cover image Keeper


Greg Rucka. Bantam Books, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-10244-4

The world of the professional bodyguard provides the arena for this no-nonsense first novel. Atticus Kodiak, 28, is hired to protect Felice Romero, director of a Manhattan abortion clinic targeted by militant pro-lifers. The pros and cons of abortion are intelligently presented as Kodiak tries to protect his client and her daughter, who's afflicted with Down's syndrome. Soon the bodyguard, whose girlfriend has just undergone an abortion, finds himself personally committed to his client. Bomb threats, shootings and several murders, one particularly tragic, heat up the action, driving the narrative toward an explosive climax at a cemetery. Rucka's prose is clean and visual, his characterizations and dialogue are economical and his storytelling scoots along at a fast clip. A few top crime writers-Robert B. Parker in the Spenser series, for instance-have wandered into bodyguard territory. Rucka has the talent to make it his own, however, especially if he spins this trim tale into a series. (June)