Kill Switch (Joe Ledger #8) Review

Title: Kill Switch | Series: Joe Ledger #8 | Author: Jonathan Maberry | Publisher: Macmillan Audio | Pub. Date: 2016-4-26 | Length: 18 hours | ISBN13: 9781427279347 | Genre: Science Fiction, Horror, Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased audio book | Purchase on Amazon

Kill Switch

What do you do when the power goes off?

A terrorist group has acquired one hundred E-bombs. Each bomb’s electromagnetic pulse is powerful enough to blow out all power and all technology from a major city. The terrorists plan to hit one hundred American cities in a campaign of destruction. Word has gotten out about the coming blackout and gangs, criminals and terrorist strike teams are poised to attack when the lights go out.

Joe Ledger knows how to stop them. He has the names, locations, abort codes. But a targeted EMP weapon kills the electronics aboard his plane. Joe crashes in the deepest and most remote part of the vast rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. Joe and his combat dog, Ghost, survive the crash -but they are lost in the wilderness with no weapons and no way to get the information to the authorities.

Time is running out. And Joe is being hunted by a terrifying new kind of assassin. A team of remote viewers have the ability to take over any person and turn ordinary citizens into killers.

Joe and Ghost may have to kill the innocent in order to save the entire country from falling during a night of darkness and mass murder.Book cover for Kill Switch

–S&S–

Kill Switch Review

I was a bit nervous to pick up Kill Switch. I wasn’t overly impressed with Predator One, and there have been a few other books in the series that didn’t really thrill me. They were still interesting listens, because Ray Porter does an amazing job narrating the series, but the story lines themselves were extremely predictable and it was getting old fast.

Thank Cthulhu (literally), Kill Switch was different. Maberry leans closer to the horror side of things than he ever has in this book. Sure, there’s been zombies, vampires, and so forth, but they’ve always been a bit neutered. It tends to make the Joe Ledger series very hard to classify beyond ‘thriller’, because if you were to put it down exactly it would be something like “supernatural special ops thriller’ which still doesn’t describe exactly what you’re going to get when reading the series. In Kill Switch, Maberry brings in HP Lovecraft’s ever-popular mythos, and lets the Old Ones out to play. The DMS has been up against human evil, and tinges of the supernatural in the past, but this? This is so much more than that.

Kill Switch brings Joe Ledger and the rest of Echo team to a point where hope seems to be lost. Joe, Top, and Bunny (especially Top and Bunny) get their feet swept out from under them in a way that a few days (or weeks) in the hospital isn’t going to fix. And though Maberry’s characters have survived stuff that would have broken other people time and time again with little in the way of mental scarring to show for it, the events in Kill Switch show that they are all truly human. Except for Mr. Church, because who knows what in the world that dude is at this point. (I kind of want to know exactly what is going on with Church, but at the same time I hope I never find out – if that makes any sense at all.)

As usual, even though he might fumble the minute details, the web that Maberry weaves is truly a wicked one indeed. While threads from previous cases are present in Kill Switch, there is one particular person that is blessedly absent. (Sebastian Gault was one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever known.) Though Maberry continues the familiar format of alternating hero and villain sections, in Kill Switch it has a slightly different flavor to it which is decidedly refreshing. The flashes into the future were intriguing, too. Was Maberry setting the stage for future books? Probably. We’ll have to see.

Overall, Kill Switch was a much-needed unexpected delight. Jonathan Maberry delivered a story that kept me on the edge of my seat, deprived me of sleep, and got him cursed at a few times. His habit of getting right to the point of a piece of action happening and then showing us a peek into the past sometimes drives me to the point of screaming into pillows. I already have Dogs of War lined up, but I’m nervous about reading it now. But not for the same reason I was nervous to read Kill Switch. Quite frankly, I’m afraid to read Dogs of War because I don’t see how it’s going to be anything but middling in comparison to the awesomeness that was Kill Switch.

Jonathan Maberry and Ray Porter delivered a fantastic experience yet again. Definitely recommend giving this series a go! If you haven’t read any of it yet, please start with the first book,  Patient Zero.

5 thoughts on “Kill Switch (Joe Ledger #8) Review

    1. I really would start with Patient Zero, which is the first book. It’s definitely not necessary to read all of them, but I think to really get a feel for the characters, start there.

  1. Nice post, Lilyn.
    I enjoyed this too via audible.
    Like you, I’m also leery of Mayberry’s other novels, so I think I’ll play it safe and try his ‘special ops’ short story collection instead.

    1. Thanks, Trey! He definitely gives a mixed bag when it comes to writing. I haven’t listened to any of his special ops short stories yet, but mainly just because I don’t particularly enjoy shorts.

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