Professional bodyguard Kodiak is literally caught in the crossfire of a lethal child-custody fight involving the daughter of...

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Professional bodyguard Kodiak is literally caught in the crossfire of a lethal child-custody fight involving the daughter of a former client, in an uneven sequel to Rucka's equally uneven debut (Keeper, 1996). Employed as a bouncer at a tony New York bondage-and-discipline club, Kodiak rescues 15-year-old Erika Wyatt from a menacing encounter with a knife-wielding Brit. Erika is the prodigal daughter of the retired Colonel Wyatt, a sexually profligate military intelligence operative whom Kodiak used to guard--that is, before Kodiak foolishly slept with the Colonel's gorgeous wife, Diana. Now, Erika tells Kodiak that she has run away from her upstate New York home because her father, who's since divorced Diana, has molested her. Kodiak visits the Colonel and discovers that the man is dying of AIDS. Meanwhile, the Colonel insists that he didn't molest Erika and also that the girl is in danger from a ""rogue brick""--a platoon of crack British Special Air Service mercenaries who want to kidnap her for reasons the Colonel won't reveal. Kodiak gets Bridgett Logan, his private-detective girlfriend, to help him, then rounds up a crew of his bodyguarding buddies, some of whom resent him for letting one of their number--who was also Kodiak's best friend--die in a botched operation some time back. Naturally, Erika doesn't want to be guarded, even though, meanwhile, the SAS boys are spoiling for a fight--but because we're given so little information as to the stakes involved, Rucka's vividly detailed, beautifully orchestrated action scenes play like mannered set-pieces. Additional plot complexities, including the return of Diana and a missing cache of money that was used to finance American ""black book"" antiterrorist activities, turn Kodiak and his numerous adversaries into hapless victims of each other's manipulations. Contrived, sometimes confused, but with fine cliff-hangers, well-executed violence, and skillfully sketched characters. Flawed, but still superior to most lone-wolf genre tales.

Pub Date: July 1, 1997

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997