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Book #13: Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong

Welcome to week 13 of the “52 Books in 52 Weeks [1]” series!  If you haven’t seen all the books take a moment and catch up [1]!

Last week I reviewed a book from one of my favorite non-fiction authors, Mark Batterson [2].

This week I re-read a book by one of my favorite fiction authors, Kelley Armstrong [3].   While she is most well known for a series of fantasy books she has one series that are great crime reads.

The first book in that series is Exit Strategy [3].  It was published in 2007 so you can get used copies REALLY cheap and hopefully your local library will have a copy!

I absolutely love the main character in these books.  Her name is Nadia Stafford, a former cop who now owns a wilderness ranch in Canada.  She was “released” from the police force for taking matters into her own hands and killing a suspect.  The wilderness ranch was struggling and one of her guests had noticed what an excellent shot she was with a rifle.  It turns out he was connected and had a man who needed to be taken care of.  He offered her an excellent amount of money to help them out and in desperation she agrees.  It’s the first step that leads her to be a contract killer- only for that family and only if she agreed to the job.  She sort of creates her own sense of justice.

She is eventually discovered by a very successful hitman who decides to mentor her and they maintain a mysterious relationship.  A serial killer operating in the United States as the Helter Skelter killer has now released the information that he is a hitman.  Recognizing the threat to everyone who makes their living in this dangerous occupation Nadia knows that they must catch the serial killer before he brings a full on police investigation into all of their lives.

Armstrong builds a phenomenal cast of characters that allows her to easy write the sequel Made to Be Broken (Nadia Stafford, Book 2) [4].

I have probably read this book a half dozen times.  I just LOVE the characters and it’s easy to relate to a strong female lead.  She also somehow manages to communicate very well the inner struggle of someone who finds great satisfaction in her job when she knows she shouldn’t.  The characters are like-able and relate-able.

So check out Kelly Armstrong- you might find a new author you like!