STARRED REVIEW
January 12, 2016

Demons spur a veteran hero

By Nicholas Petrie

Beneath the suspense-filled action of a homegrown terrorist plot, Nicholas Petrie’s debut novel, The Drifter, follows the compelling story of one former Marine’s struggle to reacclimate himself to civilian life while honoring his commitment to a fallen soldier. That alone is reason to keep reading, but Petrie amps up the stakes in surprising fashion, creating a story that is moving, thrilling and satisfying on every level.

Share this Article:

Beneath the suspense-filled action of a homegrown terrorist plot, Nicholas Petrie’s debut novel, The Drifter, follows the compelling story of one former Marine’s struggle to reacclimate himself to civilian life while honoring his commitment to a fallen soldier. That alone is reason to keep reading, but Petrie amps up the stakes in surprising fashion, creating a story that is moving, thrilling and satisfying on every level.

Like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, Peter Ash is a loner with an uncompromising sense of honor and duty. A soldier home after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Ash is already battling personal demons in the form of a “white static” that constantly threatens his ability to function. The condition, a byproduct of post-traumatic stress, manifests itself whenever he enters confined spaces, forcing him to eschew the modern conveniences of hearth and home for uneasy nights spent under the stars or in his beat-up pickup truck where the wide windows ease his troubled soul.

Upon learning that one of the men he commanded overseas has committed suicide, a guilt-ridden Ash leaves the relative safety of his new lifestyle to aid the widow the man left behind. In the process of rebuilding the woman’s porch, and his own life, Ash finds his former soldier’s mangy dog standing guard over a suitcase filled with $400,000 in cash and four blocks of C4 explosives. Ash sets off on a trail of discovery, both internally as he learns to cope with his affliction and externally as he attempts to determine the origins of the money and the purpose for the explosives—all while trying to keep the widow and her children safe from the men who actually killed her husband.

Petrie’s meticulous research into the effects of PTSD on the nation’s returning veterans and the internal war many of them still fight as they try to resume their normal life brings an added dimension to his main character, but without being preachy. The result is an intimate story of personal discovery as well as an obsessive pageturner of a book.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

The Drifter

The Drifter

By Nicholas Petrie
Putnam
ISBN 9780399174568

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!