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Alpha Hardcover – May 22, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Jad Bell Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Rucka gets his new series featuring Ex-Delta Force Master Sergeant Jad Bell off to a smashing start with this pitch-perfect thriller. This lean, mean thriller with just the right amount of character development and unexpected complications will appeal to all who enjoy this genre but particularly to readers who like a strong hero along the lines of Lee Child's Jack Reacher. Highly recommended."―Library Journal (starred review)

"An interesting setting, a liable hero, an appropriately clever villain, and a gripping story. A real corker."―Booklist

"Pulse-pounding....Rucka mixes suspense and an alarmingly realistic plot with ease."―Publishers Weekly

"Greg Rucka is one of the best writers in the world. The fact that he is so good in so many different media is a testament to that fact. No one media can hold him. Any new project of his is a call for pop culture celebration."―Brian Michael Bendis, writer of Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four

"ALPHA is hands down, the most exciting, adrenaline-pumping, butt-kicking novel I've read in years. Rucka is the real deal. If this one doesn't make you stay up late rooting for the good guys, you don't have a heartbeat. Highly recommended!"―Christopher Reich, New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Deception and Numbered Account

PRAISE FOR GREG RUCKA:

"One of our best writers."―Lee Child

"Read Greg Rucka. It's that simple. Open one of his books and what you've got is a fistful of dynamite."―The Cincinnati Enquirer

"Greg Rucka is a refreshingly bold talent."―Dennis Lehane

"A true professional."―Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Greg Rucka is the New York Times bestselling author of a dozen novels, including the Atticus Kodiak and Tara Chace series, and has won multiple Eisner awards for his graphic novels. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and children.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books; First Edition edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316182281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316182287
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,228,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By TMStyles VINE VOICE on June 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Greg Rucka is one of the most creative and readable authors working today. His stand alones are often great and I love his Atticus Kodiak series--which are too infrequent for my desires. But in "Alpha", Rucka is apparently debuting a new series character named "Jad" Bell, former Delta, who now hires out for cause and country. Based on this initial effort, Bell is a character well worth watching (reading) in that he is highly trained, intuitive, conflicted with a still unclear back story, and very deadly. He leads a team of four former co-warriors, each with skills and training that make them a most formidable foe.

Rucka has a knack for seizing on some element of everyday life around which to build his thrillers and in "Alpha", that practice is continued as Wilsonville, the world's largest theme park located in Southern California--think Disneyland on steroids--comes under an apparent terrorist attack. Jad Bell along with one of his team members is working undercover in the park as secret governmental leaders are covering several theme parks as possible targets for a rumored terrorist attack. A sleeper agent has been "awakened" to plant a dirty bomb in Wilsonville at the height of summer attendance, capture some hostages, and issue vague demands for release of world terrorist prisoners. But as Bell springs into action, he wonders if this is the real end game or if something even more sinister is afoot?

Oh, and you want complications? How about the fact that Bell's former wife, their hearing impaired daughter, and her deaf classmates are in the park and become hostages by the terrorists. The evolution of Bell's character as this deadly warrior has to deal with familial roadblocks is fascinating reading.
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Format: Hardcover
Greg Rucka does not adhere to a strict one-book-per-year schedule, but be assured that when he does make an appearance in the New Books section, he is bringing a blockbuster with him. ALPHA is his first book since THE LAST RUN (from the Queen & Country series) and the beginning of a new canon, this one featuring Master Sergeant Jonathan "Jad" Bell. A novel that begs to be read in one sitting, ALPHA will have you setting the clock back an hour or so at regular intervals to justify staying up through the night to finish it.
Bell is an undercover Delta Force operative who engages in covert missions both abroad and at home. The majority of ALPHA takes place over the course of an extremely long and dangerous day at an imaginary amusement park in southern California known as Wilsonville. Bell has been tasked with heading up security there; his handlers have intelligence to the effect that "something" is going to happen there, but they don't know what or when.

The "what" turns out to be the detonation of a dirty bomb; the "when" is a busy Saturday when tens of thousands of people will be in attendance at the park, including Bell's ex-wife and their hearing-impaired daughter. Bell's problem is that the people he is matched against are military-trained, just like him, and have infiltrated the park as employees, who populate the park as costumed figures. To make matters worse, his family members are included within a group of attendees who are taken hostage.

Bellis not the only one facing difficulties on this particular warm southern California afternoon. The people pulling the strings on the operation, as well as those having their strings pulled, cannot entirely trust each other, and there are weak links up and down the chain of command.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Greg Rucka's "Alpha" is about as good as a thriller gets. Jad Bell is yet another of those spec ops heroes who seem to be everywhere these days, an aging master sergeant in a young man's profession, but for all his physical and personal hurts he remains a hard man, worshipped by his small team of other, similar warriors. He is assigned to help with security at a huge theme park, much like Disneyland, called Wilsonville, against a potential terrorist threat that has still not revealed itself. When it finally does, complicated by the presence of Bell's ex-wife and teenaged daughter, the action is nonstop.

This was a book that I could not stop reading, not only because the action was so thrilling but also because the setting was so interesting and the main characters so well drawn.

My one complaint was the almost complete use of "handles" for Bell and his team, and also for various characters who don costumes drawn from the fictional universe created by the Wilson entertainment empire. The effect was to make it extremely hard for me to follow certain events; perhaps others will not experience the same difficulty.

In sum, this was one of the most gripping thrillers I have had the pleasure of reading in some time. Not to be missed.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes you get so excited for a new book from an author that you can only be disappointed. Rarely does it meet the heightened expectations. I can happily report that ALPHA - the first in the new Jad Bell series from Greg Rucka - does not disappoint.

While some reviews unfairly compare this work to Rucka's Kodiak novels, this book and these characters are completely different, but everything we love about Rucka's writing is still here. His precision pacing and structure, his authentic knowledge of weapons and tactics, his three-dimensional characters, his double and triple crosses, and his ability to drop in real life humor at just the right moment.

Rucka is a master at doing what far too many writers fail at - undercutting drama with humor and humor with drama. I am not saying this story is funny, nor the book laugh out loud hilarious - go read Wodehouse or Dave Barry for that - but it's the surgeon-like way Rucka knowingly sucks you in with dramatic tension, then drops in a moment or just a line that releases just enough tension for you to catch your breath before ramping it up again. The cliche of "A roller coaster ride!" comes to mind.

All that said, it's the escalating action and showdown with Bell and the villain that makes you finish reading and immediately want more. Rucka has created a terrific bad guy here, one that is every bit the equal of his hero - another thing few writers do well - and the cat-and-mouse chess match up to and including the finale is riveting.

Rucka's action scenes are as good as ever, his supporting characters are so strong most could carry their own novel, and Jad Bell is a man who could give Jack Reacher a run for his money - except that Jad Bell is real. Whereas Lee Child's Reacher is a superhero, Bell is a hero. A real man. A real character with multiple layers, strengths, weaknesses, flaws, and attributes.

It's going to be a long year waiting for the next Bell novel.
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