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Publisher's Summary

An explosive thriller debut introducing Peter Ash, a veteran who finds that the demons of war aren't easily left behind....

Peter Ash came home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with only one souvenir: what he calls his "white static", the buzzing claustrophobia due to post-traumatic stress that has driven him to spend a year roaming in nature, sleeping under the stars. But when a friend from the marines commits suicide, Ash returns to civilization to help the man's widow with some home repairs. Under her dilapidated porch, he finds more than he bargained for: the largest, ugliest, meanest dog he's ever encountered...and a Samsonite suitcase stuffed with cash and explosives. As Ash begins to investigate this unexpected discovery, he finds himself at the center of a plot that is far larger than he could have imagined...and it may lead straight back to the world he thought he'd left for good.

Suspenseful and thrilling, and featuring a compelling new hero, The Drifter is an exciting debut from a fresh voice in crime fiction.

©2016 Nicholas Petrie (P)2016 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great lead in for a series until...

What made the experience of listening to The Drifter the most enjoyable?

Peter Ash and Mingus and the knowledge that someone else was acknowledging the plight of veterans. I have seen many PTSD sufferers in my practice with different backgrounds, not all war. I have never heard the "static" symptom, but not everyone experiences their panic attacks in the same way, and they have different triggers and enclosed spaces is believable as a trigger.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Addressed in part above - Mingus and Peter Ash. Peter because of his heart for his fellow soldiers and Mingus because he was able to learn to trust and transfer it to others.

What about Stephen Mendel’s performance did you like?

His ability to capture African-American dialect and a good voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I never have time. I listen getting ready to go to work and in my car, mostly to minimize my own static. I ruminate. I am a Vietnam and Gulf War era vet, but was never in combat and never shot at. I have listened to many who were, since I am a Clinical Psychologist and retired Air Force. I had a break in service between my Army service, but it was in the VA. I saw tears roll down the cheeks of a vet who was with Patton in WW II 40 years later. I describe PTSD as "the gift that keeps on giving".

Any additional comments?

I thought this was an excellent first book in a series - Jack Reacher with a dog and a truck. The ending ruined that. I don't think Peter can go back to what he was doing. I hope I am wrong. I will put in a plug for the Walt Longmire series. I use the paperback sales to try new authors and stumbled on the fourth novel in the series and have listened to them all. My wife says she can't listen without becoming distracted, but she has read all of the Reacher series and the Longmire series. She also reads James Patterson and Janet Evanovich, but I have given up on Patterson; his work went downhill after the first 2 books about Alex Cross and the book about the flying children. This was an excellent listen. This is the first time I have realized I could review an Audible book on my computer.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Masterful

Any additional comments?

Masterful. Petrie has masterfully created one of the best, most realistic war vet protagonists that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting within the pages of a book. Typically leery of reading any book featuring a war vet as I have personally witnessed the effect of war on a loved one, my fears were eased with the realistic portrayal of a vet who has returned from war. If it weren't already apparent within the book itself, the author notes at the end of the audio book explain why Petrie was able to capture the challenges of vets returning home from war.<br/><br/>Lightening paced, skillful character development and engaging dialogue make this an above average audio book. Stephen Mendel's narration pushes it into greatness. Mendel accomplishes what many narrators cannot - he is so skilled at his craft that you forget that you are listening to one actor narrating each character, calling attention solely to the story and not to his own vocal performance.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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It's All About The Survivors

It's a pretty good read... I particularly like the honest representation of and insight into PTSD and its often overwhelming nature, not to mention its invisibility to most others... There's some good social commentary into issues of the time as well... Mortgage crisis, bailouts, veteran support systems and lack thereof, survivor guilt, etc... Some decent characters, but only two that are really developed, Peter and Mingas... The dog component drew me in, mostly for the mirroring it accomplished... A big ugly mean dog no one wants around, wants to help, or gives much of a toss about - excepting Peter of course, which many of the same things can be said, even if not in his presence... Their two of a feather as they are the only ones capable of understanding one another on a visceral level... The dialogue is a bit trite and stilted at times, and the narration is unexceptional yet satisfactory... Better production woulda made a better reading experience... All that said, the story's a good one, w/ decent pace and an enticing mystery... Not a baffling whodunit, but a thrilling progression to the reveals and climax... Worth the credit, but not might be for everyone... If you want sugar coating you won't like it... If you like some honesty and questioning of wrongs swept aside you'll enjoy...

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • Galax, VA, United States
  • 03-08-16

A New Author is Always a Risk:This is Worth Taking

My inclinations lean towards espionage and thrillers, more Jack Reacher than Mitch Rapp, more believable than superman. This book is the perfect meld of exceptionally likable characters, an intriguing story, and a narrator who was born to read this book. My only disappointment is that the next book in the series isn't available (at least not yet). If your inclinations are similar to mine, take a shot; you'll likely enjoy it as much as I did.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Bob
  • Takoma Park, MD, United States
  • 02-26-16

A solid mystery with a good heart

There are no spectacular elements to this story - in fact it is a little bit rough around the edges. But the protagonist is engaging, his lot in life sympathetic and topical, and the listener wholeheartedly roots for the good guy. The story has nice movement, a good measure of intrigue (and at least one big surprise) and is overall a satisfying story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Suspensful and a tribute to our veterans

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes! I found this book to be a good listen and it kept me wanting to get to the end....a great audio page turner!

What did you like best about this story?

A soldier dedicated to solving his comrads death and to protect his family and smelly but loyal dog. The epiogue PTSD and Nicholas's dedication to our veterans at the end of the book...more people need to know about invisible wounds.

What does Stephen Mendel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He is a great story teller from soft thoughts to tense scenes.....

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Peter befriended the dog. Probably when Louis expressed his love for Dana (?)

Any additional comments?

I will listen to another book by Nicholas Petrie as well as listen to Stephen Mendell.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • michael
  • NEWTON CENTER, MA, United States
  • 01-29-16

Everything is forgiven.

described and developed; their actions for most part are expected, logical, and intuitive. I found interesting that the races of the people are not easily disclosed (the reader has to figure out, sometimes many pages into the original character introduction), but that does not hurt the reading process and makes the reading even more entertaining. The plot is possible and many scenes are even educational (construction scenes).

The only problem I found in the book is the inconsistent loyalty for the characters for each other, unjustifiable forgiveness to pretty nasty characters, and undeserving trust between them -- this strikes me as unrealistic. But 4 stars; nevertheless.

Performance/sound was excellent for the most part. But it felt in some cases that some characters such as Luis and Dana sounded inconsistent in the different paragraphs in the book, but it could be my error also as the producer might have wanted to demonstrate different part of the day or the character mood...

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Brad
  • Littleton, MA, United States
  • 01-21-16

A Hero with Post Traumatic Stress

Very interesting, fresh with a former marine, a dog, two cute boys and a gangster sidekick. Throw in a mad bomb team and you have a fresh story. Loved it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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excellent suspense/thriller

I very much enjoyed this book. I found the story and characters engrossing, and the plot was unique. First novels can be a bit loose, going off on unimportant tangents. But the storytelling here is tight and paced just right.

The main character, Peter Ash, is home from two tours in the Marines, having served on the front lines in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He has PTSD, which for him results in extreme claustrophobia. Thus, he lives his life outdoors in an effort to keep the panic at bay. He hears about the suicide of his sergeant, who is also his good friend, and gets in touch with the widow to see if he can help in any way. While repairing her rotted-out front porch he finds a suitcase with $400,000 in it, along with plastic explosives. Peter begins to investigate, and ends up uncovering a conspiracy.

For me, the only flaw was in the narration. The reader's voice was a bit flat most of the time, and for some reason he spoke more loudly when he used Peter's voice. As if he was trying to be heard from a long distance or something. Overall, he was all right, but he missed a lot of the nuance of the story by using that reading style.

The book focuses a great deal on the plight of returning vets, and the challenges they face. There is a lovely afterword regarding this, so don't turn the recording off too soon.

The story is set not long after the financial crisis of 2008, and he captures the mood of that time very well...the anger, the desperation, the grief of those adversely affected are all beautifully portrayed.

All in all, I recommend this to those who like fast-paced thrillers, soldier of fortune stories, or books about veterans learning to cope with civilian life. 4½ stars from me, dinged down from 5 because of the narration.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Not a Reach to compare with Child

I can see the appeal of the John Reacher series. But I'm not a huge fan. I think the story lines are for the most part absurd and the way women fall for the guy is kind of silly. Lee Child's reliance on non stop action covers up the lack of character development.

As so many other reviewers have commented, the Drifter owes a lot to Lee Child. I think that Petrie as an author investigates his protagonist a lot more deeply than Child ever has. The story moves a little slower also. But that is not a bad thing. The slowness is really my saying Petrie spends time investigating his character here and ruminating over what is going on. So when the action does pick up, you as a reader are very invested.

The story is basically a war veteran with PTSD who cant be indoors without bugging out, he finds out his best friend killed himself. He comes to help out the widow of his friend. He finds a bundle of cash. Who's money is it? And who is this bad guy that we keep getting hit with for a few paragraphs ever couple of chapters?

I didn't like one aspect of the narration. Whenever Peter Ash had dialog, the narrator made him sound like Forrest Gump. Otherwise the narration is good. The morals of this story are pretty simple. Good guys are ex military. They are thoughtful and smarter than they let on. The bad guys are the rest of the world, they think they are smart, but they aren't. A few implausible plot twists take this story down a peg. But its still more constrained in its leaps than most Reacher stories. I'd say if you like Reacher, you will like this.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful