by Jonathan Maberry
Griffin (imprint, St. Martin’s Press)
Fictional action hero, Joe Ledger barely has time to change his socks before the DMS is faced with a new threat from morally corrupt madmen. Maberry brings back the tough guy with issues for a second round in The Dragon Factory.
Complete with new diseases, clones, super soldiers, and a Nazi legacy, The Dragon Factory kicks the action into high gear. This time Ledger and his team face multiple threats and they have no clue how bad things are going to get. But that’s the way they roll. Even with the powerful super computer, MindReader, the DMS normally doesn’t know the full extent of the terrorist plot until it’s nearly D-day.
The Dragon Factory doesn’t go as heavy into the science this time, but the martial arts and weaponry info still coats the book like foam on a cappuccino. If you compiled all the weaponry and special equipment listed in this books it would read like the inventory of Area 51. That Ledger always seems to have just the right equipment he needs, or pulls of the perfect move to kill the bad guys in the nick of time, can be a little hard to believe at times. Maberry handles the situation with the ease of a pro. He explains weapons and equipment by giving Mr. Church (head of the DMS) a convenient “friend in the industry”. And considering Ledger’s considerate training and the deadliness of the warrior side of his personality it’s natural he’d be able to land an accurate karate chop to the bad guy’s throat.
The varying levels of Ledger’s personality (the warrior, the cop, and the guy just trying to survive the day with some humanity intact) and their struggle for control, is one of the things that makes the character feel real. In this book Maberry gives Ledger an office romance to contend with, which in his line of work can be as deadly as the Ebola Virus. Ledger wants to think that it’s only sex with Major Grace Courtland, the second-in-command at the DMS warehouse headquarters. Except he’s feeling stuff he hasn’t felt since his teenage love. His friend and shrink’s advice is to go with it, enjoy the good things in life for once. The problem is their job puts Grace in constant danger, her life is at risk with every mission.
It doesn’t assure our hero that she’s safe when Mr. Church’s friends from his mysterious past start showing up dead. If the DMS can’t keep them safe, how can they protect Grace when she has to come face-to-face with the killers?
But the DMS has an ally this time, one inside the bad guy’s organization. And their little bird is singing the song of racial genocide. Greed competes with the mandate of the Third Reich in this new race against time. One organization uses genetics to create an army for the highest bidder. The other is looking to pave the way for the rise of the Aryan race.
Maberry knows how to play on the emotions of his readers and The Dragon Factory is great example of his abilities. It’s a sequel worth reading. If you weren’t hooked on the adventures of Joe Ledger after reading Patient Zero, you will be with this one.
Have you read The Dragon Factory yet? What did you think of it?