Steven Hamilton introduces readers to Nick Mason who is about to start the second chapter of his life, just not quite the second chapter he was hoping for;
Nick Mason has spent the past 5 years in prison when an offer comes that he cannot refuse, he can get out 20 years early. For Nick this means h can once again be part of his daughter's life, he can try to be a new man on the outside. Nick doesn't fully understand the terms of his release until the first call comes in, he has to follow the orders, there is no yes or no answer he must do what he is told. He is now being controlled by Darius Cole who is a criminal mastermind and rules his organization from his prison cell. Nick is forced to commit even more serious crimes than the one that he was originally put away for, but he cannot renege on agreement. He wants to go straight but in order to do so he has to risk everything and become ruthless in the process.
I really enjoyed this book it was fast paced and gritty with interesting main character. What stands out in this book is that Hamilton did not shy away from the grit that needed to be in this book to make this book not only believable but also unputdownable. This is fully a character driven book, yes there is some mystery as to why Nick is being asked to complete these tasks and who is this Darius Cole guy (he is explained in the book) but it more about Nick readjusting to being outside, trying to stay there and adapting to his new life and the tasks he is asked to complete. Now with many books where the main character is released from prison there are some cliche found here but even though they are cliche I think they hold a ring of real world truth, like the wife divorcing him and wanting to remarry or regretting the choices he made that landed him in prison. Sure similar books have this too but I think this just adds to the realism of the book.
Mason is an interesting anti-hero. He is willing do to anything to protect those he loves (he's loyal to a fault) and that includes murder, yep you read that right straight out murder, but he tries to keep to a certain type of rules and code to. Obviously this code/rules is hard to stick to when someone other than himself is giving the orders. The one thing that I did not get out of Nick’s personality was he goes from thief/robber to cold blooded murderer. Maybe Cole saw something in Nick that we as the reader are not aware of but it just doesn’t fit his previous profile. However, it is intriguing to see how much Nick does change from the beginning to the end of the book and it was quite a ride.
I’m extremely happy this did not have a cookie cutter ending where everything works out, if it did not only would I have liked the book less but in the scheme of the plot it would not have made sense to be tied up nicely in the end. I’m really looking forward to continuing on with this series.
Great start to a series. Nick is an awesome character who really is the main focus of this book and Hamilton does him justice in his development and story. I will unqestionalby be picking up the second book in this series.