ABOUT THE BOOK:
Nick Mason has already spent five years
inside a maximum security prison when an offer comes that will grant his release twenty years early. He accepts -- but the deal comes with a terrible price.
Now, back on the streets, Nick Mason has a new house, a new car, money to burn, and a beautiful roommate. He’s returned to society, but he's still a prisoner. Whenever his cell phone rings, day or night, Nick must answer it and follow whatever order he is given. It’s the deal he made with Darius Cole, a criminal mastermind serving a double-life term who runs an empire from his prison cell.
Forced to commit increasingly more dangerous crimes, hunted by the relentless detective who put him behind bars, and desperate to go straight and rebuild his life with his daughter and ex-wife, Nick will ultimately have to risk everything—his family, his sanity, and even his life—to finally break free.
READ AN EXCERPT:
Nick Mason's freedom lasted less than a minute.
The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Secret Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton is a 2016 G.P. Putnam’s Sons publication.
I’m always curious when an author steps away from his bread and butter series and starts a new one or writes a stand alone. I know Steve Hamilton from his Alex McKnight series, which is very enjoyable, so I felt confident the author would meet those standards no matter how far off the beaten path this story was by comparison.
Nick Mason receives a ‘get out of jail free’ card, but it comes with a hefty price. Five years ago, Nick was sentenced to a twenty-five year prison sentence. He soon finds he has been singled out by a long timer, Darius Cole, who runs a thriving business outside the prison walls, in Chicago. Darius needs someone on the outside to do his bidding and feels Nick is the best man for the job.
Suddenly, Nick finds his conviction overturned and his freedom restored. Not only that, he’s been provided with a plush Lincoln Park apartment, a nice car, and a big fat wad of cash which is replenished on a monthly basis. The catch? He must do whatever he is told, when he’s told to do it. When his phone rings, he must obey and perform the task assigned to him, no questions asked…
I don’t know why I was under the impression this was a stand alone novel, but it would appear it is the first book in a series.
Nick is one of those anti-hero types, a man who tries to live a clean and straight life, but keeps getting sucked back into the criminal element, each time worse than the last. This time, despite the loathing he has for what he is being forced to do, he has no choice but to make the best of a bad situation.
I think Nick makes an interesting character study, and is a person you feel bad for and even like, but who also commits horrible crimes, with only a modicum of remorse. The scenes with his daughter are especially poignant, but his attempts to lead a regular life are futile, even though he continues to delude himself into thinking he can still pull it off.
The Chicago setting is perfect for this stylish crime novel that employees a slight noir atmosphere, and is packed with nefarious characters from both sides of the law. There is plenty of action, violence, emotional conflict, and even a little romance, to cap things off, although this part felt slightly forced.
It’s too soon to tell how well the series will develop from here on out. I feel this series has a vast amount of promise, but, it will all hinge on that all important second book. As it stands right now, based on the momentum of this book, it could go either way.
Overall, this is a pretty big departure from the Alex McKnight series and fans of this author may be a bit surprised by it, but if approached with an open mind, I think you’ll find this is a pretty interesting crime drama, and I do recommend giving it a try.
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