I like — by and large — his comic book work. His time on Wolverine, Gotham Central, and Detective Comics grace my library. I’m not such a big fan I’ll buy anything he does, but when his work intersects with a character or concept that piques my interest, I’m there.
From this, I read (a few years ago) his Atticus Kodiak series. It’s a simple, elegant set up: the working and private life of a bodyguard. Nice. But even though I liked the writing style in Keeper, the first book, I disliked the characters. They rubbed me wrong; they struck me as … I don’t know, really. The kind of people you meet and instantly dislike and can’t say why. (Well, except Bridgett Logan, who was needlessly abrasive and a once-and-future addict.) I think, at the time, it drove me nuts that the characters were always making horrible decisions about their lives. I mean, they weren’t awful people, like Patricia Cornwell characters; God, no. (At least not all the time.) Part of it probably had something to do with the offhandedness Rucka (and by extension his characters) gave to the opposite of the abortion debate.
But I liked the concept of Atticus Kodiak, and I liked Rucka’s style (although not exactly the voice). So I kept going. But it got worse in Finder and Smoker — I actively started hating the characters. Shooting at Midnight was a painful chore to finish, since it was Bridgett’s story, but I soldiered on. I picked up the fifth book, Critical Space, because, well, it couldn’t get worse than a book about Bridgett Logan. But for some reason, Rucka decided to toss Atticus out of the personal security field in Space and into a bizarre world of assassins and secret societies. It was like he forgot whether he was writing Batman or Atticus Kodiak, and his editor didn’t have the heart to tell him his mistake.
I even tried one of Rucka’s Queen and Country novels, A Gentleman’s Game. That didn’t work either; the plot didn’t engage me, and I didn’t like the protagonist, Tara Chace (or anyone else, for that matter), either. I actually ended up selling that one, something I rarely do.
But Devil’s Cape lists a new book by Rucka, Patriot Acts, and a quick check of Amazon shows it’s a sixth Atticus Kodiak book, set (again) in the world of assassins. I do not want to read it — I know I will not like it — I am sure there is nothing in that book that will be worth the time or aggravation it will give me.
So why do I get twitchy when I see that Amazon page, with my mouse drifting toward the “Add to Shopping Cart” button?