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Smoker (1998)

Smoker Cover

Smoker Cover

Atticus Kodiak has been tagged as a man who attracts trouble. That’s bad for the bodyguard business. The only job he can get is supposed to be easy: baby-sit a pampered playboy hiding from the angry brothers of an ex-playmate. But someone had forgotten to tell Atticus a few relevant facts. Like how a material witness whose testimony can knock the legs out from beneath America’s mighty tobacco industry, figures into it all. Now Kodiak’s been drawn into the crossfire of a multimillion-dollar game of cat and mouse, pitted against one of the ten most dangerous assassins in the world, a ghost who changes with the wind and adapts to any situation. They have one thing in common. Neither will back down. It’s an obsession that will connect the assassin and the protector in the most intimate of relationships, anticipating each other’s moves, exploiting each other’s weaknesses, baring each other’s secrets, and raising the stakes in a game where the first player to flinch…dies.

Read an excerpt.

Release information

Bantam US hardcover November 1998 055310716X
Bantam US paperback September 1999 0553578294
Piatkus UK paperback June 1999 ISBN 0749931019 / 9780749931018
Recorded Books audio (unabridged) 2000 0788781014


Smoker hits the ground running on page one and continues to torque the suspense level up to a fever pitch that doesn’t relent until the final pages. Greg Rucka is a refreshingly bold talent. His hero, the tortured, courageous, and inventive Atticus Kodiak, is a great addition to thriller fiction.
—Dennis Lehane

A megathriller. Put Rucka on the short ‘must read’ list.
—The Philadelphia Inquirer

Outstanding…The characters are splendid, the action non-stop, and the writing first-rate. What more could you want?
—The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

Engaging…Suspense-filled…Smoker is one of those books that unfolds so vividly, it will give the reader the feeling that they saw the movie.
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Compelling…[Kodiak] is one of the more empathetic characters in contemporary thrillerdom.
—The Dallas Morning News

A can of narrative worms so deftly deployed that readers will bite nearly every hook. Rucka juggles a large cast and complex plot with aplomb and packs enough real action and character depth to please a wide audience. Every nuance from high-tech security gizmos to personality quirks, the New York setting, and the surprising range of women characters complicates and deepens Atticus’s victorious return.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

As exciting and packed with fascinating inside details…. Particularly entertaining is a scene where Atticus and Natalie are hired to test the security of a safe house, using everything from unordered pizzas to volleys of tennis balls to irritate the guards. And the presence of a very spooky world-class hired killer known only as John Doe keeps the tension wires at maximum tightness. Another fine performance from a writer ready to move up in weight and class.