I picked up the first book in the Nadia Stafford series mainly on the strength of Kelley Armstrong's name - I've been a fan since Bitten first came out in the US. I love her writing, and having enjoyed books by authors like Greg Rucka, I knew a book featuring a female hitman as the point of view character was something I might like.
Since I haven't reviewed the first book, I'll say something brief about it here. You should definitely read it first before picking up this one! Exit Strategy kept me engaged the whole way through, and introduced several complex and richly three-dimensional characters to follow. Nadia is the POV character, the cop who came from a family of cops, only to have to leave her chosen profession under a cloud of disgrace. She turns to her new profession (hitman) as a way to make money, and satisfy the urge she can't quite control for vigilante justice. Then there's her older, experienced, and taciturn mentor, simply known as Jack, with whom she shares an unacknowledged and unresolved tension that could possibly lead to more, if either of them wanted it to. Nadia doesn't get along quite so well with his mentor, the "retired" hitwoman Evelyn, bent on manipulating and controlling everyone around her. And then there's Quinn, the cop who moonlights as a hitman and has instant and palpable chemistry with Nadia, much to Jack's displeasure.
The interplay between them begins in Exit Strategy and picks up again without missing a beat in Made to be Broken. There is still that unspoken tension between Nadia and Jack, something neither of them are comfortable acknowledging, despite Evelyn's pushing. Quinn has remained a presence in Nadia's life, and clearly wants more. Nadia does, too, though her unresolved feelings for Jack interfere.
When one of Nadia's employees disappears along with her three month old baby, Nadia can't let it go like the rest of her small town, who seem content to believe that a 'bad apple' like Sammi just ran off. The case takes on new and deadly implications when Nadia's investigation reveals the involvement of another pro - the sort that like Jack, Nadia, Evelyn, and Quinn, takes a lot of money and the right connections to hire.
The case itself also stirs old memories for Nadia, an incident from her childhood that has haunted her ever since. It's responsible for the events that disgraced her as a cop, and it's a large part of why she is who she is, and why she turned to professional hits in the first place. Only Jack knows some of the details, pieces that she trusted him with in the past. Now, Nadia's remembering more than she ever has about that long ago night, answering some questions for the reader and for Nadia, while also raising new ones.
A satisfying read, this sequel further develops the characters and their relationships, while delivering a solid story for them to work through. The end of this book will leave you eager for more, and wondering when the next Nadia Stafford book is due to hit shelves. Once again, Kelley Armstrong delivers!