Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mile Run

Greg Rucka and Dennis Lehane are forever linked for me. In 1998, I bought and devoured Rucka and Steve Lieber's Whiteout from Oni Press. Somewhere in that time I learned Rucka had written a few novels, which I quickly found and started reading. I'm still a fan of his Atticus Kodiak books. A friend of mine from the APA I was in at the time (Hi, Tim and Pulp Legacy!) recommended Dennis Lehane's novels about Kenzie and Gennaro to me and I bit. I was reading one of them on my trip to Spain in March 2000. They both moved away from those series - Rucka to many comics, one of which spun out into a couple novels, and Lehane to standalone books like Mystic River and Shutter Island. Both published new books within the last couple weeks and I've managed to squeeze both into my busy schedule.

First was Rucka's The Last Run. It's not a return to the Atticus Kodiak cycle, though his last book was. Instead, this is the third Queen & Country novel, the same series that started as a comic I mentioned before. In fact, the comic returned for a while after the last novel, Private Wars, came out in 2005. I do not own those issues in any form, something I should rectify.

The new novel begins with Tara Chace feeling like it's time to stop being a Minder. Events, of course, conspire to keep her active for one last mission involving double crosses and politics in Iran. Back home, her boss Paul Crocker is dealing with political repercussions from his utter support of his Minders over the years. It's fast-paced and very engrossing and I loved every minute of it. I did see the ending coming but I was okay with it, as it puts a pin on the series.

Speaking of putting a pin on a series, Lehane's Moonlight Mile is his first Kenzie and Gennaro novel since 1999's Prayers For Rain. The new one actually deals with events from Gone Baby Gone, which was released the year prior to Prayers For Rain (and made into a critically-acclaimed movie by Ben Affleck that I still haven't seen). Amanda McCready, the kidnapped girl from that book, has once more disappeared. Kenzie and Gennaro are now married with a four year-old daughter, barely holding on in the down economy and find themselves drawn back into Amanda's life. It's a compelling book that deals with guilt and class issues and the big issue of right versus wrong. I read it quickly. Unfortunately, I don't think there will be another one but I'm okay with the way it ended.

If you like your PI/bodyguard genre, you could do worse than picking up some Rucka or Lehane. I'd start at the beginning, though. You won't be able to stop yourself from catching up quickly.

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