Let me start this by addressing what may well be the elephant in the room if you are of like mind with me, the cover art on this book is awful. Several people who have seen me reading the book have commented on how bad it is and placed me in the unenviable position of defending the book based entirely on how laughably bad the cover is.
Which is truly a shame as the book contained on the pages that follow the silly cover art is frankly quite good, easily one of the best in the entire series, making good on an arc that started in the first few books of the series.
For those who have never read one of these I can best summarize the feel of the series as what would happen if Tom Clancy and Stephen King collaborated. Terrorism, shadowy cabals, advanced technology gone wrong, weaponized pathogens, assassins and a character who may or may not be the literal embodiment of the Devil are all a part of the wild ride found within the pages of this book. The plot focuses on the DMS (Department of Military Sciences) facing a renewed threat from an organization they took down several books back, one that threatens to destroy America within and set the rest of the world figuratively ablaze with it. I evoked the Clancy name earlier but Maberry does an excellent job of not getting bogged down in the details while weaving an entertaining yarn about a group of badass men and women taking on evil folk hellbent on destruction. I would love to dive deeper into the various ins and outs of the plot but I fear doing so would spoil what is going on. I can safely say though that in a series that has had some far out there events in it, this one may well contain one of the more frighteningly “real” scenarios the series has concocted yet.
As with any long running series I highly recommend reading the past books before picking this one up as many of the plot points lack emotional impact if the characters involved are not familiar to you but as someone who has read this series since book one I was on the edge of my seat through most of the book, always waiting on the other shoe to drop. Also just to be clear this series is not classical literature and is more akin to fun summer blockbuster films than Oscar bait. These books are pure, fun rides that scratch a very specific itch. That said I’ve always found the exploits of Joe Ledger and his team to almost always be damn fun reads and think anyone looking for the written equivalent of a fun popcorn flick will enjoy these novels.
Final Verdict: 8 out of 10. If you are looking for a mindlessly fun and entertaining read check out Predator One. Jonathan Maberry has definitely done it again (which you’ll know if you pick up the rest of the series too).