Exit Strategy by Steve Hamilton

Exit Strategy

In the follow-up to The Second Life of Nick Mason, the remarkable hero fights to take back control from the crime lord who owns his life, as he races to complete a daring and dangerous new mission. . . .Nick Mason has been given a true mission impossible: Infiltrate WITSEC, the top-secret federal witness-protection program that has never been compromised, locate the three...

Title:Exit Strategy
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0399574387
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:289 pages

Exit Strategy Reviews

  • Maureen Carden
    May 07, 2017

    I've been a long time fan of Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight series, so I was intrigued when the first Nick Mason book, The Second Life of Nick Mason was published. Nick Mason went to Supermax for a crime he had committed but he came to the attention and then the protection of Chicago crime boss Darius Cole. Cole arranged for Mason's sentence to be vacated. The price large, Cole now owned Mason body and soul. He also owned the life of Nick's ex-wife and nine year old daughter.

    So here we are to th

    I've been a long time fan of Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight series, so I was intrigued when the first Nick Mason book, The Second Life of Nick Mason was published. Nick Mason went to Supermax for a crime he had committed but he came to the attention and then the protection of Chicago crime boss Darius Cole. Cole arranged for Mason's sentence to be vacated. The price large, Cole now owned Mason body and soul. He also owned the life of Nick's ex-wife and nine year old daughter.

    So here we are to the second book. Which does not really do a great job of explaining the backstory. A bit more information would have made this a better read for those who are picking it up as a standalone. But please, don't let that stop you from picking up this thriller.

    Nick is now a hit-man for Darius Cole. Not a fun job to have on one's resume. Especially since he is going after Federally protected witnesses. Which puts him in direct conflict with the US Marshall's office. Not good. Besides having the of brains of not wanting an entire federal agency devote the rest of their lives to running him down, Nick has enough humanity left not to want to kill innocents.

    Hamilton does a fabulous job in putting us on Mason's side. Especially since the people against him are decent upright women and men. But yes, we are rooting for Mason to kill some folks. Good writing there.

    This is a book that tears along at break-neck speed. Exciting and action packed. It is the second book in a series that takes an unexpected direction.

    Thank you NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  • Faith
    Mar 31, 2017

    In this second book of the series, Nick Mason has become a killer but he is not the only assassin in this book. He and his handler Quintero both work for Darius Cole, a crime boss who runs his Chicago criminal operation from prison. That's where Nick met him and the price Nick paid for his early release was 20 years worth of indebtedness to Cole. Nick wants to exit this arrangement. Strangely, he never contemplates suicide, which would have both solved his problem and lessened the number of dead

    In this second book of the series, Nick Mason has become a killer but he is not the only assassin in this book. He and his handler Quintero both work for Darius Cole, a crime boss who runs his Chicago criminal operation from prison. That's where Nick met him and the price Nick paid for his early release was 20 years worth of indebtedness to Cole. Nick wants to exit this arrangement. Strangely, he never contemplates suicide, which would have both solved his problem and lessened the number of dead bodies, but also would have shortened the book series.

    "Before Gordie could reach for his Ruger, Burke swung the toolbox, shattering both the radius and the ulna bones in the big man's forarm, then quickly closed in on him in the confined space, broke two of his fingers and took the gun away. He hit him in the face with it until his nose cartilage was pulverized and several of his teeth were lying on the bathroom floor." That's what you get in this book. If it isn't what you want, move on to another book. This should be a movie, and probably will be, but it just wasn't my kind of book. I found the first book entertaining, but the unbelievability factor was ramped up too high for me this time and it was just nonstop action and brutality with an extremely high body count.

    This book was more cartoonlike and less plausible than the first book. After Nick has been bleeding on his girlfriend's floor for a while, and he then tries to send her away because someone is going to kill her, she actually says to Nick "but what about us" (they have been together for maybe 2 weeks) and he, of course in his manly way, replies "there is no us". If this were a movie, at that point the entire audience would be laughing hysterically. However, I am sure there is an audience for both the movie and this series, which I assume will continue after this book. It just wasn't for me.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  • The Real Book Spy
    Mar 23, 2017

    Several months ago, Nick Mason made a life-altering deal with Darius Cole, the kingpin of a vast criminal organization. Terms were simple–Cole would help secure an early release for Mason, who still had twenty years left on his prison sentence for past crimes, in exchange for his services remaining on Cole’s payroll for the next two decades.

    In theory, the deal sounds pretty good. Especially when you add in that Mason gets ten thousand dollars a

    Several months ago, Nick Mason made a life-altering deal with Darius Cole, the kingpin of a vast criminal organization. Terms were simple–Cole would help secure an early release for Mason, who still had twenty years left on his prison sentence for past crimes, in exchange for his services remaining on Cole’s payroll for the next two decades.

    In theory, the deal sounds pretty good. Especially when you add in that Mason gets ten thousand dollars a month deposited into a secret bank account for him to use. He also gets to live in a beautiful, luxurious townhouse that overlooks Lake Michigan on the north side of Chicago, and access to an unlimited supply of fast, expensive cars.

    Mason took the deal, in part, to be close with his wife and daughter, and walked out of jail after the police officer who testified against him had a sudden change of heart and changed his story, thanks to the “urging” of Cole’s crew.

    However, while he may be out of prison, Nick Mason is far from a free man. In fact, he’s anything but…

    Mason simply traded in one sentence for another and now lives imprisoned to Cole and the tasks he assigns, which are becoming increasingly more dangerous. What started as carrying out petty crimes soon blossomed into breaking and entering, stealing, and, eventually, killing.

    A former career criminal on Chicago’s south side, Cole tabbed Mason to be his new muscle, and with a single phone call sends Nick off to handle various problems as they arise. That’s the catch, really, to Mason’s new life. The Darius Cole-issued phone is to be on his person at all times, no excuses. When it rings, he’s to answer and then immediately follow any instructions, day or night, no questions asked.

    After the events of last year’s novel,

    , which features Nick running errands for Cole while also taking on a unit of dirty cops and trying to get his wife (who has since moved in with another man) back, Steve Hamilton raised the stakes considerably in his latest thriller.

    This time around, Cole–who, thanks to a technicality, was just awarded a new trial after previously being sentenced to two life terms–tasks Mason with tracking down and eliminating the three men scheduled to testify against him in court. The catch is that each man is currently being protected inside the WITSEC program, which has never been infiltrated before.

    Wasting no time to draw readers in, Exit Strategy opens with a bang as Mason goes after the first witness. But, once the good men and women of the Federal Witness Protection Program put the puzzle pieces together and realize Cole’s plan, they harden down security for the remaining two witnesses, securing them in a pair of off-the-books military bases guarded by both U.S. Marshalls and armed military personnel.

    With the odds stacked so firmly against him, Mason’s assignment is nearly impossible. Failure to succeed would mean bad things for his ex-wife and daughter, though, who Cole keeps under surveillance and promises to harm should Nick ever fail to follow orders, get caught by the police, or try to run from their agreement.

    While making plans to take out the highly-guarded witnesses, Mason also starts developing an exit strategy, determined to leave his life as Cole’s criminal errand boy behind and to keep his family safe once and for all.

    Hamilton brilliantly weaves Mason’s personal life with his professional life, and while he’s an anti-hero, the author still finds ways to make readers root for his main character. We’ve all done things we regret, making it easy to connect with that side of Mason. But what if your mistake led to you going to prison for nearly thirty years, wrecking your family and hurting everyone you love in the process?

    To most, Cole’s offer would seem like a lifeline worth grabbing hold of, which Mason does, only to find out it puts the very people he so badly wants to win back in danger. Nick’s heart is in the right place, but he can’t catch a break, which will make readers long for his freedom and family nearly as much as he does.

    Written with blazing-fast pacing,

    is Hamilton’s most gritty, action-packed novel so far. Between the many blood-pumping action sequences and relentless suspense, the pages practically turn themselves as Hamilton will have readers racing to see if Nick Mason can actually pull off the impossible–leading up to a shock ending that will have fans begging for the next novel.

    Whatever you’re looking for,

    has a little something for everyone and delivers enough thrills to keep even the pickiest crime fans happy. Circle the date on the calendar, Steve Hamilton’s latest one-night-read is not to be missed!

    Author: Steve Hamilton

    Series: Nick Mason #2

    Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

    ISBN: 0399574387

    Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

    Release Date: April 4, 2017

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  • Kathi Defranc
    Mar 27, 2017

    What an exciting story this is, with action packed verse and complete characters that you want to follow! This is my first book by this author but I will definitely be going back to read his other one and any that follow! This story pulled me in immediately. The main character is Nick Mason, a man who had a wife and daughter before going to prison, where he meets Darius Cole, a man who gets him released from prison early. Of course this is not free, he now is 'owned' by Cole,and must be his hitm

    What an exciting story this is, with action packed verse and complete characters that you want to follow! This is my first book by this author but I will definitely be going back to read his other one and any that follow! This story pulled me in immediately. The main character is Nick Mason, a man who had a wife and daughter before going to prison, where he meets Darius Cole, a man who gets him released from prison early. Of course this is not free, he now is 'owned' by Cole,and must be his hitman on the outside. This is a deal Nick is finding very hard to keep and remain human. His ex-wife and daughter are used to threaten him, and all the targets he is sent to kill are men who are going to reveal all about Cole in court and are under witness protection. This book moves very quickly, I could not put it down when I started reading until I hit the end. I thank Netgalley, publisher Putnam's Sons and author Steve Hamilton for the chance to read this story, as I become a fan of this author's work!

  • Gail Cooke
    May 21, 2017

    While Nick Mason is the hero of this tense, compelling tale he is not a hero in the text book sense. For those who may have missed the lauded series debut Mason is a man who has served five years of a 25 year to life sentence for a killing he did not commit. Embittered and eager to get out to see his 9-Year-old daughter again he agrees to do whatever Darius Cole asks - even murder.

    Exit Strategy opens with Mason being given an almost impossible task. He is told to infiltrate the top secret feder

    While Nick Mason is the hero of this tense, compelling tale he is not a hero in the text book sense. For those who may have missed the lauded series debut Mason is a man who has served five years of a 25 year to life sentence for a killing he did not commit. Embittered and eager to get out to see his 9-Year-old daughter again he agrees to do whatever Darius Cole asks - even murder.

    Exit Strategy opens with Mason being given an almost impossible task. He is told to infiltrate the top secret federal witness protection program, find the three men who put Cole behind bars and kill them so they cannot testify against Cole in a federal court trial that has Cole appealing his conviction. Now, if the only punishment for Mason failing to do this were Mason's life that would be one thing. But the stakes are even higher - the lives of Mason's ex-wife and daughter.

    Mason is pushed to the limit having to deal with not only Cole's henchmen but also a frightening Irish assassin. To muddy the waters even further Mason is not only the hunter but the hunted - the man he replaced has escaped the witness protection program and intends to kill Mason.

    While listeners are gasping for breath they learn that Cole's Chicago enterprise is merely a branch of an international crime syndicate headed by a mastermind who is wanted by governments around the world. This major domo has plans for Mason.

    Narrator Ray Porter has taken home many an Earphones Award and listeners will immediately know why as he hooks them with an opening sentence and doesn't let go until the conclusion.

    Enjoy!

  • Laertes
    May 25, 2017

    Steve Hamilton knows how to write a thrilling, fast-paced crime novel. The 2nd installment of the Nick Mason series - 'Exit Strategy' - IS a fast-paced crime novel. These are the positive points.

    So if you are a lover of the genre and you like Hamilton's style, you should definitely give it a try.

    But after having finished the book today, there are some major issues I have with it:

    [Spoilers ahead! You have been warned!]

    It is totally unbelievable that Nick Mason has changed from a low-level car th

    Steve Hamilton knows how to write a thrilling, fast-paced crime novel. The 2nd installment of the Nick Mason series - 'Exit Strategy' - IS a fast-paced crime novel. These are the positive points.

    So if you are a lover of the genre and you like Hamilton's style, you should definitely give it a try.

    But after having finished the book today, there are some major issues I have with it:

    [Spoilers ahead! You have been warned!]

    It is totally unbelievable that Nick Mason has changed from a low-level car thief to a high-level assassin. Not just because it doesn't fit his character at all, which has slowly been developed in the first novel. But most of all because there is no way he could have learned all the skills necessary in such a short time. At one point, he literally performs a military (!) mission. On his own. Against half a dozen US marshalls in three cars, one helicopter, and a bunch of soldiers from a military camp. No. Fucking. Way.

    But even worse is the way Hamilton treats Mason's love interest, Lauren. After having developed their relationship in a believable and really beautiful way in the first novel, she is now disposed and never heard of again after the first few chapters. This is unworthy. And again not very believable for Nick Mason to act the way he does, beginning with his decision to drive to her house after having been severely wounded, and thus endanger her, ending with his decision to simply send her away.

    The next point is the abundance of - definitely interesting - characters who unfortunately don't have enough room to breathe and develop: Burke, Harper, Greenwod, and Eddy too! Hamilton should either have left them out, or he should have worked on them. The way it is, they are just empty plot devices with no soul.

    But the biggest flaw of all is the ending. I didn't fucking believe my eyes when I read it! This comes directly out of all the cheap tv shows I've learned to loathe over the course of the last years: Cole isn't the real boss, and the whole organization is much bigger and much more clandestine than we thought. This is not a twist, but a cheap plot device which has no other function than setting up the next part of the series - which will surely be even more over the top than this one. Sorry, Mr. Hamilton, but I actually feel insulted by this ending.

    All in all, this novel feels rushed, its characters are partly unbelievable, partly shallow, and never fully developed, its plot is far-fetched. Which is a pity, because I have liked all of Hamilton's novels so far - including the first Nick Mason which isn't a perfect book, but in contrary to its successor has a heart and a soul.

  • Kevin
    May 28, 2017

    Nick Mason was released from prison to a situation where he is truly owned by Darius Cole, a crime boss that would make Al Capone blush. Cole controls what Mason does and who he sees, telling him that if he does not do what he's told his ex-wife and daughter will be killed. Mason has very specific skills as an assassin and Cole starts using those skills to get rid of witnesses prior to his retrial. But Nick believes he has found a way out of this life.

    I ran through the pages just hungering to f

    Nick Mason was released from prison to a situation where he is truly owned by Darius Cole, a crime boss that would make Al Capone blush. Cole controls what Mason does and who he sees, telling him that if he does not do what he's told his ex-wife and daughter will be killed. Mason has very specific skills as an assassin and Cole starts using those skills to get rid of witnesses prior to his retrial. But Nick believes he has found a way out of this life.

    I ran through the pages just hungering to finish this page-turner. Excellent writing, a cast of interesting characters and non-stop action make this book a keeper.

  • Tony
    May 29, 2017

    EXIT STRATEGY. (2017). Steve Hamilton. **1/2.

    This thriller, the second in the author’s series featuring his protagonist Nick Mason, failed to grab me. Although it started off with a bang, there was not enough character development to keep my interest. I got the feeling that I was reading a comic book full of rip-roaring dialog, but with not illustrations. I have to admit that I hadn’t read the first installment featuring this hero; maybe there was stuff in that that I should have read ahead of t

    EXIT STRATEGY. (2017). Steve Hamilton. **1/2.

    This thriller, the second in the author’s series featuring his protagonist Nick Mason, failed to grab me. Although it started off with a bang, there was not enough character development to keep my interest. I got the feeling that I was reading a comic book full of rip-roaring dialog, but with not illustrations. I have to admit that I hadn’t read the first installment featuring this hero; maybe there was stuff in that that I should have read ahead of this. In any event, it was obvious that I was missing something – something that was key to understanding the motivation of Nick Mason. Aside from that, the novel came across as formulaic. Again, the comic book reference came to mind. I think I’ll pass on going back and reading the first installment, though. As this work stands, it is certainly good enough for a beach read – and summer is coming.


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