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Light It Up: A Peter Ash Novel


Light It Up: A Peter Ash Novel

LIGHT IT UP does everything it’s supposed to do and more. This third installment in Nick Petrie’s Peter Ash series is full of action, suspense, mystery and, yes, information. Ash is a sympathetic main character, a damaged yet extremely capable man. The supporting cast does everything but steal the book from him (a couple of them come close), and the antagonists are just dangerous enough to give him a fight.

Let’s start with Ash, a former Marine lieutenant with combat experience in the Iraq War. He has returned to civilian life with a severe case of claustrophobia, which he is slowly overcoming but nonetheless causes him severe difficulty. He has been wandering, but along the way has acquired a loyal and useful friend, the wealthy and dangerous Lewis (no last name), as well as a fetching, potty-mouthed love interest named June.

"LIGHT IT UP will keep you reading all night, and you’ll be glad you did. Petrie combines current real-world problems with a complex protagonist whose entire backstory, it seems, has yet to be told."

As LIGHT IT UP begins, we find Ash, who places a high premium on friendship, working as part of a Denver security company tasked with transporting the cash proceeds of a medical marijuana farm from Point A to Point B. The daughter of Ash’s newfound pal, Henry Nygaard, runs the company, which already has been hit once during a transport, and Nygaard wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It does, though, and what follows demonstrates that Petrie has all the chops he needs to put readers on the edge of their seats.

The ambush goes from bad to worse and leaves Ash and Nygaard... Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it involves a steep mountain road, gunshots in close quarters, vehicle collisions, and an antique ambulance gurney. I hadn’t read anything quite like it, and I don’t think I ever will forget it. The attempted robbery raises a number of questions in Ash’s mind, and also puts him in a bit of trouble with the local gendarme who resents the body count that seems to rise whenever Ash is in his proximity. Ash calls in the cavalry in the form of Lewis, who in turn brings a highly capable attorney into the mix.

Utilizing a number of resources, Ash begins investigating the “why” of the robberies, which seems to expose the doers to high risk for a relatively low payoff. We learn along the way about the burgeoning medical and legal marijuana industry, a (mostly) cash-only business that is growing by leaps and bounds and involves a grand amount of experimentation in search of the magic bud. It is a fascinating topic and a complex one, made simple by Petrie’s explanation through the course of the novel.

Meanwhile, the bad guys --- and the man behind them --- are still out there. One of them, a smiling psychopath who really enjoys what he does, takes Ash’s interference personally and wants to do nothing less than take him out. Another, interestingly enough, has a tie to Ash’s past life, as well as a bit of grudging respect for him. They’re all on a collision course, and collide they do, here and there throughout Denver. Then, as if things aren’t dangerous enough, June decides to interject herself into the mix. It makes for a very busy --- and lethal --- 48 hours, and to read about it is to love every minute of this book from its beginning to its fateful conclusion.

LIGHT IT UP will keep you reading all night, and you’ll be glad you did. Petrie combines current real-world problems with a complex protagonist whose entire backstory, it seems, has yet to be told. This is one series that you’ll want to keep reading for what hopefully will be a long time to come.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 19, 2018

Light It Up: A Peter Ash Novel
by Nick Petrie

  • Publication Date: November 6, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 052553587X
  • ISBN-13: 9780525535874