PERSONAL: Born in San Francisco, CA; married; children: one. Education: Attended Vassar College; University of Southern California, M.A.
ADDRESSES: Home—Portland, OR. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Random House, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.
CAREER: Writer. Formerly worked as a house painter, waiter, EMT, security guard, technical writer, beta tester, and fight choreographer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Eisner Award, Best Limited Series, 2000, for Whiteout.
Keeper, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
Finder, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.
Shooting at Midnight, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.
Smoker, Bantam (New York, NY), 1998.
Critical Space, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.
Fistful of Rain, Bantam (New York, NY), 2003.
Whiteout, Oni Press (Portland, OR), 1999.
Batman: No Man's Land, DC Comics (New York, NY), Volume 2, 1999, Volume 5, 2001.
Grendel: Past Prime, Dark Horse (Milwaukie, OR), 2000.
Batman: Evolution, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2001.
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2002.
Queen & Country: Operation Broken Ground, Oni Press (Portland, OR), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Greg Rucka is a novelist and a writer of comic books and graphic novels. Most of his novels feature the protagonist Atticus Kodiak, a tough, smart bodyguard who follows his heart rather than his pocketbook when it comes to taking on assignments.
Keeper takes up the abortion controversy in all its violence and pathos. Early on in the novel, Kodiak accompanies his pregnant girlfriend to a Manhattan abortion clinic that is being targeted by a militant right-to-life group, Sword of the Silent. That difficult and frightening experience causes him to sympathize with the clinic's director, Felice Romero, who is herself a target of violent threats from the group and its fanatical leader, Jonathan Crowell. As the battle between the pro-life and pro-choice contingents heats up and threatens to become increasingly violent, some concerned parties initiate a forum called "Common Ground" to try to help clear the air. When Romero makes her intention to attend Common Ground known, she receives letters from Sword of the Silent that threaten not only her life but that of her Down's Syndrome-afflicted daughter. Kodiak takes on the arduous task of keeping both safe from their would-be assassins.
Critics were impressed by a number of the novel's elements, from its even handling of the abortion controversy to how the author orchestrates the scenes of violence. A Publishers Weekly critic stated that the "pros and cons of abortion are intelligently presented." The reviewer also admired Rucka's storytelling for its fast, smooth pace, interesting characters, and "clean and visual" prose. Dawn L. Anderson, writing in the Library Journal, called Keeper a "story as timely as today's headlines" and a "tense and exciting novel." And Booklist contributor Thomas Gaughan appreciated its "characterizations of people twisted enough to murder to protect life."
Finder follows Keeper by only a year. The novel finds Atticus Kodiak not far from where Keeper left him—still in New York but now working as a bouncer for a swank "bondage-and-discipline" club. The book presents the tale of Erika Wyatt, a fifteen-year-old on the run, whose father, Colonel Wyatt, is a promiscuous military intelligence agent for whom Kodiak used to work, and whose mother, when still the colonel's wife, was briefly Kodiak's lover. When Erika shows up at the sex club and is threatened at knife-point, Kodiak helps her escape, little knowing that she is the target of not just one menacing male but a whole crew of British S.A.S. officers (a group that operates with the same menace and stealth as the U.S. Navy SEALS). Unfortunately, the intensity of Erika's dislike at being protected is only equaled by the S.A.S.'s fervor for kidnapping her. Heavy suspense and regular eruptions of violence are the result.
A Publishers Weekly critic was guarded in responding to Finder, saying that "if Rucka . . . ever finds a subject big enough for his tough-guy talents, he'll be a writer to watch." Robert C. Moore said in his Library Journal review that if the reader can deal with the violence "Finder pulls you to a satisfying conclusion." And a Kirkus Reviews contributor appreciated the book's "fine cliff-hangers, well-executed violence, and skillfully sketched characters"; the reviewer ultimately deemed it "flawed, but still superior to most lone-wolf genre tales."
In Smoker, Kodiak is hired to protect a biomedical research scientist who is going to testify against the tobacco industry, accusing them of putting additives in their cigarettes to make them more addicting. Booklist's Wes Lukowsky called Smoker an "exciting action adventure."
Critical Space finds Kodiak protecting a woman who is, in fact, a professional killer. Kodiak finds himself up against the FBI, his own best friends, and possibly the woman herself. Booklist's David Pitt called Critical Space "a first-rate thriller."
Rucker is also the author of numerous graphic novels, including Whiteout, which won the Eisner Award for Best Limited Series in 2000, and Queen & Country: Operation Broken Ground, which was nominated for an Eisner Award.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 1996, p. 1491; October 1, 1998, Wes Lukowsky, review of Smoker, p. 312; September 1, 1999, George Needham, review of Shooting at Midnight, p. 73; December 15, 1999, Roland Green, review of Batman: No Man's Land, p. 761; August, 2001, David Pitt, review of Critical Space, p. 2099.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1997, p. 750.
Library Journal, May 1, 1996, p. 134; June 1, 1997, p. 150; November 1, 1998, Dawn L. Anderson, review of Smoker, p. 126; January, 2000, Jackie Cassada, review of Batman: No Man's Land, p. 168; September 15, 2001, Ronnie H. Terpening, review of Critical Space, p. 114.
Publishers Weekly, April 29, 1996, p. 53; May 26, 1997, p. 66; September 21, 1998, review of Smoker, p. 72; September 27, 1999, review of Shooting at Midnight, p. 75; December 13, 1999, review of Batman: No Man's Land, p. 64; July 30, 2001, review of Critical Space, p. 55; June 3, 2002, review of Queen & Country: Operation Broken Ground, p. 66.
The Bear Cave: The Official Greg Rucka Web Page, http://www.gregrucka.com (November 27, 2002).*