Milwaukee author Nick Petrie has given up his day job. Thanks to the bestselling success of his Peter Ash series, the former contractor and building inspector now puts author in the occupation line on his tax returns. It’s a very welcome change, but one that was a long time coming - about a decade or so.
Petrie says it's still a little strange to not be tethered to the daily work world. "I feel sort of like Wile E. Coyote after he's run off the cliff. My legs are going and I'm trying really hard not to look down."
Running off this particular cliff happened in 2016, when The Drifter, the first Peter Ash novel, hit bookstores. The story of a Wisconsin veteran of the war in Afghanistan, suffering from PTSD and trying to find his way back to some kind of normal, has all of the intrigue and explosiveness of a thriller. But it also has the added plus of a number of complex and fully drawn characters, Peter Ash included, that readers care about. Light It Up is the third and newest addition to what is now a bona fide series.
As Petrie puts the finishing touches on the fourth book in the series and is fleshing out the fifth in his mind, he says the overriding emotion these days for him is gratitude, mixed with a healthy dose of humility:
"I can't really quite believe that I walk through the airport and I see a book with my name on it," he says with wonder. "It must be somebody else. I still very much feel like that."