Review: The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie

the drifterTitle: The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 379 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Penguin’s First to Read Program


An explosive thriller debut introducing Peter Ash, a veteran who finds that the demons of war aren’t easily left behind . . .

Peter Ash came home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with only one souvenir: what he calls his “white static,” the buzzing claustrophobia due to post-traumatic stress that has driven him to spend a year roaming in nature, sleeping under the stars. But when a friend from the Marines commits suicide, Ash returns to civilization to help the man’s widow with some home repairs. Under her dilapidated porch, he finds more than he bargained for: the largest, ugliest, meanest dog he’s ever encountered . . . and a Samsonite suitcase stuffed with cash and explosives. As Ash begins to investigate this unexpected discovery, he finds himself at the center of a plot that is far larger than he could have imagined . . . and it may lead straight back to the world he thought he’d left for good. Suspenseful and thrilling, and featuring a compelling new hero, The Drifter is an exciting debut from a fresh voice in crime fiction.


The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie is a riveting mystery starring a veteran with severe post traumatic stress disorder.

After multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Peter Ash’s career in the Marine came to an abrupt end once he returned stateside and his PTSD symptoms made it impossible for him to spend any length of time indoors. Trying to manage his panic attacks and extreme claustrophobia on his own, he now leads a solitary life hiking and living outdoors in remote areas. When he learns his friend and platoon sergeant “Big Jimmy” Johnson has committed suicide, he immediately heads to Milwaukee, WI to help Jimmy’s widow, Dinah, and two young sons. His mundane home repairs quickly turns dangerous when Peter encounters a ferocious dog and uncovers a suitcase full of cash and plastic explosives under Dinah’s porch.

Peter has a strong sense of loyalty and duty to his comrades in arms and he feels guilty that he did not check in on Big Jimmy. He is highly intelligent and he quickly realizes that Jimmy was into something big, but nothing he uncovers seems like something Jimmy would be involved with. Fully aware that war changes men, Peter methodically pieces together the puzzling clues of Jimmy’s most recent past but he is truly stumped by what it all means. About the only thing that he knows for sure is Dinah and the boys are in danger so Peter refuses to give up trying to retrace his old friend’s footsteps and hopefully figure out what he was doing in the months leading up to his death.

Peter reluctantly turns to Dinah for answers about the money and her suspicions lead to her and Jimmy’s old friend, Lewis. He is a former serviceman turned bar owner but Peter knows there is much more going on in the bar than just serving booze. It is obvious Lewis is involved in illegal activities but he remains pretty tight-lipped about his criminal enterprise. Initially, he agrees to protect Dinah, but once Peter begins to get a clearer idea of what he is up against, the men form a reluctant partnership. Lewis proves invaluable in gathering evidence that reveals an unexpected plot that could lead to thousands of deaths if it is not stopped in time.

With plenty of action and an unusual but intriguing storyline, The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie is a captivating mystery that is impossible to put down. The characters are complex and vibrantly developed.   The plot moves at a brisk pace and as the pieces begin to fall into the place, the novel thunders to pulse-pounding, action-paced finale. An outstanding debut that hopefully heralds the first of many novels starring the intrepid and immensely appealing Peter Ash.

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1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, GP Putnams Sons, Mystery, Nick Petrie, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Drifter

One Response to Review: The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie

  1. Timitra

    Thanks Kathy for the review