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#10 Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong

Nadia Stafford knows the consequences of taking a man’s life. Although she was once a respected cop, Nadia was forced into early retirement after shooting a dangerous man on duty. Now, Nadia spends most of her timing running a nature lodge in Canada, and distancing herself from that career ending decision. What her guests don’t know is on her weekends off she drives across the border and works as a professional killer. Her clients, the Tomassinis, often call her to take out small time criminals, and she does very well at her job. Things are about to get a lot more complex when her mentor, Jack, invites her in on a very different hit. Their job will be to take down a serial killer who has targeted civilians of every age, race, and class. The only thing each death has in common is the killer’s calling card, a page from Helter Skelter. Will Nadia be able to take him down before he kills again, or will she find herself becoming the victim?

Exit Strategy is a very different novel from Kelley Armstrong, best known for her paranormal series, Women of the Underworld. There is no magic or werewolves to be found in these pages, although Exit Strategy does possess many of the same qualities that make her other books so strong. One of these is characterization. Nadia is a well crafted, strong character. Due to her experience at a police officer, she has many talents that make her a good pro. She’s also very smart, but not afraid to defer to a more experienced individual when the time is right. At the same time, Nadia is not superwoman. She can make bad decisions, and be indecisive. The other characters in this book, such as Jack and Evelyn, are just as well created. I’m impressed with how Armstrong can craft characters that constantly make decisions I would deem morally wrong, but some how still make them likable. Another aspect of her Underworld Series that shows up here is a great romantic storylines. Although most of the romance is played out in sexual tension, Armstrong has presented us with an interesting love triangle where it’s not completely obvious who the heroine will end up with.

The thriller storyline is, for the most part, well done, although it suffers a bit from unoriginality, which is a little disappointing when compared to her other books. Luckily, Armstrong’s strong skills for characterization and solid writing make the novel a pleasure to read. There are two books planned in this series, with the second, Made to be Broken, coming out this year. I do hope that it is just as satisfying.

Rating: four out of five stars
Length: 480 pages
Source: paperbackswap
TBR Pile: 156 books
Similar Books: For other books about taking down serial killers, try Armstrong’s Industrial Magic and Jim Butcher's White Night (my review)
Other books I've read by this author: Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Broken, No Human’s Involved, Personal Demon, and The Summoning (my review)

posted on both bookish  and temporaryworlds 

Tags: four stars, kelley armstrong, nadia stafford, professional killers, thriller, vigilantes, year published: 2007
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