Exit Strategy by Steve Hamilton

Exit Strategy

Steve Hamilton

Exit Strategy is an action-packed journey that leads from a high-security military installation in the Appalachian Mountains to a secret underground bunker hidden far below the streets of New York City.

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In the stunning follow-up to the New York Times bestseller 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 men who put his boss Darius Cole behind bars for life, and kill them.

But first he has to find them—they’re ghost prisoners locked down around the clock in classified “deep black” locations by an battalion of heavily armed U.S. marshals charged with protecting them—and the clock is ticking. Cole is appealing his conviction, and these witnesses are either his ticket to freedom or the final nail in his coffin. If they testify, Darius Cole will never step foot in the outside world again. If they are killed, he will walk out a free man. 

As he risks everything to complete his mission, Mason finds himself being hunted by the very man he replaced, the ruthless assassin who once served, then betrayed, Darius Cole. Rather than waiting to be Mason's next victim, he has escaped witness protection to hunt down and kill Mason himself.

In an action-packed journey that leads from a high-security military installation in the Appalachian Mountains to a secret underground bunker hidden far below the streets of New York City, Nick Mason will have to become, more than ever before, the lethal weapon that Darius Cole created.

Advance Galley Reviews

This is the second book in this series I'm reading. While I enjoyed the first book, it didn't expect that it would be a character I would return to so soon. Nevertheless, through First to Read, it happened. Nick Mason is a killer, who landed in prison, but got himself extracted thanks to the efforts of kingpin and fellow inmate Darius Cole. Now he is in debt to and in employ by Cole. Cole has a retrial coming up and Mason's job is to take out the witnesses against Cole. Mason, however, is not a happy man, he has relationships he cannot tend to and his association with Cole is not making things easier. Time to find an exit strategy, but in this world where his kingpin has a reach that goes deeper than Cole anticipated nothing is safe nor easy. I enjoyed this book a lot and hope to return to the series as I'm beginning to like Mason a lot more than in the earlier book I read. As an action book, it delivers fantastically.

Wow, this book is a thrill ride. Nick Mason is a killer no way around it but you actually root for the guy because it is not entirely of his own making. When he was sent to prison for a crime he did commit he caught the attention of a crime boss Darius Cole. Cole befriends him and arranges for his release but in exchange Nick has to be Cole's on call assassin. Cole controls Nick and ensure he does this by threatening those he loves his ex-wife and daughter. Cole is up for a retrial so he decides to stack the deck in his favor calling on Nick to eliminate the witnesses. However the witnesses are in the federal witness protection program making it more difficult for Nick. Nick is a good guy and his morals drive him not to take the lives of the innocent and only kill his target but dealing with the witness protection program puts him in the crosshairs of the U.S Marshall's service. Cole's people provide him with a place to live a fake job, the information on his targets and the tools he needs to get the job done but they also provide him with threatening handlers. Ultimately he is trapped and looking for an exit strategy. He has to kill to protect the ones he loves. In the process he falls for his roommate Cole's girl trapped in the same way Nick is and he has to find a way to get them both out while protecting his family. For me he best part of the entire book was the ending with its suspenseful twist. Excellent action packed suspense thriller. Extremely fast paced and hard to put down. It is the second in the series but it is not necessary to have read the first book to enjoy it. I recommend this book to those who like suspense thrillers, cop dramas, crime novels, and an action packed story line. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

I wanted to read this book because I enjoyed the first one about Nick, but for some reason I could not download it. I wrote to see if I could get a new link but never did. I, however, have recently purchased this book, and really enjoyed it. There is lots of action and never ending suspense. Highly recommend the book, and the first Nick Mason book too. Steve Hamilton just keeps getting better.

I wish that I could read the entire Nick Mason series right now. It's full of nail-biting suspense, will-he-or-won't-he double crosses and rip-roaring action. It's a balance that's harder than it seems, especially when your protaganist is balancing his whole life with his job as a crime and drug lord's assassin and errand boy.

This book kept me riveted from the start. I loved the action scenes.

In The Second Life of Nick Mason, Steve Hamilton introduced an unlikely hero—a man freed from prison for a crime he didn't commit, thanks to the intervention of fellow inmate and criminal mastermind Darius Cole. In return, Mason must do Cole's dirty work—for the next twenty years, which was the amount of time remaining on his sentence. Even though he's set up in a posh Chicago townhouse, gets a healthy monthly stipend and has access to whatever tools he needs to complete his missions, he's not free. He's an indentured servant, on 24-hour call by the kingpin, kept in line by threats against his ex-wife and young daughter, and anyone else who becomes important to him. In the follow-up, Cole forces Mason to become involved in increasingly audacious and dangerous schemes. A new trial is scheduled that could free Cole, especially if the witnesses against him, currently members of the federal Witness Protection Program, are taken out of play. Although no one has ever killed someone in WITSEC before, Mason is sent after these witnesses, one at a time. Someone on the inside is providing crucial strategic information that allows Mason to waltz into secure locations and take out the people who testified against Cole at his first trial. Even though he's killing people, Mason has a code of conduct: he uses non-lethal force against anyone who stands between him and his victim. Members of law enforcement may be badly injured, but they won't be killed, at least not by his hand. Naturally, this makes his task more difficult, but it's Hamilton's way of making a killer more palatable to readers. Mason may have been innocent of the murder for which he was sent to prison, he's still a criminal, albeit a non-violent one with a heart of gold, especially when it comes to his 9-year-old daughter. His transition from a small-time criminal to a reluctant killer to a full-fledged assassin with James Bond skills is a little difficult to accept, though. He faces increasingly high odds against successfully completing his assignments, but he manages to outgun and outmaneuver numerous highly skilled opponents, albeit not completely unscathed. All the while, he's conceptualizing his exit strategy, a way to get out from under Cole's thumb while keeping those he loves safe. That's not an easy task, and not everyone in Mason's small circle of friends and allies will survive the book. If Cole's scheme succeeds and he is released from prison, what will become of Nick Mason? Complicating Mason's plans is Eamon Burke, a ruthless assassin with even greater killing skills than him, a Terminator-like Irishman who's aware of Cole's plan and is determined to get his revenge. Hamilton keeps up the pressure and the pace, and there's little time for serious character development in this second book. Readers entering the series with this novel will have missed out on some of the greater depth in the first book and may have less sympathy for Mason. And just when it looks like Mason might be clawing his way out of his personal abyss, a new revelation sends him reeling and sets up the follow-up.

I have been a fan of Steve Hamilton for years and really enjoyed the first book in this series-The Second Life of Nick Mason. Hamilton has outdone himself with this one. Nick is being forced to eliminate witnesses before a new trial takes place to free his "boss" from his prison sentence-- in order to protect his ex-wife and daughter. Nick already knows he made a mistake in agreeing to do whatever he is ordered to do to get out of prison himself. The assignments get harder and harder and more dangerous and he knows he has to get out of the deal--but how? Every idea seems to backfire and make things even worse for Nick and those he cares about--but who is really pulling the strings?

This thriller takes you on a wild ride, from the Appalachian mountains to the city and more. Nick Mason is driven to complete his mission no matter what. He's a complex character. I want to go back and read the first in the series to try to get a better understanding of Nick. The book seemed to end in a manner that keeps it open for future extensions of this series. I'll definitely keep my eyes open for them. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book in advance.

A thrill ride through every Chapter! I was wisked away into a secret world of dark characters and a conflicted anti-hero! Nick Mason has been tricked and forced into becoming a drug lord's "do-er", getting rid of anyone who stands in the "king's" way. It's that or his family Ilya pays the ultimate price. Following g Nick, always one step behind it seems, are a variety

A thinking assassin, not too keen on his job, but he's stuck. This book is the 2nd in a series, but I didn't need to read it to enjoy the book, although it would have helped. I'd like to read the first now, to see how it all started. The book dragged at times but I enjoyed it.

The Further "Adventures" of Nick Mason Conflicted hit man Nick Mason, introduced in The Second Life of Nick Mason, made a deal with the "devil" in order to get out of prison. Now he's caught in a trap of his own making, a world of violence, betrayal and unappetizing choices as he seeks to protect those he holds dear. Efforts to extricate himself from a life that gets more violent and confusing by the minute, he learns that things are not as they seem, ends up to endangering the wrong people and compromises himself as time goes on.

I absolutely loved this book. I happened across book 1 at the library and really enjoyed it. I love the character of Nick Mason. He is torn between doing the right thing and protecting the people he cares about. I am certainly a fan of this series and I hope there will be a third book!

I wish I had realized this is book 2 of a series. It certainly can be read as a stand-alone but I wish I had gotten a better sense of Nick's backstory. A good quick read; I didn't find anything particularly extraordinary about it. Pretty standard procedural.

I highly recommend that readers read The Second Life of Nick Mason prior to Exit Strategy so they will know what Nick Mason has been up against, and why he makes some of the decisions he does in Exit Strategy. I really enjoyed this book, was on the edge of my seat throughout the book. Nick Mason is not really a killer by choice, but is forced into being a killer to protect his family. Although they have inside job information, sometimes that information is not always quite right, and Nick has to improvise somwtimes. Nick Mason does not like the life that has been chosen for him, and he has a plan to leave it and return to a normal life. You'll have to read this book to find out if he is successful or not. And I am sure you will enjoy every thrilling page of Exit Strategy!

3.5 stars. This is the first book by Steve Hamilton that I have read, so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I found was a well written thriller mixed with a police and Federal procedural. Exit Strategy is the second book in the series. You can read this book without having read the first book, The Second Life of Nick Mason. This is a standalone and ends with a soft cliffhanger for future books in the series. I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. There is graphic violence. The book blurb adequately describes the storyline so I'm not going to repeat that all info here. The author did a great job of explaining what is going on and describing the setting of the story in Chicago, with the mob and ethnic neighborhoods. There are a lot of clues in the storyline that keep you guessing what twists and turns will be revealed next. It definitely kept me riveted all the way to the end. I look forward to reading more of Steve Hamilton's books.

First time I have read this author. Enjoyed his style. A well written mystery with a lot of good twists.

Very well written action-packed book...

Unfortunately, I was not able to download. It always said this copy was in use. WIsh there was a better method for Kindle readers....

This book is the second in what I hope will be a long series. I read this book in one sitting, keeping me up all night. For pure escapist fantasy, this one cannot be beat. From page one to the surprise ending this book is action packed, suspenseful, and filled with many twists and turns. Looking forward to the next chapter in Nick mason's life.

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 first 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 is now '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 tank the author, Steve Hamilton and 'First to Read' for the chance to read this story,as I become a fan of thia author's work!

Sounded like a great book but sadly, after multiple attempts, I was unable to download. Thank you for the opportunity!

This is the second book in the Nick Mason series and I requested the ARC from First To Read because I had enjoyed the first book so much. The author once more builds Nick Mason's character so that most readers will feel compelled to see Nick win. As in the first, Nick's family is once more threatened in order to get Nick to continue his work for Darius Cole. I believe that my having read the first book helped in reading this one. My empathy was quickly hooked into the story as Nick protects his girl friend by forcing her to leave town. The story moves quickly with multiple threads but I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much without having read the first installment. I would still give it a four out of five stars and will probably read Steve Hamilton's next Nick Mason novel.

Nick Mason only wanted a normal life but that wouldn't come easily. He was a murderer recently released from prison and he was owned by a master criminal still serving time for his heinous crimes. "Just answer the phone and do what you are told." If not, your ex - wife and daughter's lives are in jeopardy. Nick's time in prison had changed him. He wanted out of this agreement and finally made a deal with a cop so he could have his freedom. He had an exit strategy. Now he had to follow through with his plans. The characters are well developed and interesting. The story keeps you guessing to learn the next turn in the story all the way to the final twist. Despite his past I found myself pulling for Mason to succeed and build his new life.

The second book in the Nick Mason series and I think it's pretty important that you read book 1 first. This is fun read, light on plot and character development but it has its foot on the accelerator the whole time. Looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here.

Great story. I love characters that seem flawed and therefore real. I figured out who did it before the end, but did not expect how it actually played out.

This book started good, but it just wasn't for me. I didn't like it very much.

I was unable to download this book on my computer or my kindle. Therefore, I was not able to read the book!

I give Exit Strategy four stars. I must admit that despite all my reading, I have never heard of author Steve Hamilton or His books. I’m so glad I learned about the author and his books now. Exit Strategy begins strong and takes the reader on a roller coaster ride in this “stunning follow-up to the New York Times bestseller 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 is a man who had a wife and daughter before going to prison, where he meets thug, Darius Cole. Cole gets him released from prison early but Mason is not really free, because now he finds himself owned by Cole, as his hitman on the outside. Of course, Mason is finding very hard to keep the deal. Cole uses Mason’s ex-wife and daughter to keep him in line. This new mission Mason must complete is to kill all the men that will testify again Darius Cole. Unfortunately, the targets are all in the Witness Protection program. Unfortunately, coming from a law enforcement family, the plot is a bit over the top and unbelievable. More cartoonish than believable, for me anyway. First, WITSEC prisoners are secret but not impossible to get too. Also, it is not the U.S. Marshals that are charged with protecting them in locations. Those facts aside, the book is an enjoyable read. If you’re into action adventures, you should enjoy this one.

I really liked Steve Hamilton's first installation in his new series about Nick Mason (The Second Life of Nick Mason), small-time criminal and ex-con turned reluctant hitman for an incarcerated Chicago crime boss. This sequel is just as dark and action-packed as the first book, and Mason's rage and desperation are great drivers for the plot that had me hooked from cover to cover. Mason is no unbeatable superman, and Hamilton's way of beating his protagonist up in all kinds of painful ways (both physical and non-physical) earns many points in my book. As in the first book, there are elements in the story that strike me as less credible, but I forgive Hamilton because I am sure he cuts a few corners in order to avoid super complicated technical descriptions that would have made many readers fall asleep. I wasn't quite as blown away by this book as I was after reading the first book, but I was very much entertained and hope to read more about Nick Mason in the future. Once again, Hamilton ends the book with a cliffhanger that could suggest that Mason's troubles are far from over...

Hmmm. Where do I start? First let me say it is a quick read. At right around 300 pages --once I started reading, it only took me a little over three hours to finish. However, I wanted to quit half way through because it was basically more of the same as the first book. Don't get me wrong, the story wasn't awful and there is a twist at the end that some won't see coming, but for me, Nick Mason just isn't that interesting. If you read the first book you know he is an assasin for a man in prison and he's doing it for the sole purpose of keeping his daughter and ex wife "safe." While any parent would hopefully do anything in their right mind to protect their child, I had to suspend disbelief from start to finish. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the truth is, Nick Mason has no kind of training except for the joys of a misspent youth and let's face it, that misspent youth isn't enough for him to pull off multiple kills and courageous acts that he accomplished in this book. Trust me, I wanted to like Exit Strategy, but for me it barely earned 2 out of five stars.

Excellent book! Fast start, kept me involved throughout. Several unexpected twists and turns. Really enjoyed the book. Would recommend for the action readers.

I received an advance reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review via first to read. Wow! Non stop action and endless suspense! This book is so active you fear putting it down because you might miss something! And full of twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Definite five stars!

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.

Nick Mason is an owned man. Given his freedom from prison by the notorius Darius Cole he has been given one of his most risky jobs yet. In order to protect his loved ones he does whatever his boss asks of him. Until one day he comes across some information that changes everything. And the position he finds himself in leaves him with little to no chance of survival. A fast paced and emotionally charged telling of life on the nefarious side of the law. I have read this book many times, and each time I discover something new and exciting I missed before. great read!!!!!!

Excellent story. This book continues the story of Nick Mason and the predicament he is in. What he is forced to do and how he tries to get out of his predicament and save friends and family. Even though he is being forced to do horrible things I still root for him because he does have a code of honor to not kill innocents, just his target, and he is trying to escape what he is being forced to do. Lots of action, thrills and surprises and the book is hard to put down once you start reading. I am very much looking forward to the next Nick Mason book.

This was my first Steve Hamilton book. I found it to be a very good read. Even hard to put down at points. Nick Mason is an interesting character. At book's end I think I was even interested to stay tuned for the next installment.


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