Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong

Ah.. this book was delightful because I like a smart heroine. And Nadia Stafford is a smart woman; she has to be, she's a hitman. People just don't last long in that business without a brains. Either you get caught or you get killed.

Nadia, or "Dee" (as she is called by other assassins who don't know her real name), was once a cop, born into a family of cops. After a traumatic childhood event, all it took for Nadia to take things into her own hands was one criminal scumbag who had hurt a young girl. Hardly any of her friends and family stuck around her after that. She had to leave the force, and now runs a hunting lodge, secretly making money on the side for killing people who deserve it. Clearly she has issues brimming under the surface, but it may be her passion that makes her a good hitman. In Exit Strategy, her talent catches the eye of others. Her passion is also what makes her agree to join a team of other hitmen who are going after one of their own. A professional killer has turned into a serial killer, and it has caused a shakedown from the law against the whole profession.

Lazy bullet time:

  • This is NOT a paranormal, even though Kelley Armstrong is well known for her paranormal series, the Women of the Otherworld. I looked at the author's website and book 2 *looks* like it is coming out in September this year and will be called Made to be Broken. I'm not sure about this because Amazon UK has a whole list of authors under that title; maybe it's an anthology?
  • Almost everyone in this book: is the strong silent type. Even Nadia. When she's chattering, she's usually playing a role. It's interesting how subtle the communication is between assassins. Facial expressions and head movements mean more than words. Actions speak loudest.
  • The whole profession: REALLY interesting to read about. Especially things like trying to retire or having a family. No one trusts anyone, everyone has a hidden real identity, everyone's motives are suspect.. most people never retire: they die. And almost no one has a family, they are all loners – trying to have a family never seems to work out. So passing things along to the new generation usually happens in a mentor-mentee relationship, not through children.
  • The book is in a mostly first person point of view, with the attention mostly on Nadia. But sometimes the focus shifts to the killer or his victims. This could fall flat, but in Exit Strategy, it was powerfully done.
  • Finally, there is a very subtle hint of a romance (I am thinking love triangle) in this book. It is barely even there, it's all in the silent communication. One of the men is clearly interested, the other one is so subtle about it that even smart Nadia is oblivious. That's my take. I really want to know what happens in book 2.
  • Excerpts: Chapter 1, Chapter 2

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