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Literature / Atticus Kodiak

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A series of novels featuring bodyguard Atticus Kodiak, written by Greg Rucka. The series began as a crime drama/police procedural focusing on the work of a professional protection specialist, but as the series goes on it morphs into an espionage drama focused on the life and work of professional assassins.

Novels featuring Atticus Kodiak:

  • Keeper (1996): Atticus is hired to protect a woman who will speak at an abortion conference.
  • Finder (1997): Atticus tries to protect the runaway daughter of his former commanding officer.
  • Smoker (1998): Atticus gets a chance to rehabilitate his reputation as a bodyguard when he is hired to protect a witness in a high-profile tobacco lawsuit.
  • Shooting At Midnight (1999): Atticus merely guest-stars as Rucka turns most of the narration duties over to Bridgett Logan, Atticus's ex-girlfriend. Bridgett must deal with the demons of her past when a close friend asks Bridgett to help her murder someone.
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  • Critical Space (2001): While guarding a British Royal, Atticus is offered a job by the expert assassin known only as "Drama".
  • Patriot Acts (2007): The story involves the aftermath of the climax of Critical Space and follows Atticus and Drama over the next three years as they seek revenge for several attempts on their lives, and the death of their friend, Natalie Trent.
  • Walking Dead (2009): While living in hiding with Alena ("Drama" in earlier titles), Atticus witnesses the murder of a neighbor family and kidnapping of their daughter. In effort to find the missing girl, Atticus must infiltrate the seedy world of international human trafficking.


The novels provide examples of:

  • Action Girl: Bridget Logan and Natalia in the first few novels. Alena later on.
  • Affably Evil: The assassin code-named "Oxford."
  • The Bad Guy Wins: More like the Bad Guy Forces a Draw; in Keeper, Critical Space, and Patriot Acts, the bad guys get theirs, but the cost to Kodiak and his friends is devastating.
  • Character Development: The character of Kodiak by the seventh book has very little in common with the character at the start of the first book.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Bridget Logan gets a whole novel about hers. Alena is a Ukranian orphan, trained by the Soviet Union to be a covert assassin, and understandably has some issues.
  • Downer Ending: All of the Kodiak novels, except for Smoker, end with a downer. Shooting at Midnight is only marginally a Kodiak novel, which may be why it has a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Bridget Logan. Shooting at Midnight is devoted to exploring it.
  • Friend on the Force: Played straight with Kodiak's Surfer Dude FBI contact. Averted in Patriot Acts, which deals heavily with Big Brother Is Watching.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. The first novel, Keeper begins with Kodiak going with his then-girlfriend to an abortion clinic. Then the clinic doctor finds out what line of work he's in and hires him to protect her and her daughter.
  • Killed Off for Real: Let's put it like this: This is a series that had a large stable of supporting characters who appeared in each story. By the end of Patriot Acts, all but three of them are dead.
  • Meaningful Name: Atticus Kodiak is named after one of the greatest heroes of 20th century literature and a giant bear.
  • Shoot the Dog: In Patriot Acts, Kodiak must shoot the father of his dead partner execution style as part of an elaborate ruse to to lure the man responsible for his partner's death into a false sense of security. It doesn't make it better that the father is in on it, in fact that almost makes it worse
  • Shown Their Work: Rucka is well known for the massive amount of technical detail he pours into his work, and the novels are the most triumphant example. However, unlike certain techno-thriller authors, he manages to give this information without it disrupting the flow of his sparse and naturalistic prose.
  • Wham Episode: Critical Space is the point where everything changes for Kodiak and the series shifts gears.

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