The Nadia Stafford series

Written by Kelley Armstrong

HIT WOMAN. As Nadia Stafford, the heroine of this three book series (with an additional novella published in e-book this spring), is an ex-Canadian cop who owns and operates a wilderness lodge. As Dee she is a contract killer for the Thomasetti’s, a small traditional Mafia family from Boston. Dee’s mentor is Jack, a more dedicated and experienced contract killer who talks with a minimum number of pronouns as he shares his wisdom.

“I’m not a shrink. Never been to one. Shot a couple. Don’t think that counts.”

Of the four main characters in the series, Nadia, who is haunted by dark ghosts from her past, steps out as Dee to earn the money she needs to keep her fledgling lodge open. She is particular about the jobs she accepts. The good looking Quinn is a vigilant and kills the guilty the law can’t touch. And Jack, well, Jack used to take any job that paid (except children) but he’s evolving. Kelley Armstrong is the author of several very successful urban fantasies, the best known of which is “The Women of the Underworld” series. This three book series is not a fantasy unless you consider it unlikely that professional and competent serial-killers-for-hire are widely available in the U.S. Google does not offer what I would consider to be reliable numbers this area. Perhaps it’s more of a dark web deal.

This is a satisfying, compact series in which the likable (yes, really) characters are chattier and more introspective between hits than the guns for hire in the four series written by men that spring to mind. That isn’t a judgment about better or a worse—just a different reading experience.

Exit Strategy (Bantam 2007)
Made to be Broken (Bantam 2009)
Wild Justice (Plume 2013)
Double Play (novella e-book 2016)

NOTE: A complete series list is also found on the Magpie Recommends page.

Sandra Jordan

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