“Burning Bright” is the second in Nick Petrie’s thriller series featuring war veteran Peter Ash. The book opens with an abstract event that entices readers and hints at dramatic events to come. Pages later, readers meet Peter Ash enjoying the peace and quiet of a Redwood forest in Northern California. He runs for his life when a hungry bear decides Ash might make a nice snack. As he frantically escapes in the treetops, he encounters someone else, June Cassidy, an investigative reporter escaping not from a bear but from men in sunglasses. This begins a partnership that is filled with danger, mystery, and romance.
Petrie takes readers on a rollercoaster ride, starting in the California trees, and ending at a heavily fortified ranch. Along the way, Ash and Cassidy encounter more “men in suits” who want technology and secrets that they think Cassidy has in her possession. They are in a life-threatening situation, and they make the choice to fight. They escape car wrecks and dodge internet tracking. They encounter paramilitary organizations, and take refuge with an eccentric technology recluse with an unusual identity.
Petrie’s characters have depth and purpose. Readers learn of Ash’s struggles with PTSD, the “white noise,” and his growing romantic relationship, however, the focus is always on saving Cassidy and the technology. The action is smartly paced and frantic right from the start. Page after page is filled with suspense, action, and non-stop twists and turns. “Burning Bright” has all the elements of a great nail-biting thriller.
Note: the cover implies that the forest is burning. Rest easy, the Redwood forest does not burn, but the same cannot be said for Cassidy’s house.