Putnam/Penguin Random House, $26.00, 287 pages, ISBN 978-0-399-57438-2
One year ago, (MBR 254,) we alerted readers to a new series by award-winning, New York Times best-selling author Steve Hamilton that featured an anti-hero protagonist named Nick Mason. Mason’s the guy who, in order to get out of serving the last fifteen years of a twenty year sentence in a maximum security prison, makes a Faustian bargain with a super-criminal named Darius Cole. Mason gets out, but he’s nowhere free. He’s at the beck and call of a mysterious cell phone. When it rings, Mason must answer immediately and do whatever he’s told to by the voice on the other end. Failure to do so will result in his ex-wife and daughter—who he would die for—being killed. Otherwise, he lives like a king. But as Cole himself says, Don’t confuse mobility with freedom. The novel was a smash hit. Now Hamilton’s back with a second, even better Nick Mason yarn.
Exit Strategy, by Steve Hamilton starts off with a bang. Literally, as Mason gears up to take out Darius Cole’s once-trusted accountant. The man’s in WITSEC, witness protection, prepared to testify against Cole in his upcoming retrial, and guarded 24/7 by a team of a dozen hand-picked U.S. Marshalls. They’re specially-trained and they’ve never lost a witness. That doesn’t mean they never will, because Nick Mason’s a lethal weapon and his skills keep getting better and better, no matter how reluctant he is to use them for the benefit of Darius Cole. Mason’s character is intriguing . . . he is protecting his daughter and her mother . . . by being a killer on behalf of an evil man and it’s eating him up. That’s why he has to come up with an exit strategy in order to save himself from a life of involuntary servitude and ultimately, an ignominious death. Author Hamilton opens the book with: You kill one person it changes you. You kill five . . . it’s who you are . . . and begins a rock n’ roll thrill ride that won’t quit or let up until the last page . . . where you’ll be wishing and hoping for more of the same . . . and soon. Really. Really. Soon! Steve Hamilton proves once again why he’s one of the best crime fiction writers in America today, if not the entire world. Thriller readers—do yourself a favor and get to know this Edgar award winning author. You’ll be a fan for life, and glad you did!