Monday, November 19, 2007

Keeper by Greg Rucka

Keeper by Greg Rucka
Bantam, 1996
Suspense/Thriller; 332 pgs

Completed: 11/14/2007
Rating: 3 Stars* (Good)

First Sentence: Much as I wanted to, I didn’t break the guy’s nose.

Reason for Reading: My husband is a Greg Rucka fan and recommended I try this series. I have read the author's Queen and Country novels, which I really like, and so I figured it was worth a try.

From the Publisher: In a heartbeat, a crowded auditorium or a city street can become a kill zone, where life and death are separated by a split second. For Atticus Kodiak, professional bodyguard, the object is to keep people alive, and there is no margin for error. Now Kodiak faces his toughest challenge: to protect a woman and her daughter from a killer with a fanatic agenda of his own . . .

Comments: The above description of the novel does little to describe the plot, but it is a nice introduction. Atticus is hired by a doctor at a women’s clinic to protect her and her daughter. Dr. Felice Romero is receiving threatening letters and has serious concerns for her and her daughter’s safety preceding the Common Ground conference, where people from both sides of the abortion issue will meet to discuss a way of coexisting and exercising their right to be heard without violence. The threats have become increasingly more vicious and the violence becomes even more of a reality when it hits close to home for the doctor and Atticus’ team. A rather outspoken and more radical anti-abortion group has made a point of being visible and heard over the more peaceful, law abiding protesters, and the FBI, NYPD, and Atticus and his crew are quick to take notice.

Atticus Kodiak is only in his late twenties, but he knows his stuff. He's definitely a man's man. If ever I needed a bodyguard and I had the money to spare, I would not hesitate to call on his team. They are professional and skilled while also being personable. They take their jobs seriously and yet are not afraid to have fun while doing it.

I admit that at first I was put off by the chain-smoking doctor in the first chapter of the book. Perhaps I have gotten too used to the no smoking rules inside hospitals. A quick look at the publishing date of the book reminded me of my place in time, however it was not a good first impression of Dr. Romero.

Author Greg Rucka takes a big risk taking on the subject of abortion in his first novel in the series, but he manages to do a decent job of presenting both sides of the issue, even though it is clear which side the main character falls on from the first page. This novel is action driven—one event leads straight into the next and there’s hardly a time for rest. By the time the job was winding down, I was just as exhausted as the characters. Greg Rucka’s approach is hard hitting and comes across both in his writing and the characters' actions. There was a lot of action and very little in the way of character development in this first novel, however, by the end of the novel, I felt like I knew Atticus fairly well.

Is this a series I want to follow? I will be visiting Atticus again, although I cannot say the series would count among my favorites. Tara Chase from Queen and Country is much more up my alley.

Favorite Part: Felice’s daughter, Katie, was like a ray of sunshine amidst all that was going on in their lives. One of my favorite scenes was when Atticus and Katie first met and she told him not to swear.

A character I hope to see if I read more in the series is private investigator, Bridgett. She is persistent, strong, and intelligent. My kind of woman.

Least Favorite Part: I did not much care for Katie's mother, Felice Romero. Besides the smoking in the clinic, she came across as a rather cold person. I imagine some of that had to do with all she was and had been going through, but the glimpses into her past and her interactions with her daughter were not enough to draw me to her.

Be sure and check out the author's website for a closer look at Greg Ruck and his many works.

Miscellaneous: Ted over at Bookeywookey could use your help with his homework! He is a graduate student studying cognitive neuroscience and is conducting an online study about the experience of reading. If you love filling out questionnaires and surveys as much as I do, I recommend you take a look.


  1. Ah...Wendy, you have my curiosity piqued. ;P I might try reading this one, thanks for the great review!

  2. Melody - I hope you will enjoy it if you give it a try. My husband has enjoyed each book so far in the series. There are a couple of strong woman in the book, only one that the author lets us get to know somewhat.

  3. Sounds interesting, I haven't heard of this author before. Might tell my husband about it as it sounds like something he would enjoy reading.

  4. I'm not familiar with the author either, but the book does sound interesting. Strangely, I remember only one doctor smoking and that was actually in the examine room! That was it for me. He must have been a hundred years old even then...over 30 years ago. First and last visit.

  5. Sounds pretty interesting. I'd probably read it just because the main character is named Atticus!

  6. I can't get past the name — Atticus Kodiak. It turns me off, because it sounds so made up. I like characters with real sounding names, like people I'd really run into in my daily life.

  7. I always forget that only recently smoking has become almost a sin (the smell hurts my lungs so I try to stay as far away as I can) and that it was considered good for your health not too long ago until you read a book from before the early 90's.

  8. Karen must not run in my circles. I've known a Wolfgang, Viola, Herb, Sunshine, Merry..etc, etc. OTOH, I do live in the Bay Area.

    You could smoke in a hospital in 1996?

    Looks kind of entertaining though! I'm on an adventure kick.

  9. Rhinoa - I hate labeling a book to be more male oriented or female oriented, but I did get the feeling this book might appeal more to men in general. That isn't to say women can't enjoy it either, but, well you know what I mean. :-)

    Jenclair - I'm always so surprised when people say they aren't familiar with Greg Rucka. LOL My husband reminds me that I'm really only familiar with him because my he is a big fan of his graphic novels (and Queen and Country novels), and therefore, I hear the name all the time. That would explain it. :-)

    Stephanie - Atticus is a unique name. It fits him well.

    Karen - A friend and I had a conversation not too long ago about character names, and, like you, she is turned off by the more off the wall names. I can get past them, but only after some head shaking and maybe a slap on the forehead.

    Ladytink - I forget too. I am so used to the no smoking laws in California--it feels like its never been any different.

    Carrie - I wondered that too, but the clinic was in New York so maybe they were more liberal about smoking back then? I'm also not sure when he first wrote the book in comparison to the publishing date.

    I come across a lot of unusual names in my profession. And I have a friend named Liberty. :-)

  10. Carrie, a Wolfgang and Viola? I do know a couple of Herbs, but no Sunshine Merry, although I do have a friend whose name is Mari.

    At one of the newspapers I worked for, the woman who put in the baby announcements told me that many women were naming their children after soap opera characters, which is why all the spellings were different. They didn't "see" the names, they just herad them!

  11. of course I meant "heard." I think it's time to get some sleep :)

  12. Just followed the link for the survey to discover it's closed.

  13. Julie - Ted did close it, I see. It looks like he got many more responses than he imagined he might.

  14. Thanks for the review. Although it sounds interesting, I think I will pass. If I ever get caught up on my reading :), I'll try the series out.

  15. Framed - I sometimes wonder if I'll ever be able to read all the books I want too--and all the ones I don't yet know I want to. :-)


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