Joe Ledger is the protagonist of a series of military/Horror/Speculative Fiction thrillers written by Jonathan Maberry.Troubled Baltimore Police Officer Joseph Ledger is man with an Army background and a painful past. After helping foil a major crime in his home city, he is approached by a man known only as Mr. Church, who offers him the opportunity to head up his own team on a special task force branch of the Department of Homeland Security.Joe, intrigued, joins up and gets his best friend and therapist Rudy involved as well. He hand picks from the recruits a number of men, including Bradley "Top" Sims and Harvey "Bunny" Rabbit. They are then sent out to stop terrorist cells from doing things that could literally end the world. But these terrorist cells take terror to a new level, often using Mad Science to duplicate monsters usually only ever conceived in supernatural fiction and folklore.The series currently consists of:
The Dragon Factory
The King of Plagues
The Assassin's Code
The chronological order of the series goes: Patient Zero, Zero Tolerance, then Material Witness, Deep, Dark, The Dragon Factory, Countdown, The King of Plagues, The Assassin's Code, Borrowed Power, Extinction Machine.
The Joe Ledger series contains examples of the following tropes:
Action Girl: Any female who becomes a Love Interest for Joe once he's an adult: Grace, Violin. Even the usually pacifist Jeanie gets in on the act.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In Extinction Machine, DMS headquarters is destroyed by bombs made of alien Phlebotinum, and about 200 people are killed.
Almost Kiss: Played with. Joe stops himself from kissing Violin, and she becomes offended thinking that her half-vampire nature has disgusted him, knowing now what he knows about the full vampire race. But he stopped her because of two reasons: he'd eaten garlic due to having to face the full vampires and thus had terrible bad breath, and also as a half-vampire, he was afraid he would cause her harm through the same allergic reaction to it. When she found out the real reason, she laughed.
Arbitrary Skepticism: Joe admits that although he has fought zombies, mutants, and clones, that he has a really, really difficult time embracing the idea that vampires are real. And then the aliens showed up...
Bug Buzz: Noises heard by Joe, Top and Bunny in "Deep, Dark", as a result of the work going on there.
Chessmaster: Hugo Vox in Assassins's Code, who delights in manipulating all the players into a Let's You and Him Fight situation. However, he does not live to enjoy the fruits of his labors, since Mr. Church tracks him down and kills him.
Cloning Blues: 82 after he discovered that he is a clone of Josef Mengele
Code Name: Used by the DMS teams and by Arklight's operatives.
Disposable Woman: Played with. Joe's first girlfriend Helen was raped when they were young teenagers, and suicided some years later. Joe still has nightmares, but doesn't become overbearing protective to the women he ends up attracted to once he's an adult.
Evil-Detecting Dog: Joe's dog Ghost subverts the trope. He's just a military trained German Shephard trained for bomb detection, body detection, and attack. Some of the enemies act like he really is such a dog.
Split Personality: Joe Ledger. However, he has worked it out in such a way that the three personalities tend to work together, like a committee. The Civilian keeps him sane, The Cop Works things out and when the Warrior gets let out, someone is going to get hurt.