Monday, July 30, 2007

Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong

Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong
Bantam Books; 2007
Suspense/Thriller; 480 pgs

Started: 07/12/2007
Completed: 07/14/2007
Rating: * (Very Good)

First Sentence: Mary Lee pushed open the shop door.

Reason for Reading:
I have enjoyed the author’s Women of the Otherworld series and was curious how she would do outside of the fantasy realm. When I saw Exit Strategy offered up for review through Curled Up With a Good Book, it seemed like too perfect of an opportunity to pass up.

Comments: Author Kelley Armstrong of the Women of the Otherworld series where werewolves, witches and the supernatural walk among humans takes her writing in a new direction with her latest thriller, Exit Strategy, where the main character lives a double life. Nadia Stafford was once a policewoman, carrying on the family tradition. A career breaking incident leads her to an early retirement at which time she decides to run a nature lodge. When it looks like she will lose the lodge like she has lost everything else in her life, Nadia cannot pass up the opportunity to make some quick cash. She hires out as a hitwoman for a mob family.

While this in and of itself may seem farfetched, Nadia’s past lends a helping hand in making her perfect for the job. She is a killer with a conscience but will not hesitate to take her target out. Nadia is not a woman to mess with. She is intelligent, calculating, and hard as nails. Nadia is no damsel in distress that is for sure.

Nadia does hesitate when asked to team up with her mentor Jack with a challenging and deadly target in mind. A serial killer is on the loose and the authorities are nowhere near uncovering the killer’s identity and purpose. It is believed he may be a hitman like Jack and Nadia, which poses its own problem. The serial killer’s killing spree is a threat to business not to mention taking out innocent people. The killer must be stopped. Nadia’s reluctance comes from not wanting to mix with others in her profession as well as for more personal reasons. Secrecy and privacy are of the utmost importance in the life of a hit person and no one wants to be an easy target. Still, there is too much at stake not to get involved, and so Nadia agrees to take on the task.

Jack is a very private person, one whom Nadia knows little about. He is mysterious and a loner. He has always refused to take a partner in the past but for reasons unknown has no qualms about working with Nadia. The two make a perfect team, both intelligent and coming from different backgrounds. Their combined experiences give them an edge, and their loyalty and trust of each other is unfaltering. As their investigation gets underway, Nadia learns things about Jack she never knew before and is taken deeper into the fold of the criminal world where she meets others like herself and Jack. She is not sure who she can trust and prepares herself to be on guard at all times.

Exit Strategy is a perfect suspense novel for the summer. It is fast paced, high in action with a colorful cast of characters that will leave you wondering who you can trust. There is a wisp of romance; however, it takes backseat to the main events in the novel. While suspension of disbelief is a must while reading the book, this is one adventure not to be passed up for readers of suspense thrillers. Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Wendy Runyon, 2007

Favorite Part: I am drawn to strong female characters, and while most have an obvious softer side, Nadia is one badass woman, one of the more serious I’ve come across. She isn’t all toughness, of course, but when it comes to her job she is.

I came to really like Jack. His dialogue took a bit getting used to because he didn’t feel it necessary to use pronouns, but kudos to the author for giving the character that extra definition that helped make him who he is. By the end of the novel, Nadia and I see a deeper side of Jack that perhaps we suspected was always there and yet he keeps so much hidden and inside himself. I look forward to future books in the series (of which I know at least one is planned) in hopes of learning more about this character.

I’m also dying to know more about Evelyn. She wasn’t my favorite character as I found her annoying at times, and yet I find her to be quite interesting. I am sure I haven’t seen the last of her.

Read what Melody had to say about the book:
Melody's Reading Corner

The author's website can be found here.


  1. Hey Wendy! I've been waiting for your review on this book! :P Glad you enjoyed reading it.

    Like you, I am drawn to strong female characters in books. And I think Kelly Armstrong has written a great suspense thriller in Exit Strategy. What's even better news is, there will be a sequel in the near future. ;)

  2. Hi, Melody! It's good to see you again. I'll have to be on the look out for the next book in the series.

    I'll be posting my thoughts in the morning (my morning) about another book with a strong female lead that I highly recommend. It's called Sacred Cows by Karen Olson.

  3. I checked from her site earlier
    that Kelley is contracted for two books in this series, but it didn't state when it'll be

    Great! I can't wait to read your review about Karen Olson's book. See ya! ;)

  4. I've got to admit that the whole idea of cop turned killer turned me off big time at first.

    After reading your review, however, I may have to give it a try. I also love bad ass women and mystery men with hidden layers to them.


    Just what I need. Another book for my list.


  5. Yay I was hoping someone whose blog I read would read this. I really like her other series and wasn't sure how this one would turn out. I will be getting this for sure now thanks.

  6. Melody - I was a little late getting my Karen Olson review up, I'm afraid. Sorry about that!

    CJ - It wasn't my favorite premise either, but I did enjoy the book quite a bit. Kind of like the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay. I could never approve of the characters' choices, but they're still entertaining books to read.

    Rhinoa - Definitely do give this one a try! I was a little hesitant at first, but I figured it was worth a try.

  7. No worries, Wendy! :)
    BTW, I've replied to your question regarding the blogrolling stuff on my blog. ;)

  8. Thanks, Melody. I'm heading over to your blog shortly.

  9. I have heard really good stuff about Armstrong's books. Can't believe I still haven't read one. Interesting to see that she's going into a different genre too.

  10. Iliana - It's always interesting to see authors branch out into other genres. I don't think this one is such a stretch for her, although it is different. Still, its got similar elements--both series are suspense oriented. I really do like the way this author writes and was glad to see that this new series will be a good one. At least the first book was good. :-)


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