Alpha, Greg Rucka (Little,Brown/Mulholland)


Regular Rucka readers who might be upset that he’s taken a break from the Queen and Country series should be mollified with this new novel’s interesting setting (a Disneyland-style theme park called WilsonVille), a likable hero (former Delta Force soldier Jonathan “Jad” Bell), an appropriately clever villain (whose skills are definitely a match for Jad’s), and a gripping story (involving a possible terrorist attack on the theme park). Rucka, who is also a noted author of graphic novels, knows how to construct a plot that keeps readers turning the pages, and this one’s a real corker. Although there have been other books with a theme-park setting (including Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, 1990, of course, but also Larry Niven and Steven Barnes’ Dream Park, 1981, Carl Hiaasen’s Native Tongue, 1991, and Lincoln Child’s Utopia, 2002), Rucka does a fine job of making WilsonVille feel like a brand-new environment. A very effective thriller that could also be the start of an interesting new series.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, March 2012.




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