cover image Burning Bright

Burning Bright

Nicholas Petrie. Putnam, $26 (432p) ISBN 978-0-399-17457-5

In Petrie’s gripping if somewhat padded sequel to 2016’s The Drifter, veteran of the war in Afghanistan and former Marine lieutenant Peter Ash seeks solace in the Northern California redwood forests. Instead, Peter finds a hostile grizzly bear and must escape by climbing a tree. To his amazement, he discovers an elaborate network of ropes and platforms high in the treetops—the creation of June Cassidy, an athletic, attractive journalist who’s hiding out from a menacing group of ersatz Department of Defense agents. It becomes clear that June is being hunted because of her mother, Hazel, a research scientist who died under mysterious circumstances. Might Hazel’s death have had anything to do with her top secret project—developing a new level of artificial intelligence? Peter and June must rely on gumption, wiles, and his nearly superhuman survival skills to fend off their would-be captors and killers. The feisty June plays well off the damaged Ash, who suffers from PTSD, but the action-packed conspiracy plot would have been even more effective if trimmed a bit. [em]Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (Jan.) [/em]