First to Kill
Andrew Peterson

Dorchester Leisure
Trade Paperback/356 pages
ISBN: 0-843961449
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". . . a finely honed thriller that is at times brutal and fast-paced . . ."

First To Kill: Personal vengeance, intrigue, revenge and politics.

Nathan “Nate” McBride and his friend/business partner Harvey Fontana have been asked by the former chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Frank Ortega to help find his grandson. His grandson James was working for the FBI undercover in Freedom’s Echo, a group selling small arms that just moved into the big time. Leonard and Ernie Bridgestone, the brains and brawn behind Freedom’s Echo, somehow got their hands on two thousand pounds of Semtex, a plastic explosive, and the FBI want it found and retrieved before they can use it.

Nate and Harvey agree to back up the FBI SWAT team to find James Ortega and retrieve the Semtex, but then something goes wrong. The Bridgestone brothers must have been tipped off. Nate recognizes some suspicious piles of leaves as covering for Claymore mines. He gives away his position to shoot a warning shot in front of the advancing FBI team, and they go to ground moments before the Bridgestones blow the mines. Nate takes out a sniper without realizing it is Leonard and Ernie’s younger brother.

The Bridgestone brothers decide to get revenge on the FBI as well as Nate and his father Senator Stone McBride, the head of the Committee on Domestic Terrorism. But Nate and Harvey are on their trail, and things are about to get very ugly.

Nate McBride is a hulking brute on the outside but, on the inside, he’s a man with intelligence, discernment and heart—the heart of First To Kill. What Andrew Peterson has created in his main character, and in this thriller, is a complex story with bursts of controlled and brutal action coupled with espionage and interesting relationships.

The bad guys aren’t all bad, and the good guys aren’t all good. What could have ended up as a story with cardboard characters acting out the author’s personal agenda becomes, in Peterson’s careful and knowledgeable hands, a thriller that made me see the various issues from a new perspective.

First to Kill is first and foremost a finely honed thriller. It is at times brutal and fast-paced but with an intelligence that immediately hooked me into the story. Unlike many thriller writers who feel the need to show off their research, Peterson gives the facts and figures a human context and uses them to give each character complexity and depth without appearing pedantic. I look forward to seeing Nate and Harvey again and reading more of Peterson’s razor sharp prose.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell