Light It Up by Nick Petrie (Putnam, 2018) is the third book in the Peter Ash contemporary thriller series. Ash is a veteran of the Middle East conflicts, dealing with painful PTSD-induced claustrophobia. In this outing he is rebuilding hiking trails in Oregon, which allows him to stay outdors. One of the volunteers on the project is a Vietnam veteran named Henry. After a few months of working together, Henry asks Ash to help him out. Henry’s daughter has started a security business in Denver to protect deliveries of legal cannabis. This is a cash-only industry, leaving it especially vulnerable to robbery. Two weeks previously a shipment vanished, the cannabis, money, driver, vehicle, and security guards gone without a trace. While Henry’s daughter regroups, Henry and Ash, with a couple of other ex-veterans, will ensure the next delivery goes as planned.
Of course it doesn’t. The delivery truck is hijacked on the side of a mountain in a neatly arranged scheme that leaves Ash slack-jawed in admiration, when he isn’t trying to figure out how to escape. The hijackers, who have a considerable arsenal and don’t mind using it, seriously hurt Henry and kill one of the other guards. Nonetheless, Ash manages to extricate himself and Henry in a savage dogfight that left me wondering what could possibly happen in the remainder of the book to top it.
Back in Denver the police are very interested in Ash’s lethal escape methods, while Ash is very interested in finding out why this particular security firm has been targeted and in gaining revenge for his fallen comrades.
Some of the characters are a bit predictable: flawed protagonist and the psychopath who manages to fool most people most of the time, for instance. However, Ash is described as having the thoughtful eyes of a werewolf a week before the change, which is certainly not routine. The dishonorably discharged Marine, who is more or less blackmailed into supporting the crime boss, is a new one, though, and more sympathetic than he’s probably meant to be. Ash’s love interest is a fine twist on the traditional. June is self-sufficient and unafraid to let Ash know she wants him in her life, but on her terms. And since she carries pepper spray and a small knife with her, when she is captured by the psychopath, she doesn’t need to wait for someone to rescue her, thankyouverymuch. I really like this character.
A fascinating view into the world of legal cannabis growers and an excellent addition to the thriller genre. A galloping good story.
· Hardcover: 400 pages
· Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (January 16, 2018)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0399575634
· ISBN-13: 978-0399575631
Aubrey Hamilton ©2019
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.