Rucka, Greg. Critical Space. Bantam. Oct 2001. c368p. ISBN 0-553-80132-5. $23.95. Fiction.

In his fifth novel, Rucka (Shooting at Midnight) immerses readers in the intriguing world of protection agencies. Atticus Kodiak has been hired to protect Lady Ainsley-Hunter, a social activist who appears to be the target of a sex-crazed follower. Instead, she is kidnapped by an assassin sought and employed by intelligence agencies under the code name Drama. Drama is a hit woman with whom Kodiak has tangled in the past, and he is forced to take on Drama as a client in order to save Lady Ainsley-Hunter. Drama, a Russian orphan raised as Alena before being trained to kill, is herself the target of a highly skilled assassin known as Oxford. Together Atticus and Drama/Alena must survive while attempting to ferret out the individuals behind Oxford. A strong premise, interesting details of the trade, and an engaging protagonist ultimately fade away, owing to long stretches given over to the endless movement of bodyguards, agents, and suspects, and a villain who fails to come to life. Recommended, however, for larger collections of popular fiction.

LJ, vol. 126, no. 16 (September 15, 2001), 114.

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