Second in the Nadia Stafford suspense series, the title is a theme, which runs throughout the series and particularly applies to this installment.
The disappearance of a local young girl and her baby triggers a flashback and the need to know for Nadia. The girl is not from a respected echelon of society and she can’t get the cops interested enough to look into it even though there are just too many clues indicating foul play. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of the right kind of clues so Nadia enlists her police experience and makes a start while keeping it under the local cop radar.
Laid up with a broken ankle, Nadia has “invited” Jack to the lodge to mend in safety and Jack is just too interested in Nadia volunteering his help in the hunt for Sammi and baby Destiny. It’s a fascinating stalk incorporating Quinn and Evelyn’s help as they uncover a major ring of players preying on the segment of society represented by Sammi and Destiny.
Side notes involve a little hotter romance between Quinn and Nadia with yet more gameplaying by Evelyn, a glimpse into the life of a lodge keeper dealing with guests a hitter might want to off, and a mechanically-inclined Jack who seems to slide right into life at the lodge.
The primary hitmen include Nadia, Jack, Evelyn, and Quinn. Nadia is an ex-cop with a bad past that affects her life 24/7 with wonky decisionmaking. Nadia is hoping to expiate some of her guilt by finding and bringing justice to Sammi; she has no problem doing a little pro bono work. As opposed to the taciturn Jack who doesn’t play if he’s not paid except when it comes to helping Nadia…hmmmm…his cryptic speech creates a bit of havoc for the other players in this story.
Evelyn joins in the search when Jack asks for her help. Unfortunately for Nadia, Eve is putting it on her tab. We find out just what flavor of cop Quinn is and he brings his extensive contacts and detectival experience to the table.
Minor players include the ever-present shade of Amy whose demise, combined with the stories told by her cop family, triggered Nadia’s, um, hostile reaction; the very-hostile view Staff Sergeant Don Riley has of Nadia and who heads up the local Ontario Provincial Police in White Rock; Janie, Sammi’s mother, who provides an excellent reason for birth control (of Janie’s mother); and, Emma who cooks at the lodge while Owen takes care of outside maintenance and leads the guests on nature hikes, fishing expeditions, and canoe trips at the lodge for Nadia.
Another good one! A deeper, intriguing look into hitman culture: their commonly-held concerns; the expected manners; the ethics of just meeting with a potential client; the different categories into which a hitman may fit; and, additional information on how one finds a contract. There’s such a hard, cold feel in this heartwarming story—very different from most of what I read and I love it!
Armstrong writes a lot about how “chatty” Nadia is and of Jack’s interest in her chatter. I can’t figure out if it’s the normality of Nadia’s life that intrigues him or Nadia herself probably a combination of both! Whatever the hook, Jack is far more interested in Nadia than he’s willing to admit or she’s expecting. However will he reconcile his feelings with Quinn’s obvious interest in Nadia?
I don’t care for this cover. It’s obviously Nadia on the cover in front of a building but what relevance it has for this story…I don’t know.
I am so hoping that Armstrong is working on book 3…this one was published in 2009 so I’m crossing my fingers!