Shooting at Midnight (Atticus Kodiak Series #4)

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Overview

Greg Rucka has earned a devoted following for his edgy Atticus Kodiak thrillers, Finder, Keeper, and Smoker. Now, in an electrifying new suspense novel, Rucka puts us in the heart and brain of Kodiak's friend and lover, Bridgett Logan, a young woman living life on her own terms—and living it on the edge. Shooting at Midnight.

It began with a promise made to a friend, made when they were both teenagers. Now, years later, the friend wants to collect. All Bridgett Logan has to do ...

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Overview

Greg Rucka has earned a devoted following for his edgy Atticus Kodiak thrillers, Finder, Keeper, and Smoker. Now, in an electrifying new suspense novel, Rucka puts us in the heart and brain of Kodiak's friend and lover, Bridgett Logan, a young woman living life on her own terms—and living it on the edge. Shooting at Midnight.

It began with a promise made to a friend, made when they were both teenagers. Now, years later, the friend wants to collect. All Bridgett Logan has to do is keep her word and the vow she made: Commit a murder. Now two men are desperately trying to find Bridgett.

One to save her. The other—to kill her.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Rucka's best yet, on all levels."—Dallas Morning News

"Edgy, complex-a triumph!"—Philadelphia Inquirer

"First-rate suspense. A triumph."—Kirkus Reviews

"This is prime Rucka, deliberately paced and wound tight.... This book will keep you awake until you've finished the last page. And maybe even after that."—Statesman Journal, Salem, OR

"A palpable sense of danger drives the narrative.... A crime novel that... possesses a relentless and nearly irresistible force."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A whiplash ride... with more turns than an Alpine highway."—St. Petersburg Times

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Having thrilled readers with his series about security expert Atticus Kodiak (Smoker, etc.), Rucka now shifts the focus here to Atticus's lover, Bridgett Logan, a private eye, a New York City cop's daughter and, unbeknownst to Atticus, a recovering heroin addict. When Lisa Schoof, a fellow ex-addict and single mother, is arrested for the murder of her old lover Vincent Lark, Bridgett feels responsible. Vincent, a drug dealer and pimp, had threatened to kill Lisa if she didn't give him $2800 or resume working for him. Bridgett had tried to scare him off, but the scare clearly didn't take. Desperate to help the friend who once saved her life, Bridgett goes deep undercover, working for Vincent's boss, druglord Pierre Alabacha, hoping to find enough evidence for the authorities to prosecute Alabacha and drop the charges against Lisa. These under-the-table negotiations between Bridgett and the NYPD are hardly believable, but a palpable sense of danger drives the narrative. Rucka takes an ill-advised breather near the middle of the novel, when Atticus assumes the first-person voice for a short section, but he then forges ahead with a flourish that might remind readers of the late Eugene Izzi. At the close, the cops, the dealers and the troubled lovers (Atticus and Bridgett) all collide in a breathless barrage of betrayal and brutality. The result is a crime novel that, if not strictly realistic, possesses a relentless and nearly irresistible force. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Rucka's latest features P.I. Bridget Logan, a friend of Rucka stalwart Atticus Kodiak who's in deep trouble because of a rash promise made in her youth. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
First-rate suspense about the obligations of friendship—and about a woman who's forced to make some murderous choices. This is the fourth in the Atticus Kodiak series (Smoker, 1998, etc.), though here the professional bodyguard with the sensibility of a poet is at the periphery of the action. At center-stage, instead, is private eye Bridgett ("Bridie") Logan, once Atticus's lover but now estranged, and estranged as well from a good many others she was once close to. Among those is Lisa Schoof, who had been, literally, a life-saving friend. Bridie—magnetic, prickly, arrogant on occasion, charming when the mood is on her, wonderful to look at, impossible to live with—is a recovering junkie. Which, at least in part, explains the uneven quality of her relationships. Lisa knows exactly how that can work to undercut emotional stability, since the two women met while both were getting clean. It was during this period that a tormented Bridie would have propelled herself off a roof one harrowing night if Lisa hadn't prevented her. Now it's Lisa who's in trouble. Drug-free and in hiding for close to ten years, she's been tracked down by her former dealer, the repellent Vince Lark, who needs money and wants her to get it for him any way she can. If she won't, or if she fails, he's promised to hurt her young son, Gabriel. The threat terrifies her, so she calls in her marker: She wants Bridie to help kill Vince, believing that to be her single chance of keeping Gabe safe. But is Bridie still the friend she swore she'd always be? Bridie, racked, produces an alternative solution, and though it succeeds, there are bruising consequences for all concerned, including Atticus. Strongwriting and intelligent plotting, but best of all are Rucka's characters: edgy, complex, interesting to a one. And Bridie is a triumph.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553578270
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: Atticus Kodiak Series , #4
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 815,746
  • Product dimensions: 4.27 (w) x 6.91 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in San Francisco, Greg Rucka was raised on the Monterey Peninsula. He is the author of Private Wars, A Gentleman’s Game, and six previous thrillers, as well as numerous comic books, including the Eisner Award—winning Whiteout: Melt. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his family.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Prologue

For my thirteenth birthday, Da gave me a Midtown South sweatshirt that was too big for me, NYPD shorts, and a pair of running shoes.

It was just what I'd asked for.

The next morning, bright and early, I put them on and drove with my Da to Van Cortlandt Park on the north edge of Bronx County, just the two of us. He used orange traffic cones stored in the trunk of the car to set up a small obstacle course while I stretched. When he was finished, he showed me how I was supposed to run it.

"Is it like this at the Academy?" I asked.

"No, but this is a good place for you to start," he said.

I put everything I had into running that course, and when I had it mastered, Da made me run it in reverse.

I loved every minute of it.

From then on out, usually once a week, Da would take me to Van Cortlandt Park and I would run whatever course he set for me. I'd run it in snow and rain, sunlight and humidity. Couple times his partner, Uncle Jimmy, would join us, and they would smoke and drink beer and watch and heckle and give me pointers.

Couple times that year my sister, Cashel, went with us too, but she hated it and, after the third time, didn't come back. So Saturdays became days for my Da and me, for my Ma and Cashel.

Which I thought was just great.

For my fourteenth birthday, Da gave me a new pair of running shoes and a set of boxing gloves.

Just what I'd asked for.

We went out to Van Cortlandt Park and Da set up the same course as he had a year ago to the day, and he timed me as I ran it, and when I was done, he showed me the records he'd been keeping in his little notepad, showed me how much I'd improved.

"That's my girl," he said.

Then he put on sparring mitts, and he taught me how to throw a punch that would knock a man down. From then on out, we always ended our sessions with me wearing the boxing gloves.

"They'll make it hard on you. You're a woman, and they'll make you pay for it every inch of the way. But we'll fix it so they never know what hit them. You're smarter than me. You'll be tougher too. You'll get the gold shield I never got; hell, you'll get your own command. You'll have all the education and all the ability, and you'll have the heart and the strength, and that's the most important thing."

"Yes, Da," I said.

"That's my girl. Now ... let's see that uppercut."

For my fifteenth birthday, Da gave me new shoes, a new MTS sweatshirt, new shorts, a sports bra, and a copy of the cadet's handbook. When I opened the sports bra, he blushed and said, "Your Ma picked that out."

We went to Van Cortlandt Park and reviewed my progress, and Uncle Jimmy came along, and when I was done working out that day, Da and Uncle Jimmy gave me a beer. Then they gave me another one, and another, and I made it through most of a fourth before I got sick-drunk and passed out.

Da joked about how well I could hold my alcohol.

He hadn't figured out that I'd been sneaking beers after school for months already, drinking with friends.

He hadn't figured out that I'd begun smoking pot.

Even when I started missing my dates with him, either spending the night at a friend's he thought he could trust or claiming I was sick because I'd caught a bad bug rather than a savage hangover, he didn't see it.

He was disappointed, but he never said so.

And by the time he suspected, by the time he was willing to admit what his eldest daughter had gotten herself into, I was gone.

I spent my sixteenth birthday living in an abandoned apartment in Alphabet City, trying to steal enough money to score.

Three months later it was over, Da and Uncle Jimmy bringing me back home to the Bronx at four in the morning, laying me in my bed. I was screaming and shouting and Da held me down while Jimmy got Ma and a basin of hot water and some towels.

"Jesus Lord," Ma said when she saw me, and she crossed herself.

"Jimmy, go sit with Cashel," Da said. "Keep her out of here."

"I'll be down the hall with her, Dennis," Jimmy said.

They waited until he had shut the door, and then Da held me still while Ma stripped and bathed me. When she saw my arms, she started to cry.

When they were finished, they left, locking me alone in my room.

Six days later Da woke me at seven in the morning, dropping my sweats and shoes on the end of the bed.

"I'll meet you by the car," he said, and left without locking the door behind him.

When I put on the sweatshirt, it hung looser than it had before. The shoes pinched at my ankles. When I came down the stairs, I had to use the banister for support.

Ma and Cashel were in the kitchen, having waffles for breakfast. They asked how I was feeling.

"Better," I lied, and went out to the garage, where Da was waiting by his Alfa Romeo.

We drove to Van Cortlandt Park without exchanging a word. It was winter and I was shivering, trying to keep my teeth from chattering. Da turned the heat up higher, but it didn't help.

He set up the obstacle course in the snow and told me to run it.

I put everything I had into running that course, and I couldn't do it. My legs wouldn't work, my coordination was shot. I could barely stand straight. I was sweating after only five minutes, my stomach cramping, my hands shaking. I tripped and fell again and again, and Da just watched.

I got sick, doubled over with dry heaves.

Finally he said, "Come here."

He put the gloves on my hands, the sparring mitts on his own.

"Jab," he ordered.

"Da ..." I said. "Da ... I can't."

"Don't cry."

"I'm sick ... I can't."

"Jab."

"Da ..."

"You throw that jab now, goddamn it, or so help me I'll make you fight back!" When he shouted his voice rumbled across the parade ground, echoing off the snow.

I tried to punch at his extended hand, and the glove on the end of my own felt like it was full of wet sand. There was barely a sound when leather met leather.

"Jesus Christ! Jab! Jab! Use your left, for fuck's sake!"

I brought my left up and missed. I was crying and the mitts were hard to see.

"Again."

I tried again. I tried every time he ordered me to. When I hit, it wasn't hard enough, and when I missed, he swore louder and louder. Finally he ordered a left cross that I just couldn't raise my arm to give him.

"I can't, Da, I'm sorry I can't do it." I was sobbing when I said it, choking on tears and frustration. "I'm sorry I'm sick, I'm sorry I'm weak--"

Before either of us knew what had happened, the mitt on his right hand shot forward and caught me in the left eye, and I was on the ground in the frozen-sharp snow, feeling my sweats soak with icy water, my gloves hiding my face. I tried to swallow the noise I was making, tried to stand up, and I slipped and fell again.

Da took off his mitts and looked at me, his mouth half open and his eyes almost shut, his breath blowing away from him like steam from a train engine.

I saw what he saw then.

There was never going to be a cadet's handbook or a command or a gold shield all my own. It was never going to happen.

Da crouched down in the snow in front of me, helped me off with my gloves. He took my face in one huge hand and checked my eye where he'd punched me. Then he helped me up and put me in the car to wait while he stowed everything in the Alfa's trunk.

We never went back to Van Cortlandt Park.

That was thirteen years ago.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2001

    The other side of the world of Atticus Kodiak

    A fine addition to the world of Atticus Kodiak. Rucka has a deft touch in evoking the character of the mean streets and the shadows who inhabit them. He takes several risks in the narrative devices used and pulls them off very nicely. I won't tell you a word about what happens in the book, suffice it to say that it is a satisfying, well crafted mystery that moves smoothly through places I personally hope to never go... unless Atticus and Bridie go with me.

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