Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong
Bantam Books; 2007
Suspense/Thriller; 480 pgs
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 www.curledup.com. © 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.
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