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This is book three in a trilogy suspense series that Kelley Armstrong has been working on for a while, book one was published in 2007. The main character, Nadia Stafford, is a former cop who went rogue and killed an unarmed suspect. When she is forced to leave law enforcement, she buys a wilderness lodge in Ontario. It eventually falls on hard times, she takes a job as a hit man to help pay the bills. Throughout the series we spend time with her hitman mentor, Jack, his mentor, Evelyn, and a US Marshall, who is also a part-time hit man Quinn.
At the beginning of this book, Quinn and Nadia have just ended an attempt at a relationship, or at least Nadia considers it ended. Quinn isn’t quite as sure. Jack contacts Nadia because he has found the person believed to have killed Nadia’s cousin, Amy, when she was a teenager. Nadia had also been kidnapped at the same time. She barely escaped with her life, but when she sent her cop father back to cabin, Amy was already dead and the suspect was gone. They do eventually catch him, and there is a trial. But he is acquitted. When Jack finds this killer, someone has already killed him before they get there. They do find his journal and Nadia has to come to some hard truths about her past.
It takes Nadia, Jack, Quinn and Evelyn a long time and many dead ends before they finally figure out who was the killer. There are many twists and turns and you will keep guessing until the end. I was surprised with many of the things that are uncovered in throughout the story. I don’t want to give any parts away, so I won’t go into much more of the plot. Just know that you don’t get from point A to point B in a straight line.
Although, this series isn’t really a romance or a paranormal, which is what I normally read, it is a great series and I recommend it. I probably wouldn’t have tried it if it was a different author, but I’m a huge fan of Kelley Armstrong and thought I would give it a try. I’m really glad that I did. I really like Nadia and Jack, especially. Evelyn is pretty funny too. There is a ton of action with a great story, which you’ve come to expect from Ms. Armstrong.
This is the first of the trilogy that I’ve done on audio. At this time, book one is been published on audio, but I don’t think book two is out yet. I’m sure it will be, but just isn’t done yet. I enjoyed it on audio. Jack has a gruff Irish brogue that I enjoyed. Nadia is Canadian and you could hear the accent on occasion. The rest of the voices were pretty normal, but were distinct and done well.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
“Wild Justice”, the third and last book in the Nadia Stafford series about a ex-cop turned hitman for the mob, provides a very satisfying end to the series as well as a good standalone novel.
For me, the appeal of this series comes from an inversion of the normal assumptions in crime novels. In most books, Nadia Stafford would be the villain, not the hero. She kills people for money. I ought not to like her. Yet, over the course of the three books, I constantly found myself wanting her to succeed.
In the first book, “Exit Strategy”, I liked Nadia because she was smart and brave and had personal integrity but I didn’t really get inside her head. I actively disliked Jack, her laconic, emotionally withdrawn mentor.
In the second book “Made To Be Broken” I got to see the world more from Nadia’s point of view. I understood how the interaction between the traumas in her past and her personality, led her to lead a double life and set up the conflict between being a loyal, brave person who runs a Nature Lodge in the woods and being a killer for hire. I still couldn’t quite reconcile the person I liked with the job that she chose to do.
In “Wild Justice” Kelley Armstrong turns her whole focus onto who Nadia Stafford is and why she is that way. The themes are deeper and the writing more self-assured than in “Exit Strategy”. “Exit Strategy” read like an “I-wonder-what-it-would-be-like-to-write-a-thriller-with-no-paranormal-content” experiment on the edges of what Kelley Armstrong had written up to then. “Wild Justice” is in the heart of what Kelley Armstrong excels at: giving insights into strong, sometimes violent, women and making them real.
The story is woven from three main threads: discovering what REALLY happened to Nadia when she was thirteen and she and her cousin were abducted and her cousin was killed, responding to a hit being taken out on Nadia and resolving Nadia’s relationship with the two men in her life, Quinn a US Marshall with a side-line in vigilante justice and Jack, Nadia’s laconic and apparently emotionally crippled mentor.
The story is well plotted, with lots of tension, a great deal of action and violence and more than a few surprises along the way.The writing is tight and the dialog is perfect. What lifts the book and makes it one of my favourites from Kelley Armstrong, is Nadia’s journey into her own past, how it makes her confront her present and finally gives her the ability to craft a future.
It’s a great read. It keeps the pages turning and at the end, it gives a gratifying sense of closure.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful