Sunday, December 3, 2017

Book Review: "Light it Up" by Nick Petrie

There's this feeling I get when I'm reading a series of books I like. It's like hanging out with old friends—it feels good to see them again and spend some time with them, and while the circumstances are always a little bit different, I know what to expect of them, and I like that.

Although Light it Up is only Nick Petrie's third book featuring awesomely badass drifter Peter Ash, I got that feeling when reading it. Peter is one cool, complicated character that I find totally fascinating—a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan whose PTSD manifests itself as claustrophobia that makes it difficult for him to be indoors or closed-in spaces for long periods of time. Peter is fiercely loyal, and that loyalty can demonstrate itself in dangerous ways, for those who choose to test it as well as for himself.

When Peter meets Henry Nygaard, despite the significant difference in their ages, there is an immediate kinship built on their shared veteran status (although vastly different wars), their strong work ethic, and their mutual belief that both may still be capable of redemption and happiness despite all they've done in their past. When their work rebuilding trails in the Pacific Northwest ends at the conclusion of a summer, they're ready to part ways, until Henry asks Peter for help, a clarion call Peter is unable to resist.

Henry's adult daughter runs a security company in Denver, a company he helped her set up, partially as a way of making amends for not knowing she existed until not too long ago. She told Henry that her husband, a former veteran himself, and his crew disappeared one day while making a run for one of the rapidly growing entrepreneurs in Colorado's cannabis business.

The money, the vehicle, the men—all have gone without a trace, and the police have no clue of their whereabouts. Henry's daughter needs a new crew to handle a money run for another businessman, and she needs this to succeed or all she has put together will collapse.

Henry recruits Peter and a few other vets to help with this run. When everything goes spectacularly wrong, Peter barely escapes with his life, and he realizes that they're up against a far more formidable foe than simple highway robbers. But what is there to be gained if the actual financial payoff isn't that high? How lucrative can the cannabis business really be, when so many in the state are growing and selling it these days?

In trying to figure out who is behind the attacks, Peter stumbles into a much deeper plot, being organized by those who will stop at nothing to get what they want. As he enlists some friends, including investigative reporter June Cassidy, with whom Peter dares to perhaps hope for a future, he realizes there is danger hidden within this seemingly mellow business, danger which could affect them all.

Petrie hits another home run with Light it Up. This is such a terrific series and Peter is an immensely fascinating character, someone far more complex than the troubled, musclebound Marine you think he is at first glance. This book gives you more of a glimpse into his mind and his heart, while not letting up for one second on the action. There are truly some scenes in this book that are tailor-made for the big screen, chases and fights and encounters that leave your heart racing.

I believe I've said in my reviews of Petrie's earlier books, The Drifter and Burning Bright, that I don't know why he isn't a star, and why Peter Ash isn't as well-known as Jack Reacher. (Lee Child even blurbs Petrie's books!) Read this one, or any of these books in the series, and maybe you'll agree with me—and then tell as many people as you can about them!

NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Putnam provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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