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The Second Life of Nick Mason

A Nick Mason Crime Novel by Steve Hamilton

The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton

Review: When an FBI agent was killed during a crime in which Nick Mason took part, he was convicted to twenty years in a federal prison with no option for parole. But after just five years, Darius Cole, a fellow inmate, one who wields incredible power within the prison system, makes Nick an offer. He'll arrange for Nick's conviction to be overturned providing Nick works for him on the outside for the remaining term of his sentence. If Nick refuses the offer, Cole will make his life miserable inside. If he even lives that long. Believing he has no choice, Nick agrees to go along with the plan, in The Second Life of Nick Mason, the first book in this series by Steve Hamilton.

Cole sets Nick up in a luxurious townhouse on the north side of Chicago with expansive views of Lake Michigan. He is to be on call twenty-four hours a day. Nick knows that whatever he's asked to do, he'll have to follow through or risk being sent back to prison to await an even darker fate there. It isn't long before an assignment comes through. He's to go to a motel outside Midway Airport and kill a man in a room there. It's a messy job, but Nick walks away, only later to learn the man he shot was a cop. A dirty cop, to be sure, but a cop nonetheless. His next hit is the gang leader that the cop was working with. That, too, doesn't come off as clean as anyone would like, but he gets the job done. But both hits draw the attention of the dead cop's partners in crime, who realize someone knows what they're up to, and will do anything they can to put an end to it.

The Second Life of Nick Mason is a nearly flawless crime novel, and a terrific introduction to this new series. Nick's character is finely drawn, and is given depth with a solid backstory, which is explored at various points in the book in a non-intrusive manner. The storyline is meticulously plotted and ideally paced, the action on point at all times, calculated and measured for the most part but blunt and swift when it needs to be. About the only point worth quibbling over is Nick's relationship with a pet store owner, who he meets, beds, and then suddenly they're an inseparable couple. In a book that requires the reader to accept the inexplicable (like how Darius Cole can absolutely control so many lives while confined to a prison cell), Nick's relationship with Lauren is really unbelievable. Setting this (admittedly minor) point aside, this is overall an exceptional suspense novel, and one definitely worth picking up.

Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of The Second Life of Nick Mason for this review.

Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …

Mystery Book Review: Let It Burn by Steve HamiltonLet It Burn
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), July 2013
ISBN-13: 9780312640224; ISBN-10: 0312640226

Location(s) referenced in The Second Life of Nick Mason: Chicago, Illinois

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The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton

The Second Life of Nick Mason by A Nick Mason Crime Novel

Publisher: Putnam
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-399-57432-0
Publication Date:
List Price: $26.00

Buy the Book (purchase options)

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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews

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