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June 22, 2012 / John Sheridan

Review: Alpha by Greg Rucka

Amazon, Kindle, Amazon UK

Regular readers of this blog will recall that I was excited to receive this in the mail awhile back and now that I’ve finished reading it I can say that it was well justified. Owing more to the action thriller genre rather than being a mystery per se but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t questions posed throughout the book for you to figure out if you are so inclined.

Introduced via a compelling backstory that establishes Jad Bell’s military credentials along with the rest of his team – Bonebreaker, Chaindragger and Cardboard – guess which one was the last one into the room when they were handing out the codenames! Luckily these abilities include the ability to evaluate situations on the fly which occasionally may mean blatantly disregarding orders at times.

The author, Greg Rucka, coolly establishes his counterpoint in the sleeper that has been activated to target the theme park where Jad has recently been placed as an undercover operative following the murder of the previous person fulfilling the role. We learn small pieces about the group carrying out the operation with some murky figures such as Shadow Man who reeks of Keyser Soze. What you really want to know though is who is Mr. Money financing the entire operation. I had a blinding flash of insight with about 80 pages to go – security has been compromised and that explains the placement of CIA and military operatives in the park. A wonderful conclusion that shows that even though some may consider themselves untouchable that there is no such thing when you are dealing with motivated individuals but that’s what happens when you violate one of the golden rules – “no women, no kids“.

A sample is available from Mulholland Books who also have an author Q&A. Available in hardback, trade paperback and ebook.

Highly recommended and I can’t wait to continue the story in Jad Bell #2. My rating is 4.5 out of 5.


Jonathan ‘Jad’ Bell has spent a lifetime in the US army. He can be relied on to get the job done, whatever happens, whatever the cost. So when someone needs to go undercover at the nation’s biggest amusement park, Jad is the obvious choice. Aside from dealing with fights and missing children, his main responsibility is to prevent the nightmare scenario from coming to pass.

This is the nightmare scenario: A group of well-trained, highly motivated terrorists infiltrate the park. They cut off all escape routes. They take hostages. They ensure every camera in the world is trained on Wilsonville…and then they turn it into a bloodbath.

And on the day the nightmare becomes real, Jad and his team are all that stands between a band of ruthless killers and thousands of innocent people… including Jad’s estranged wife and daughter.

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