Nick Petrie continues to prove he’s one of the best new writers in the genre with Tear it Down, the fourth book in his excellent Peter Ash series.
Always on the move, war veteran Peter Ash leaves Washington State, where he’d been staying with June Cassidy, and heads to Memphis to help an African American photographer named Wanda Wyatt, one of June’s friends.
A former war correspondent, Wanda has been receiving threats since she moved into her new home. Eventually, things escalate and take a more dangerous turn when a dump truck is driven through her living room, prompting Peter to double down on his efforts to find out who’s behind the threats and why she’s a target in the first place. However, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Soon after arriving in Memphis, Peter is carjacked by fifteen-year-old Eli Bell, who’s fallen into a bad way with some bad people.
A musical savant who’s using his extraordinary talents as a street musician, Bell’s part of a family of runaways who are just trying to get by, willing to do whatever it takes to survive. But after a jewelry store robbery that he never wanted to partake in goes sideways, Bell finds himself wanted by a notorious local crimelord and goes on the run, kicking off a series of events that leads to him pointing a gun in Peter Ash’s face.
Never one to turn his back on those in need, Peter decides to help the boy, adding one more thing to his growing to-do list, which now also includes fixing Wanda’s home. Though he’s juggled numerous tasks before and seems to thrive among chaos, Peter realizes he may have finally bitten off more than he can chew as a plethora of bad guys descend upon him at the same time . . . leading to a heart-pounding final act that delivers in a big and satisfying way.
Four books in, Nick Petrie is pitching a perfect game. Fans who’ve been following Peter’s movements from the beginning will notice subtle similarities to Petrie’s award-winning debut, The Drifter (2016). Ash is once again doing home repairs and trying to help a woman in need, only to inadvertently stumble upon a conspiracy that, as he chases it, pulls him further and further down the rabbit hole. Meanwhile, he’s still dealing with the “white noise,” the term Peter uses to describe his extreme PTSD-induced claustrophobia, that he’s battled since book one. Though he’s learning to live with it, it’s still an issue and contributes to Peter’s constant restlessness.
While there are more moving parts to the plot of this book than his previous titles, Petrie weaves everything together in a fun and convincing way, constantly keeping an eye on pacing, ensuring the story is always moving full steam ahead. Ash, while more developed and fleshed out, is still a bit mysterious, and that plays well with his wandering nature. Likewise, Petrie continues to pick solid locations for his stories, and the Memphis atmosphere, which he describes vibrantly, lends itself nicely here.
A lot of writers and their characters are compared to Lee Child and Jack Reacher, but Nick Petrie is the only one truly deserving of such a comparison. Peter Ash is fast becoming one of the best characters in the thriller genre, and Tear it Down is another must-read, can’t-miss thriller from Petrie.
If you’re not reading this series, start.
Author: Nick Petrie
Series: Peter Ash #4
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.