My husband first tuned me into Greg Rucka's Atticus Kodiak series. I admit to being skeptical. A series about a bodyguard was not really up my alley, but if my husband said I would like it, why not give it a try? Although I enjoyed the first book in the series, Keeper, it left something to be desired, and I had my doubts that this series was for me. I was determined to keep reading, however, and am so glad I did.
Finder by Greg Rucka
Bantam Books, 1997
Suspense/Thriller; 320 pgs
After his last assignment, bodyguard Atticus Kodiak has lost his way. Barely scraping by, he’s working as a bouncer as an S&M club in New York. One night he happens to see a former charge of his being approached by a dangerous looking man. The club is no place for a 15 year old and Atticus quickly steps in to intervene. He suddenly finds himself embroiled in a bitter custody battle, blackmail scheme and up against some of the most elite former British military officers around. Atticus will do anything to protect Erika Wyatt, even if it costs him his life.
Finder was a much more enjoyable thriller than it’s predecessor, Keeper. It seemed more polished and the story was much more exciting. Atticus proves yet again he is not a man who can be easily kept down, although I do have to wonder how he keeps up his stamina even after taking so many physical blows.
Smoker by Greg Rucka
Ballatine Books, 2006
Crime Fiction S/T; 395 pgs
Atticus Kodiak does not want charity from the father of the woman he has been seeing, but when the principal requests that he take the job, Atticus reluctantly says yes. It starts out as a simple baby-sitting gig: Atticus and a team of Sentinel Guards are to protect a wealthy man from the family of his former girlfriend. Everything is not what it seems, however, and Atticus quickly discovers that he has not only been played, but he is also drawn into something much more sinister and dangerous. One of the most dangerous assassins is targeting Atticus’ latest assignment.
The third installment in the series is the best yet. There is a part of me that is turned off by all the testosterone in the Atticus Kodiak series, but the books certainly do not lack in the suspense department. Smoker proved to be an entertaining and fun reading experience. Atticus continues to try and build up his reputation, blaming himself for past mistakes even though in truth, he had little control over what had gone wrong. As the series progresses, he is a much more human and real character and less of an action figure, although there is still plenty of that to go around. Readers see more of Natalie Trent, one of the strong female protagonists of the series that you do not want to mess with, in this novel.
Critical Space by Greg Rucka
Bantam Book, 2001
Crime Fiction S/T; 490 pgs*
In Critical Space, business could not be better for Kodiak Atticus and his team of Protective Service Agents, otherwise known as bodyguards. After a successful and well publicized save of an important principal, the team has attracted the attention of the rich and famous, and babysitting movie stars and the like seem to be the order of the day. Suddenly, however, Atticus’ world is turned upside down when he is drawn into the web of one of the most dangerous assassins, one he tangled with before and nearly lost his life to. This time, the assassin needs his help for the assassin’s life is on the line and the killer-for-hire knows there is no one more loyal and skilled at his job than Atticus.
Atticus has more of an edge towards the end of this novel, having gone through quite a bit. While at the core he maintains the same values and ideals, he has changed and is not quite the man he once was. He’s more of a threat to those who step in his way. A part of me likes this new side of Atticus, but I also worry at the direction he is going.
Critical Space is fast-paced and at times chilling. Greg Rucka puts his characters in the frying pan and no one is safe. The series takes a serious turn in this novel and is no longer just a suspense thriller series about a bodyguard protecting his principal. Critical Space takes it up a notch introducing government espionage and conspiracy.
*First Chunkster Challenge 2008 Selection