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Atticus Kodiak 1 & 2,
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This review is from: Keeper/Finder (Atticus Kodiak Novels) (Paperback)
Greg Rucka is best know as a writer of comic strips, including Queen and Country, though he does write novels, including the Atticus Kodiak series.
It was a canny move to publish these two books together. They are the first two in a series of seven (to date) novels featuring Kodiak. The entire sequence does not currently seem to be in print, but it is easy enough to pick up the missing titles second hand.
Atticus is a former soldier, now freelance bodyguard. In Keeper he finds himself protecting a doctor at risk from rabid anti-abortion campaigners, in the second he gets caught up with a rogue SAS cell. Technically the first is probably the better novel, but frankly the second is much the more entertaining. Atticus has a smart mouth on him, frequently has a short temper, and is refreshingly fallible with a realistically complicated personal life. There is a large cast of recurring characters, who add value to the story.
Writing from the point of view of a bodyguard is an unusual choice, it is a reactive role, perpetually on edge, hoping that it will be dull. Rucka uses this well, and intersperses action with personal detail and technical explanations. Very seldom does it read as contrived or unrealistic, though he has the SAS men using words like trooper and derrick, when they would say squaddie and rig, as well as having them pretty much handing out business cards to let everyone know that they are SAS. UK readers might also find the criticism of the SAS and the first novel's focus on far right anti abortion campaigners a bit alienating, but as American novels go it is not too parochial.
The first novel ends abruptly and it is impossible to resist just carrying on reading the second, which picks up a few months after the events in the first novel. I have not read the subsequent volumes, but I've got them on order. I am not a big thriller reader, but these really are first rate, recommended.