Book Review: Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong

Posted January 13, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Wild Justice by Kelley ArmstrongWild Justice by Kelley Armstrong
Genres: Romance, Thriller
Published by Plume on November 26, 2013
Pages: 392
Format: Paperback
Source: the library


In Wild Justice, Nadia is confronted with her most difficult task to date: going after the man who killed her cousin Amy twenty years prior. But when it turns out that someone else has already taken justice into their own hands, she is drawn into a complex situation where everything she knows and loves is thrown into the path of danger. Nadia is forced to take matters into her own hands, ultimately requiring her to confront her darkest secrets—and her deepest desires—in a way that she never thought possible.

Also by this author: Omens, Sea of Shadows, Visions, The Masked Truth, City of the Lost, Forest of Ruin, Betrayals, A Darkness Absolute, Indigo, Rituals, The Unquiet Past, This Fallen Prey, Stolen, Rough Justice, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Broken, Dark Screams: Volume Nine, No Humans Involved,, Waking the Witch, Portents, Missing, Alone in the Wild, Watcher in the Woods, Otherworld Secrets, Wherever She Goes, "The Case of the Half-Demon Spy", "Truth & Consequences", "Territorial", "Escape", "Adventurer", Otherworld Chills, A Stranger in Town, "Bargain", Hex on the Beach, "Recruit", "Checkmate", "Framed", Cursed Luck, High Jinx, Bitten, Driven, "Forsaken"

Reviewed by Kathy

Third and final book in the Nadia Stafford thriller series about a female hitwoman.

My Take
No, no, no, no, no, nooooooo. I don’t want this to be the end!! I love this series!! Besides, what about the Contrapasso??? Now that Armstrong has let this particular cat out of the bag, she can’t leave it there… Okay, so I’m whining. I like this series! How often do you get a story, let alone a series, about a contract killer who’s a woman?

Wild Justice is a story you simply can’t stop and put down. It’s like the rest of this series, and not at all what you would expect from Armstrong, although it does bear the hallmark of her excellent writing abilities. Then there are those twists she introduces. God knows I was clueless, refusing to believe for pages until Armstrong led me along her path of clues!

It’s kinda too bad that Nadia has a moral streak, as the trigger event hits really hard and simply gets worse when Jack shows up with an unexpected “gift”. It’ll be a rough trip down memory lane, but worth it for the truth that emerges. It’s that initial truth, about a serial bad guy who could’a, should’a, been taken down at the start that hurts the most.

It’s amazing how very careful Jack is with Nadia—and it makes me want to go back to the beginning with Exit Strategy, 1, and re-explore how we first learn about Jack mentoring Nadia. Was Jack’s telegraph-style of speech there, and I simply missed it? Was the basis for the camaraderie between Nadia and Jack laid there as well? I know I wouldn’t mind a re-read.

It’s a slow dance Armstrong has us waltzing through with its close steps and suggestive moves, its careful building to its unexpectedly expected result. And still Armstrong continues to twist and turn, using Quinn and his regrets, Nadia reacting in the guy role, and Jack the timid one. Armstrong had me wallowing in indecision, but eventually Nadia’s choice, her explanations, rang true, and I had to admire her reasoning. Dang, Armstrong’s good!

Wow, we get Jack’s background, and it’s much rougher than I had expected. Makes me feel bad for the guy.

Okay, hitman humor. The superior, first-rate versus the third-rate, and it’s just sad. There’s something to be said for reading, and these two should have read their Nadia Stafford books *shakes her head with very little regret*. Although, Jack, Nadia, and Quinn had their own snafus…!

That scene after the fancy dinner…smokin’! Even if there was some nasty fall-out. If you’re interested in relationship alternatives, a different way of approaching one, do read Wild Justice.

Oh, it’s a little scary how clueless Nadia is, and yet, why would she think anything else?

It’s a good ending. One that leaves an opening for more, although I’m not sure that’s not just me being hopeful…

The Story
A hit goes bad, and Nadia zones out, the bad result triggering her memories of the murder of her young cousin two decades ago.

Memories that seem so appropriate when Jack hands his “gift” to her. It should be so easy…

The Characters
Nadia Stafford, a.k.a., Dee, is an ex-cop who runs a wilderness lodge northeast of Toronto when she’s not under contract. Emma and Owen Walden are the cook and all-round handyman who handle things when she’s gone. Scout is the dog Jack gave her last spring. Neil is a cousin who was a newbie on the force those 20 years ago along with fellow cops, Myron Young and cousin Pete. Dr. Foster was the good-intentioned family physician.

Jack, in truth John Daly, is Nadia’s mentor; Evelyn is Jack’s mentor and middleman. Felix is a hitman friend who’s into the toys. Quinn, a.k.a., the Boy Scout, is a Virginia-based U.S. marshal who moonlights as a vigilante hitman. He’s also Dee’s ex-boyfriend these days.

Amy is Nadia’s twenty-year-dead, naive cousin; Uncle Eddie was Amy’s father and a cop. Drew Aldrich is the man who killed her, and his premium defense team included Lawrence Webb and Sebastian Koss, who is now a big-time victim’s advocate. Shannon Broadhurst was a victim, one who realizes, now, the truth of the situation.

Paul Tomassini, nephew to a New York mafia don, is Dee’s exclusive middleman. Roland, another middleman, runs third-rate hitmen, like Mark Lewiston. Duncan is another middleman, very professional, and a good friend of Evelyn’s.

Alan Wilde is a hit. Rose Wilde is his timid wife while Hannah is their three-year-old. David Miller, a.k.a., James Emery, is a fake cop in Newport who’s living in Cleveland.

The Contrapasso Fellowship is an urban legend among cops and hitmen, a “club composed of former judges, lawyers, and law-enforcement officers who hire assassins to right judicial wrongs.” Henry Bryant is hiding in the Contrapasso. Diaz is another member.

The Cover
The cover has a soft black background with a partial view of Nadia in a too-big khaki trenchcoat, holding a really big gun. A very determined-looking lady.

The title is a combination of what occurs within the boards and is definitely a Wild Justice.

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2 responses to “Book Review: Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong

    • ladystorm

      Ya gotta start with Exit Strategy as it builds the relationships referred to in this particular story. And, yeah, it was terrific. Well worth adding to the TBR, LOL!

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