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Alpha    by Greg Rucka order for
by Greg Rucka
Order:  USA  Can
Mulholland, 2012 (2012)
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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

If you're in the mood for a highly entertaining, action-packed adventure, then look no further than Greg Rucka's Alpha, which reminded me of both The Unit and Die Hard. In it, retired Delta Force operator, Master Sergeant Jonathan 'Jad' Bell goes undercover as head of security at WilsonVille, the largest theme park in the world, to foil an anticipated terrorist attack.

An employee of the park was recently murdered - did he see something he shouldn't have? As Bell settles into his new position, readers are introduced to a man now called Gabriel Fuller, long groomed by the Uzbek for his current role. The Uzbek represents an uber-powerful organization run by a shadowy figure. They sent Fuller to school, and settled him under his new name as a sleeper in Los Angeles. He joined the army for two tours of free training, studied at UCLA, and then he was ready for WilsonVille, where he took a summer job.

When Bell learns that his ex-wife Amy and deaf daughter Athena plan to visit the theme park, he tries to stop them, but fails. Of course, the day they pick is also the day the Uzbek unleashes Fuller. He and his men take hostages and threaten to detonate a dirty bomb in the park. Opposing them are Bell and a small number of his close associates. Bell wonders if the bad guys are really true believers, as 'They talk the talk ... But they're walking funny.' And Fuller is distracted by his girlfriend Dana's unplanned presence amongst the hostages.

Alpha is a violent thrill ride all the way through, laced with surprises. Bell has tough calls to make - when asked about the difficulty of making a choice between his job and the people he loves, he responds, 'My whole life has been that choice'. Fortunately, this book was the first in a new series so we have more of Jad Bell's exploits in store.

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