NICK PETRIE – Burning Bright. Peter Ash #2. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, hardcover, January 2017; trade paperback, May 2017; premium-sized paperback, July 2017.

   L. J. Roberts reviewed the first in the Peter Ash series, The Drifter, on this blog not too long ago, and she liked it well enough that I remembered it when I spotted this, the second in the series, very soon thereafter. A short excerpt of the third, Light It Up, is included at the end of the premium-sized paperback edition of the second, the one I’ve just finished reading.

   It took me well over a week of short snippets of nighttime just-before-turning-put-the-light reading to finish it. It’s over 450 pages of small print, and for most of the time it took, I enjoyed it.

   Peter Ash, sufferer of PTSD from his career in the Iran and Afghanistan wars, cannot bear to be indoors, among other problems, and that was the primary focus of the first book, as I understand it. Luckily a good deal of the second book takes place outdoors, starting with an escape from some bad guys hunting a feisty young woman named June who is hiding out in the top of a redwood forest.

   Those particular bad guys end up dead, but there are of course many more where they came from. Their goal is to get their hands on an Artificial Intelligence program June’s mother was working on before he death in what was at first called a hit-and-run accident.

   Peter is also very much attracted to June, the lady Tarzan of the redwood forest, and their adventures together run smoothly for quite a while. The ending, though, is disappointing. It’s muddled, wraps itself up far too quickly, and seriously, the bad guys never stood a chance.

   The book is otherwise well-written, and there were long stretches where the pages simply fly by. The series ought to do well, but I see only limited potential for any growth for Peter Ash as a character. There is no mystery left in him, in other words, and while I’d be more than happy to be surprised, I think the one book is all I will need.