When Alina Maschik - code name "Viper" - flees Syria, she has a serious problem. Someone knows much more than they should about the elusive assassin. With orders to lie low, Alina returns to Medford, determined to do just that.
But once again, New Jersey refuses to co-operate.
The Casa Reino Cartel is moving mysterious cargo up the Eastern seaboard; a tragic accident in the Pine Barrens kills a local street race; FBI Special Agent John Smithe is looking for answers where there shouldn't be questions; metro area hospitals are stockpiling a new antidote, and an invisible foe has zeroed in on Viper.
A web of intrigue stretching from Damascus to the Pine Barrens has been skillfully cast. Now, Viper must confront ghosts from her past even as she fights to unravel a sinister plot before thousands of Americans die.
NEXT EXIT, QUARTER MILE is the latest offering in the Exit Series – and things are about to change in ways Alina never saw coming.
Viper is told to stand down and returns to New Jersey after being unexpectedly chased across the Middle East to the Amalfi Coast, a strange concept when the assassin is usually the one doing the hunting. The Organization has a mole that is leaking like a sieve and death lurks just around the corner.
And when the bill comes due, death always collects.
Alina knows this better than most, having lost her brother to enemy fire twelve years ago, prompting her to join the Navy and Naval Intelligence which eventually led her to the Organization. But the past is sneaking up, ready to explode like the handiwork of the terrorist’s bomb signature she knows all too well.
And he’s coming for more than just Viper this time.
QUARTER MILE is part Fast and Furious, part Taken, and part Jason Bourne, and for a gal that loves cars and things that go ‘splodey, this was a really nice mix. But it isn’t all street races in this offering. We are talking about assassins – and even assassins have a human side.
That’s where this novel becomes a pivoting point in the series. Circumstances from all sides force Alina (and that mysterious Hawk) to explore the humanity that was buried long ago in order to become the weapon of mass destruction her government needed. But now that that government might be targeting her, she must reexamine the reasons for what she does – and what it has required her to give up.
And in this, Quarter Mile takes a darker turn – and you’ve gotta know how much I like the darkness. The stakes are high once again and the heat gets turned up on much more than the relationship that has simmered between Viper and Hawk. There is at times a level of gruesome we haven’t seen before in the prior novels that rivals the torture scene in Taken – and I’m talking the one that didn’t make the cut in the final theatrical release version. Viper goes deep, and for an assassin that means dark.
Since we’re dealing with so much introspection, the pace at times moves a bit slower than your typical thriller, but there’s so much meat to process in this novel that it’s appreciated. Things are set up here that promise an explosive next book – and yes, that means that not all loose threads are tied up in this one when it comes to the overall larger story. But that’s okay in my book. I like the anticipation of the upcoming possibilities.
As with previous books in this series, there are a few incidences of head-hopping with point-of-view, though it’s much better this time around. Overuse of eye narrowing, lip twitching, and the word slightly ran rampant at times. However, these didn’t decrease my overall enjoyment of the novel – especially after that killer ending.
But you’ll have to read it to discover what that is.
Content Warning: There is usually little about this series that requires much in the way of warning - except the obvious dealings with assassinations. However, this one requires more caution than usual due to more salty language (nothing outside the normal ie. no f-words to worry about). and there are a couple of more gruesome scenes that might be difficult for some, though nothing I couldn't handle. For the first time, there is also the insinuation of sex but with very little on-camera activity. Probably a lot less than teens read in today's YA genre. Overall, as I usually say, just know your teen.
Another solid outing of the Exit Series, to which I'll again offer up four stars. I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes - but I liked it so much I went ahead and purchased it for my library.
CW Browning was writing before she could spell. Making up stories with her childhood best friend in the backyard in Olathe, Kansas, imagination ran wild from the very beginning. At the age of eight, she printed out her first full-length novel on a dot-matrix printer. All eighteen chapters of it. Through the years, the writing took a backseat to the mechanics of life. Those mechanics, however, have a great way of underlining what genuinely lifts a spirit and makes the soul sing. After attending Rutgers University and studying History, her love for writing was rekindled. It became apparent where her heart truly lay. Picking up an old manuscript, she dusted it off and went back to what made her whole. CW still makes up stories in her backyard, but now she crafts them for her readers to enjoy. She makes her home in Southern New Jersey, where she loves to grill steak and sip red wine on the patio.
CW loves to hear from readers! She is always willing to answer questions and hear your stories. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. If social media isn't your thing, she can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on her website at www.cwbrowning.com.