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Exit Strategy

(Nick Mason #2)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,085 ratings  ·  315 reviews
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
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  2,085 ratings  ·  315 reviews

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Larry H
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Steve Hamilton is one of a handful of authors who can leave my pulse pounding when I'm done reading his books. I'll honestly never understand why he isn't more famous, because not only does he know how to write an action scene, he's a fantastic storyteller, one who creates thrillers with immense depth and characterization. Exit Strategy, the second book in his new series featuring Nick Mason, once again proves Hamilton is at the top of his form.

Nick Mason was in the middle of a long prison
Nov 13, 2016 rated it liked it
The first book in this new series by Steve Hamilton is The Second Life of Nick Mason. Someone has Nick in chains and he will do whatever they tell him to protect his ex-wife and daughter. His goal is to break free and get his old life back. Quoting from my review: “While I'm eager to see if he makes it, I have reservations.” With this second book’s title Exit Strategy, I hoped that's what Nick had found. Now I think Nick’s life is hopeless. He’s a killer, and I have no sympathy for him.

Maureen Carden
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, supense
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
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
After enjoying Nick Mason #1, I couldn't wait for #2...and what a disappointment! Multiple senseless deaths, kidnappings, white slavery, butcher killers, everyone under bribes or coercion. All topped off by one of the most dreadful of endings. Exit strategy??? Where??? So bad, this drops from 4-stars to a deserved 1. #3 can't be this dreadful! 2 of 10 stars
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall, not bad. Very three-star worthy, but not a standout.

There was a good mix of suspense and action, and it moved at a good clip. Violent, yes, but I’m down with the blood and gore, and the exploding heads (yes, exploding heads). Having said that, it’s the second book in the series and I don’t love or even really care much about Nick Mason. I thought he was interesting in the first book and that he would be better developed in subsequent stories, but
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won an ARC of this novel in a goodreads drawing.

After the events of the last novel, which I haven't read yet, Nick Mason finds himself at the beck and call of a Chicago crime lord. The results of this relationship are so heinous that Mason decides to escape, and that means killing his boss.

Pretty good.
The Real Book Spy
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this review and more at

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
May 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This fast moving novel is hard to put down, as Nick moves from one insane situation to the next. But you find yourself rooting for this hired killer who list wants to stop and get his old life back. I think we will see more of Nick.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
The non-stop violence and death in this one was breath-taking. But for all that, I couldn't put it down. In fairness, most of the awful mayhem and sadism was not excessively graphic or described with any more gore than your average book about crime bosses and their minions, but there was a LOT of it. Nick Mason can actually out "Reacher" Jack Reacher, and that's saying a lot. Like Reacher, he's incredibly resourceful, smart, and cage-fighting masterful, but he goes way farther than Jack in this ...more
Kathi Defranc
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, thriller, 2017, opi
This is the second book in a series featuring Nick Mason, a man recently released from prison thanks to the machinations of Darius Cole, a powerful Chicago drug lord. Cole didn't arrange for Nick's release because he's such a great guy, but because he wants Mason to kill Cole's enemies for him. Nick doesn't want to do any of this but Cole has leveled threats against his ex-wife and daughter to keep Nick on his payroll. Mason now realizes he was better off staying in prison because his indentured ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't love Nick Mason in the first book; I think I understand him more in this second book. When the main character is an indentured assassin there is an expected level of violence and body counts, so that isn't a shock; but it is raw and oppressing (probably Steve Hamilton's point) for Mason and the other characters and depressing in the quantity and breadth for this reader.
Books are often selected from loyalty to an author (this series) and for the opportunity for resolution of wrongs, for
Mahoghani 23
This book I can truly say was full of mayhem, murder, mystery and suspense. It starts off slow but continually gains momentum.

Nick Mason is a man released from prison by a major criminal mind, Darrius Cole, to do his bidding. He’s trapped in a forever murder cycle and tired of being a beck and call boy but the powers that be have eyes on his ex-wife and daughter and will kill them without thinking twice about it. His assignments recently pertain to killing people that knows Darrius’ criminal
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hamilton
Exit Strategy (Audio CD) by Steve Hamilton.

This was a Nick Mason novel. The theme of this story was Nick getting out of prison but with major complications. Those complications have been set by another man behind bars. Darius Cole is imprisoned but he still has hold of the reins that will determine Nick's life outside of prison. At this point Nick has had more than he can tolerate of prison life and so he agrees to be manipulated by Cole.
The action is non-stop and the story line kept me focused.
Daniel Sevitt
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: part-of-a-series
This more than the first Nick Mason delivered a real change of pace relative to Hamilton's other books. Explosive, bone-crunching action, dodgy moral foundation and a pervasive sense of claustrophobia kept me turning the page, hoping for a satisfying conclusion. Instead you get a gleefully cavalier attitude towards the supporting cast and a genuine sense that anything could happen now. Efficient and entertaining.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Steve Hamilton is a very good writer, there is no doubt. This Mason thriller series is very well written and thought out but I am not getting nearly the same enjoyment as I do from his mysteries. It's a lot of non-stop well written violence. There basic plot issues that nag at you when reading too, The unbelievable factor is pretty high regarding Mason's skill vs. the world. It's also hard to buy his job and threat over his head as a good idea that anyone would use. It's not a slog but it has ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This well-constructed thriller will have your adrenaline pumping from the very beginning. This is apparently the second in a series about Nick Mason, and I did not read the first, but had no trouble catching on.

Nick Mason had been incarcerated for felony murder when a fellow robbery conspirator killed someone while the robbery was being committed. Mason got released from federal prison in Terre Haute after serving five and a half years, thanks to an unwritten contract he made with a very
Gail Cooke
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, arc
In Exit Strategy, Steve Hamilton has created a dynamite followup to The Second Life of Nick Mason which introduced us to the titular hero.

Nick Mason traded his life to criminal kingpin Darius Cole in exchange for his freedom. The freedom to see his family, an ex-wife and a young daughter. Now, whenever Nick’s phone rings, he must do Cole’s bidding with no questions asked. In The Second Life of Nick Mason, Mason learns he has traded one cage for another. In Exit Strategy, Nick must keep doing
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow! I didn't see that coming!

This second book with Nick Mason as the anti hero is a thriller and has more twists and turns than that Land Rover advertisement climbing all of those steps filmed in China. And that's a lot of twists and turns.

There are a lot of characters that don't see the last page in this book and that surprise ending leaves you wanting to read the next one which is not listed on Hamilton's web site but is listed on the dust jacket.

There are three women in Nick's life, there

August 2018
4 Stars - I really liked it

This review is for books 1 & 2 (The Second Life of Nick Mason & Exit Strategy)

So far, this series is most certainly over-the-top.... but I don't care. I enjoyed these books.

Nick Mason definitely is not a good man.... but he isn't really a bad man either. He's in a tough situation and is doing the best he can to protect the ones he loves. I liked this premise and I liked that the author didn't take the *safe* path when writing this. He took
Jim Crocker
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Made quick work of this one, the sequel to The Second Life of Nick Mason. In what I am seeing as Hamilton's style, this one moves right along with no hiccups. Needless to say these two books comprise a rather unusual story. Like it's not what I expected at all, which is just great. In all, it certainly gives me plenty to think about.

Now I have three hard-and-fast rules. This book only reinforces them, not that they need reinforcement. Here they are:

1. Never sit in front of a window.
2. Never sit
Maureen DeLuca
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it
It is hard for me to believe that the author of this series is the same author of the Alex McNight series. It was a struggle to get thru this book -some of the things that good ole Nick Mason had to do is a bit far fetched, to say the least. For me, I'll be going to the Alex McNight series and not even bothering picking up the third in this series
Geoff. Lamb
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
the second entry in an excellent new series. Nick Mason is an involving character. Highly recommended, book and series.
Andy Plonka
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: src
Nick Mason is cursed. Just when he thinks he is getting himself out of trouble(relatively) it gets worse. Lots of graphic violence in this one so if you like your blood and guts scenes off stage give this one a pass. That said, it is hard to put this one down.
Freda Witt
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Continues where the last book left off. It has gotten some bad reviews, but I thought it was good. Surprise ending.
Bent Hansen
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
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 ...more
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DEAD MAN RUNNING, the long-awaited return of ALEX McKNIGHT, will be released on August 21, 2018!

Other books in the series

Nick Mason (3 books)
  • The Second Life of Nick Mason (Nick Mason, #1)
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