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Walking Dead (2009)

Walking Dead

Walking Dead

In this explosive new thriller, Greg Rucka, the acclaimed author of Shooting at Midnight and Patriot Acts, sets bodyguard-turned-international-fugitive Atticus Kodiak on a one-man crusade where being willing to die for your ideals isn’t enough. You have to be willing to do much worse….

I will take your place in times of danger.

As an ex-bodyguard, Atticus Kodiak knew the sentiment well. He’d once based his career on it. Now it could cost him more than just his livelihood–more than even his life. For as he wakes to the sound of gunfire, the nightmare is about to begin again.

Atticus knew very well that people came to a place like Kobuleti to hide. After all, that’s why he and Alena Cizkova had come to the secluded Georgian town in the former U.S.S.R. But Atticus never asked his friend and neighbor Bakhar Lagidze why he was in Kobuleti or what he might be hiding from. Now it’s too late. Bakhar and his family have been brutally murdered, and the thuggish local police chief has declared it a murder-suicide. Everyone–even Alena–seems satisfied to leave it at that.

Except for Atticus.

He knows what the police won’t acknowledge: that one person survived the bloodbath in the Lagidze household–their fourteen-year-old daughter. And the nightmare she’s about to experience will make her wish she’d died with the rest.

To rescue her Atticus must enter a web that takes him from Russia to Istanbul, that stretches from Dubai to Las Vegas. But what troubles Atticus the most is that Alena–once one of the world’s most dangerous assassins and a woman who fears nothing–is clearly terrified of what he’s uncovered. And as Atticus gets closer to learning why, the closer he gets to destroying the life they have made, and each other.

Read an excerpt on Greg’s blog.

Reviews

In Rucka’s adrenaline-filled seventh novel to feature ex-bodyguard Atticus Kodika (after Patriot Acts), Atticus and his ex-assassin lover, Alena Cizkova, are living under assumed names in the remote town of Kobuleti in the Republic of Georgia. When the family of their next-door neighbor, Bakhar Lagidze, is slaughtered and Bakhar’s 14-year-old daughter, Tiasa, is kidnapped, Atticus vows to do anything to get her back. After discovering Tiasa was sold to pay off her father’s debt, Atticus reluctantly immerses himself in the seedy world of human trafficking, which takes him across Eastern Europe to Nevada, with stops in Dubai and Amsterdam along the way. When the men he’s chasing target Alena for retribution, she too goes on the run, with help from an unlikely source: hard-nosed New York PI—and Atticus’s ex-lover—Bridgett Logan, last seen in Critical Space. Series fans who have come to expect a nonstop thrill ride with a topical angle won’t be disappointed.

—Publisher’s Weekly

The evolution of Atticus Kodiak continues. In the beginning (Keeper, for example, from 1996), Atticus was a professional bodyguard, a man who knew how to use his intellect and physical strength to maximum advantage. But, by Patriot Acts (2007), Atticus was a fugitive, running from people who wanted to see him dead. Now he’s hiding in a small town in Georgia, the former Soviet country, living with Alena Cizkova, the former professional assassin and the love of his life. When a neighbour’s family is horribly murdered and their 14-year-old daughter abducted, Atticus risks his own life and his relationship with Alena to find the girl. Like Jack Bauer in the hit TV series 24, Atticus has almost completed the transition from protector to vigilante. As we watch him edge ever closer to the moral line that divides heroes from villains, we worry that his inner turmoil will tear him apart. And that may be the clearest sign that Rucka has created a classic character: we are emotionally invested in Atticus and his fate. A fine installment in a terrific series.

—David Pitt for Booklist

In his seventh outing (Patriot Acts, 2007, etc.), Atticus Kodiak goes after sexual predators and kills them deliciously.

It’s been four years since Atticus and his beloved Alena have practiced their respective crafts: He’s a professional bodyguard, she’s a professional killer. Now that both of their vocations have generated resourceful and implacable enemies, they’ve been lying low in rustic climes. Other similarly minded souls, Atticus knows, have sought peace, quiet and a low profile in the town of Kobuleti in the former Soviet satellite of Georgia. Some, however, are less successful at hiding than others—like Bakhar Lagidze and his family, friends of Atticus and Alena. One harrowing night assassins catch up with them, break into their home and gun down Bakhar, his wife and their eight-year-old boy. Their 14-year-old daughter Tiasa is kidnapped for purposes that seem chillingly obvious. Earlier that day, Tiasa had shyly asked Atticus to dance with her. Now her life will be devoted to a series of ugly command performances. Though Atticus acknowledges that “I was, in so many ways, a bad man,” he realizes that he has no choice but to go after her. Over the objections of Alena, who correctly sees their own hard-earned security at risk, he does. It’s a search that takes him to distant and unlikely places: Turkey, Dubai, Las Vegas. He enters a world where children, particularly female children, are bought and sold by brutes to whom money is the only morality. At length, with the aid of friends and the occasional well-disposed stranger, Atticus is successful. He finds Tiasa, bruised but somehow not broken, and works rough justice in a climactic, satisfactorily bloody confrontation.

Only Lee Child’s Jack Reacher thins the bottom-feeder population with as much brio as Atticus.

–Kirkus Starred Review