Critical Space

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by Greg Rucka

For Atticus Kodiak, trading his life for that of the client he was hired to protect is a commitment of honor.

But when his client’s abductor — a renowned assassin-for-hire who nearly killed him in a previous encounter — makes him a professional proposal, his world turns upside down and inside out.

The term “critical space” refers to the space between two people in which one can kill the other. Between Atticus and his nemesis, Drama, it also means the closeness that can dissolve self and integrity.

When his friends and associates — sniper Natalie Trent, on-again-off-again lover Bridgett Logan, adopted sister Erika Wyatt, friend FBI Special Agent Scott Fowler and former SAS operative Robert Moore — discover what happened after Kodiak was kidnapped by Drama, they also have to decide where they stand.

Critical Space is ultimately a tango between characters that explores the thin line between a bodyguard who kills and an assassin who wants to walk away and live; a government that enforces laws and hires killers to enforce its goals; and enemies as risk of becoming lovers. Atticus, Drama, Erika and every member of Atticus’s security team has different answers to what is possible, desirable, survivable or acceptable.

Atticus is a character in the same vein as Lee Child’s Jack Reacher or John Puller in  Zero Day by David Baldacci — but with more doubts and more complexities.

This is great entertainment with some haunting elements — and some aspects of character that tease suspension of disbelief. Great summer vacation reading or escape from the stresses of ordinary life.

Rucka’s writing is crisp and fresh. Although this book comes in the middle of a series, it’s not vital to have read all the books in sequence.

Critical Space is the fifth book in Rucka’s Atticus Kodiak series.  The series in order is:

  • Keeper (1997)
  • Finder (1998). Erika Wyatt, daughter of an Army colonel Atticus was once responsible for guarding is being stalked by a commando with cold eyes and a wicked blade. Currently working as a bouncer at a hard-core club on New York’s Lower West Side, the need to protect Erika draws him back into personal security work.
  • Smoker (1999). Atticus’ job of protecting a man with an explosive story to tell in a courtroom, finds himself pitted against one of the world’s most dangerous assassins.
  • Shooting at Midnight (2000). In this book, the focus is on Bridget Logan.
  • Critical Space (2003).
  • Patriot Acts (2008). Once the adversary of professional assassins, Atticus learns he’s been mistakenly identified as one of the world’s most wanted assassins.
  • Walking Dead (2010). Hiding with his former nemesis Alena Cizkova in a Georgian town in the former U.S.S.R., Atticus learns his neighbor Bakhar Lagidze and all his family except his 14-year-old daughter have been murdered. The girl was kidnapped and Atticus is drawn in to find her.

The Author: Gregory “Greg” Rucka

A comic book writer and novelist, Rucka was born in San Francisco and and grew up in Steinbeck country on the Monterey Peninsula. He began writing young and at age 10 won a county-wide short story contest.

He worked on Action Comics, Batwoman, Detective Comics and the miniseries Superman: World of New Krypton for DC Comics.  His novels include the Atticus Kodiak series, the Jad Bell series, and three other books: Fistful of Rain, A Gentleman’s Game and Private Wars.  The latter two tie into his comic book series Queen & Country. 

In 2010, he left DC Comics to focus on his own projects. In 2011, he launched the webcomic Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, a steampunk adventure series illustrated by Rick Burchett.  New installments appear every Monday and Thursday. Two years later he launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of a print edition of Lady Sabre.

After graduating from Vassar College with a degree in English, he enrolled in the University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Wirting program, earning a master of fine arts.  Hesadi Douglas Adams is his biggest influence.

Besides being a writer, he has been a house painter, restaurant worker, emergency medical technician, security guard, technical writer and fight choreographer. Those jobs helped give his writing the detailed realism he is known for.


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