A Book Spy Review: ‘Exit Strategy’ by Charlton Pettus

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Exit StrategyIf you’ve ever found yourself wishing you could just disappear and start over with a new life someplace else, you’re not alone. . . but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. 

Jordan Parrish is a genius scientist who founded a successful tech startup with the goal of creating a world without diseases. On the surface, he looks happy. In reality, his marriage to Stephanie, a Harvard professor, is on the rocks and has been since the couple lost one of their three children. Likewise, his company is secretly on the brink of financial ruin. So, with nowhere else to turn, Jordan decides he has three options before him.

He can do nothing and slowly lose everything. He could take the pills the doctors prescribed him after Elizabeth, his daughter, passed away. Or, he can call Exit Strategy. 

Serving the very wealthy, Exit Strategy is a unique company that, for the right price, helps make people looking for a new beginning start over someplace else with a brand new identity. Upon making the call, Jordan is whisked away from his office. The first step in the process of becoming a new man involves the implantation of a microchip so that the people behind Exit Strategy can track his every move. After his new identity is complete, Jordan finds himself teaching English in Japan, though his thoughts keep drifting towards Elizabeth and their kids. 

One of the reasons Jordan wanted Exit Strategy to fake his death was to ensure Elizabeth was given a sizeable insurance payout. What he didn’t expect, though, was for his wife to be told that he was having an affair, only to die in a car accident alongside his mistress. Hurting her was never part of the plan, but then again, for such a brilliant guy, Jordan seems to have forgotten to read the fine print in his agreement with Exit Strategy. As it turns out, the mysterious company has lasted as long as they have by operating only in the shadows, commanding absolute secrecy and the utmost discretion from their clients. Worse for Jordan, Exit Strategy doesn’t just take off once a client is fitted with a new life. Instead, they hover, ensuring their clients don’t blow the horn on their whereabouts by undoing Exit Strategy’s hard — and illegal — work. 

Jordan learns the hard way that using Exit Strategy is a permanent decision. Like a tattoo you regret at some point but learn to live with, he eventually realizes that he never should have left his family and longs for a way to return to them. A random “like” on social media on one of his wife’s posts kicks off a dangerous chain of events, and Jordan tries more than once to escape the company who disappeared him in order to return to his wife. Those actions have serious consequences, as Exit Strategy dispatches their trained operators to make sure Jordan stays put.

Backed into a corner, a homesick Jordan must decide if he’s willing to fight for his old life. If he does, failure in any form could result in the deaths of everyone he’s ever loved. 

Charlton Pettus’ exceptionally-written debut thriller offers a fascinating look at how one’s choices can cost them and those around them forever. The whole idea of Exit Strategy is really fascinating and, frankly, right up until they show themselves to be a murderous organization the second one of their rules is broken, the idea behind a company that can help you disappear is just plain cool. The fine print is a buzz kill, clearly, and Pettus excels at making the readers feel Jordan’s anguish and regret. It’s easy to root for him to make it back to his family, and, other than a few graphic sex scenes that just plain are not needed, this book is outstanding. 

Unique, fresh, and emotionally-charged, Exit Strategy is a fast-moving thriller that’s surprisingly deep and rich with character development and some great action sequences. . . Charlton Pettus is a name to keep an eye on. 

Book Details

Author: Charlton Pettus
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1335016929
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.0/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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