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Patriot Acts    by Greg Rucka order for
Patriot Acts
by Greg Rucka
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Former bodyguard Atticus Kodiak and his lover Alena had once been bitter enemies, but after a series of betrayals, their relationship, as well as their former priorities, have changed. As the story opens Kodiak is about to stop an assassin known only as Oxford in a last ditch effort to protect Alena, 'the woman who has both destroyed my life and recreated it. The woman who, like Oxford, can bring death like birdsong on a breeze, who they call Drama because they don't know her real name'. Once the threat has been excised, Kodiak, Alena and a small phalanx of trusted associates retreat to a safe house to carry out the next phase of their plan. Oxford might be out of the picture, but not those who hired him. Kodiak is determined to draw their attention to him, and away from Alena. But another shocking betrayal results in a bloody ambush, and the death of a close and trusted friend.

Kodiak and Alena are forced into hiding to heal their physical and psychological wounds. But all the while, they and various shadowy contacts work to find their betrayer and those who engaged his services. When the time is right, they travel back to the States with a new plan in mind, but their enemies are one step ahead. As the net once again begins tightening, Kodiak has no choice but to enlist the aid of a bitter enemy whose thirst for vengeance is even greater than Kodiak's.

As my first foray into the shadowy world of former bodyguard Atticus Kodiak, I found Patriot Acts one of the most engrossing, edgy and provocative thrillers I've read in a good while. Clever and slick characterizations, dazzling action, sharp political observations and a crackerjack story line (all of which are presented in taut, Technicolor prose) make this a must read for die hard thriller fans - especially ones who enjoy stories brimming with various shades of gray. Rucka does a nice job filling in snippets of back story for readers like myself new to the Kodiak series. Even so, certain elements were still elusive, particularly the nuances of Kodiak and Alena's odd relationship - like how and why he's gone from hunting a woman recognized as one of the deadliest assassins alive to falling in love with and protecting her at all costs. I'm sure many questions will be answered once I track down the five books that precede Patriot Acts.

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