TEAR IT DOWN by Nick Petrie


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Combat veteran Peter Ash (Light It Up, 2018, etc.) finds himself protecting both a threatened photojournalist and a young homeless man who may be a blues prodigy in the fourth entry in this series.

Sensing his restlessness, Ash's girlfriend sends him off to Memphis where her friend Wanda, an African-American photojournalist, has just moved into a new home and is receiving messages warning her to move. In the midst of dealing with this situation, Ash has his lovingly restored '68 Chevy pickup hijacked by a teenage boy who has found himself hunted by the local crime kingpin. What with Ash trying to repair Wanda's home after a dump truck is driven into it, save the young boy from the crook who's out for him, and identify Wanda's enemies, he has his hands full. And accordingly, the book has too much going on. Each of the individual plots is engaging, but they take too long to dovetail, and one would have sufficed. But then almost all thrillers are written too long these days. (Authors would do well to check out the concision of classic American pulp, like the kind that was once published by the paperback imprint Gold Medal.) Also, there is an unavoidable sense of the white guy come to the aid of the black people with Ash's heroics. But the book's heart is in the right place, and Ash is an appealing character, though one who, if the series is to grow, needs sharper definition (and also a sharper tongue) in the entries to come. But the book is never a slog, and it's easy to imagine the series will become even more pleasurable as it finds its footing.

This is an appealing outing which hits the right balance between tough and compassionate.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-399-57566-2
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2018


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