ledger that we rarely get to witness in out action heroes.
Assassin’s Code is the fourth novel featuring Joe Ledger and Echo Team who work for a secret branch of the government called the Department if Military Science. Echo Team and DMS handle some of the weirdest situations, those that go beyond what you would expect out of a typical Special Forces team. Usually, their missions involve science gone way too wrong. They deal with monsters, and threats most people wouldn’t even believe exist outside of the movies. In Assassin’s Code, their ability to expect the unexpected is pushed to the extreme, when they encounter an evil ripped out of horror books. In a series known for its fast paced action, and outrageous enemies, Maberry manages to push the envelope even further. Assassin’s Code moves like a rocket blast, as Joe Ledger and his team jump from one life threatening situations to the next, with no safe harbor or chance for rest. The stakes are quite high, even for soldiers who have faced Zombies, genetically altered monsters, and highly motivated conspiracies. Now, an unknown player has placed seven nuclear bombs in strategic locations around the world, and it’s up to Joe Ledger and his team to find them. Yet, with all the high stakes action and harrowing situations, it is really the portrayal of Joe Ledger that pushes this beyond your typical action tale. Ledger has quickly become my favorite fictional character. The fractured and unstable nature of his personality gives us a look into the heart of a warrior in a unique and compelling way. Maberry offers no unnecessary moments in this novel. Whether it’s Joe interaction with his dog Ghost, or the interplay between Echo team members, each moment fulfills a purpose and adds richness and texture to the tale being told. Assassin’s Code has a complex, almost over the top plot, yet in the hands of Maberry, it comes off seamlessly. The action is well orchestrated, and easy to follow, and the conspiracies within conspiracies are fully drawn, and come together perfectly at the end, tying up not just all the threads from this novel, but the series as well. From the first book in this series, to the latest, Maberry has manages to up the game, with each edition building on top of the pervious one. Assassin’s Code is a fast paced, no holds barred science thriller with perhaps the most engaging series character in fiction today. If you have yet to listen to a Joe Ledger Book, makes sure you have plenty of time on your hands because once you start, you will not want to stop.
I have said it, Jonathan Maberry has said it, and a bastion of the fans of this series have said it, Ray Porter is the voice of Joe Ledger. Porter is one of my favorite first person narrators, because he breathes such life into his characters. With a simple breath, stutter or change of pace, he portrays so much about Joe Ledger‘s nature.. When Joe Ledger’s voice slightly breaks discussing with his best friend how he cracked a joke before killing a man, you become as emotionally devastated as the character. Porter encompasses each player in this tale, get’s to know them, and delivers them up to us as fully realized individuals. You can just tell how much he get’s into the spirit of the action. His pacing is dead on, adding a sense of urgency, yet managing to deliver it all clearly. Ray Porter’s performance of Assassin’s Code and the Joe Ledger series epitomizes what a wonderful experience listening to an audiobook can be when the right narrator is given just the right material.