Smoker (Atticus Kodiak Novels)

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9780553107166: Smoker (Atticus Kodiak Novels)

Greg Rucka has won national acclaim for his two gripping thrillers, Finder and Keeper, which have been hailed as "impressive" (People), "remarkable" (The Orlando Sentinel), and "full of surprises" (The Houston Chronicle).  Now, in Rucka's most explosive novel to date, professional bodyguard Atticus Kodiak returns to confront an enemy without conscience or mercy--a master of manipulation, a pure connoisseur of killing.

For a professional bodyguard, there's nothing worse than being tagged as a man who attracts danger.  But after his last job, that's just what they're saying about Atticus Kodiak.  In fact, there's only one person in the business willing to touch him with a ten-foot pole.  

An easy job, according to Elliot Trent, head of New York's biggest security firm: baby-sit a pampered playboy hiding from the angry brothers of an ex-playmate.  It's a job Kodiak finds himself forced to accept, a decision that draws him into a multimillion-dollar game of cat and mouse.

The mouse: Jeremiah Pugh, a material witness whose testimony can knock the legs out from beneath America's mighty tobacco industry.  Racked with guilt, Pugh may be his own worst enemy.

The cat: known only as John Doe, one of the Ten, designated by international law enforcement as one of the ten most dangerous contract killers in the world.  A ghost, unknown and unidentified, who changes with the wind and adapts to any situation.

Drawn into the field of fire by Elliot Trent, Atticus finds himself exactly where he doesn't want to be--between the killer and the target.  For Atticus and the assassin are bound by a common thread: their obsession to get the job done.

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.

In Smoker, Atticus Kodiak meets his match in a thriller of unrelenting suspense guaranteed to suck you in, blow you away, and leave you breathless--a novel that confirms Greg Rucka's place among today's top suspense writers.

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Review:

The subject is BGs--bodyguards--and Natalie Trent (bred and buttered in the personal security business, where her father, Elliot, is a top player) says to Atticus Kodiak, "You know what a bad reputation BGs have. Most people on the street think a BG is a muscle-bound heavy with mirror shades, undereducated and overarmed."

Atticus, of course--as readers of Greg Rucka's explosive and intelligent books about him (Finder and Keeper) already know--is none of the above. He does tend to get involved in running gun battles in heavily populated urban areas, however, and has lost a client or two in a shootout. No wonder the very slick Elliot Trent doesn't want him as an employee, let alone a son-in-law, in a case involving the protection of an eccentric scientist about to blow the whistle on a giant tobacco company. But Atticus worms his way in anyway--and the results are as exciting and packed with fascinating inside details of the BG trade as ever. 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 (or Jane) Doe keeps the tension wires at maximum tightness. Another fine performance from a writer ready to move up in weight and class. --Dick Adler

From the Publisher:

Praise for Greg Rucka's Keeper:

"An impressive debut...Keeper is one to hang on to."
--People

"Keeper is no ordinary thriller. It pulls at the heartstrings and brings tears to the eyes....A remarkable first novel."
--The Orlando Sentinel

Finder:

"[A] top-notch thriller...a powerhouse of a story that will leave readers gasping."
--Booklist

"Rucka blends Spillane's 'tough-guy' private eye with Chandler's noir insights and Hemingway's spartan expression....Once you've picked up this book, chances are you'll just keep going."
--Statesman Journal

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