cover image The Drifter

The Drifter

Nicholas Petrie. Putnam, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-399-17456-8

This strong thriller from debut author Petrie begins on the mean streets of Milwaukee, Wis. Marine veteran Peter Ash spent eight years fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; now he’s a civilian suffering from PTSD. Ash’s first order of business after mustering out of the service is to help Dinah, the widow of Jimmy Johnson, a Marine buddy who committed suicide after returning home. While rescuing a huge stray mutt living under Dinah’s ramshackle porch, Ash discovers a hidden suitcase containing $400,000 and plastic explosives. Dinah pleads ignorance, but Ash becomes skeptical after an armed, scarred man accosts him at the house. It all seems to revolve around a mysterious man in a “black canvas chore coat,” whose surreptitious goal is to secure several thousand pounds of ammonium nitrate, a potentially explosive substance. Petrie’s expertly paced plot sets a colorful array of characters on a collision course. Readers will look forward to seeing more of the resourceful Ash. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (Jan.)