Apr 10 2015

Ledger

Adel Gabot

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I got a copy this morning of Jonathan Maberry’s latest potboiler, Predator One. It was just released a couple of days ago, and I figured I’d get it early.

It’s the, what, seventh book in the series? It features the continuing adventures of Joe Ledger and his team of top agents in the DMS, foremost of which are Top Sims and “Bunny” Rabbit, hardy survivors of the bloodshed they’re constantly exposed to. Tons of people have passed through and passed away, often in a gory manner, but these three remain stubbornly alive.

Actually, I’d grown pretty selective about my reading materials these days.

I remember devouring books like trashy Six Million Dollar Man novelizations in my youth (I sometimes read two of them a day, believe it or not), to Frank Herbert’s Dune (which I still try to read once a year) and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings in college, and then later in life the novels of David Foster Wallace and Haruki Murakami, and the crazy-quilt books of Chuck Palahniuk.

A constant companion, though, was Stephen King books, which I read as soon as they came out. The man’s an artist, despite his favorite subject matter. Or inspite of it. (Although in his old age he’s become creatively threadbare and repetitive; I prefer his older books. But he’s still a master.) My writing, to a very great deal, was inspired, shaped and affected by King.

Since then I’d come full circle and become very picky about what I read these days. I let pass the big, pedestrian bestsellers, books like Fifty Shades of Gray and Gone Girl and the like. I sometimes break protocol and read a few, like Andy Weir’s The Martian and Ernie Cline’s Ready Player One, but those are few and far between.

But I can’t pass up these “serialized” action books by Maberry. They may be shallow and trashy, contrived and predictable, but still I read them. And enjoy them enormously.

I got started with Maberry with his first Ledger adventure, Patient Zero, when I was starting my work in ABS-CBN Publishing. A real, paperbound book back then, in the days before my Kindle. (I even remember lending it to an officemate, Stef Juan, and then feeling antsy because she didn’t return it right away.) Then it led to his next book, and then his next, until here we are with his seventh in the series.

I’m not a fan of his other work, though. I don’t like the Rot and Ruin and the Dead of Night books, for instance. Just the Joe Ledger novels. Funny, huh?

In these books, Jonathan Maberry usually writes in the first person, in Joseph Ledger’s voice, and he writes cleanly and clearly, which, as a writing style, is sorely lacking in the writers of today. If Maberry feels he can accomplish a chapter in just one sentence, he does just that. Very refreshing. Sometimes I feel like I could finish a book of his in one sitting, and then spend days re-reading the good parts.

And he’s a man’s man as far as his writing is concerned. No-holds-barred, over-the-top action sequences that take your breath away while at the same time you marvel at its audacity and near-ridiculousness. And you just keep coming back for more.

I just started reading Predator One, and I’m already at Chapter Six.

It’s going to be a fun weekend.