The first thing I have to point out is that "Assassins Code" is the fourth in this devourable series so if you haven't read the others then type in "Patient Zero" immediately and buy it! However, if you're already on the DMS band-wagon then you'll be glad to know that Joe is back with another monster who wants a piece of him.
So you might remember from the previous books that Joe and Echo team (Top, Bunny and co) have had a hell of a year fighting zombies, genetically messed up siblings and every other terrorist out to destroy the world but this time it's the stuff of nightmares that he has to deal with - and I'm not just talking about the nuclear bombs planted all of the world waiting to go Kaboom!
Now I say you "might remember" because if you can't remember what happened in the previous books I'd recommend you go back and read them (or at the very least read the previous one). I say this because I started to read "Assassins Code" and things were being said that I could ALMOST remember but I just had that niggling feeling that I'd be missing important bits if I didn't go back and read the others. BUT, I was stubborn and continued reading (mostly because I couldn't tear myself away from it) and I slowly, and I mean sloooowly, began to remember things.
So with all that said, you want to know what Joe's up against this time right? Well you won't be disappointed. Personally I loved "Patient Zero", Joe's first mission fighting zombies, and since then I haven't really found the remaining two books to be quite as good - although they were close. Now with the addition of vampires (and not quite the traditional ones) it's up to Joe, and us, to figure out if we really believe they can be real. Are the myths just a deterrent to scare us off? Are they genetically engineered to look this way? Or are they born like that? Well that's up to you to find out but there's just a taster of the questions Maberry has in store this time around.
So what about Joe? Is he still the same sarcastic smart-mouth guy we've all come to love? Kind of...and this is what left me a little disappointed to begin with. Don't get me wrong, he still cracks me up frequently but the first quarter of the book was a bit slow. Nevertheless, after that portion of the book he comes back in full force and actually, given the kind of year we're led to believe he's had it's not surprising he's a bit unstable. My favourite thing about Joe is his ability to be funny in even the most frightening situations - not sure I'd be insulting a fanged attacker but that's another story all together.
But it's not just Joe who sells these books for me, the additional characters are brilliant. This time we have the same recurring characters as before including Church (or any of the remaining code names he goes by), Circe (his insanely smart daughter), Rudy (Joe's psychiatrist best friend) and not to mention Ghost (everyone's favourite white dog). But we also meet a few new characters, most notably Violin - or at least that's what we think her name is. Now she IS in an interesting character but you'll have to find out why for yourself! Of course, we musn't get too attached to some of our favourites and this book is riddled with murders.
So other than the slightly unavoidable decline in Joe's mental state (which admittedly adds to his backstory and makes him a more complex character) I couldn't find many faults. I will say though, and this is the reason for my four stars, this books took quite a bit of getting into. The first few chapters were ridiculously good but once we hit some of the interludes which date quite far back I began to lose interest a bit and wanted to get back to Joe. I'm not sure I would put this up there with "Patient Zero" but it's still brilliant, you should still read it and if I haven't managed to convince you yet then read the opening lines:
"She said, "Look down at your chest".
I held the cell phone to my ear as I bent my head. Two red dots, quivering slightly, danced right over my heart.
"You are one second away from death" said the caller."
Let it never be said that Maberry can't drag you into a book with his opening lines - after all, it's the reason most of us picked up "Patient Zero" in the first place. Get yourself a copy, it's worth it. Hope this helps.