cover image Code Zero

Code Zero

Jonathan Maberry. St. Martin’s Griffin, $15.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-1-250-03343-7

Bestseller Maberry’s sequel to 2009’s Patient Zero, his sixth starring Joe Ledger of the ultrasecret Department of Military Science (after 2013’s Extinction Machine), does a good job of making its variation on the zombie menace plausible. A copy of VaultBreaker, “the absolute bleeding edge of cybersecurity technology,” designed to keep America’s foes from turning off its energy grid, has fallen into the wrong hands—specifically, those of an Asian woman who calls herself Mother Night, the liaison to a team of cyberhackers from China and other unfriendly foreign countries. Ledger and his team take what appear to be successful steps to thwart the threat posed by these hackers, but his optimism proves to be ill-founded. The Berserkers, monsters believed to have been wiped out, resurface and go on the attack, spreading infections that turn people into ravenous killers. Maberry’s shout-outs to popular culture’s depictions of zombies lessens the tension and feeling of doom, albeit just slightly. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger Inc. (Mar.)