Or why you should read Keeper by Greg Rucka
Since this is mosty a comics blog, I'm sure you're all aware that Greg Rucka is a comics writer of some renown and considerable skill. He is also, incidentally, a novelist of mystery/thriller books. Since I enjoy his comics I thought I'd give his novels a spin. I started with his first: Keeper.
Now, I feel like I should lay out an aside here: I seldom read Mystery/Suspense novels. I'm pretty much happy reading Sci-fi novels forever, spiced with the odd excellent Fantasy novel and occasional Literary Classic. So I'm not what you would call well versed in the Mystery/Suspense genre. I did go through a brief Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum phase in high school which to this day leaves me with certain perceptions about the genre that involves vaguely jingoistic patriotism and might-makes-right attitudes... which are not-so-much for me. (Hurrah for America may lose some of it's kick when translated into Canadian.) What I'm saying is this was an unusual voice of reading for me.
Keeper follows professional body guard, and flamboyantly named, Atticus Kodiak, as he provides personal security to a women's health provider (a doctor who provides, among numerous health services, abortions) and her daughter (who is afflicted with Downe Syndrome) from death threats leveled at her by anti-abortionist extremists. It's a properly thrilling book with smart pacing, some good mystery elements, and a great deal of maturity. Keeper was a difficult book to put down.
Keeper is also progressive as hell.
The hero of the story is protecting an abortion provider from a villainous Pro-life movement populated by charlatans, mysogynists, and thugs who are just awful people. As someone with a liberal bent, it's pretty refreshing to read a mystery thriller that I don't find politically problematic. If you're anything like me and trepidatious about Mystery/Thrillers, this one is okay.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes Rucka's comics work: a lot of his best qualities are on display in this book. Conversely, if you like this book, I'd suggest you give Rucka's comics a shot since his creator ownederish comics share a lot with Keeper. I'd also suggest this book to anyone interested in finding a smart, liberal-friendly airplane or commute book.