Book Review: “First to Kill” by Andrew Peterson


Genre:  Thriller

Rating:  3 WaterTowers

“A smile touched Nathan’s lips.  Nathan McBride in his environment–ready, willing, and able to kick ass.”

Once again I was lucky to find an autographed copy of a book.   This time at Costco in Tracy, CA.  I was even luckier that “First to Kill” is smack dab in the middle of my favorite genre; spys, killing, and murder…..aka a Thriller.

As “First to Kill” opens we are witness to a brutal torture and murder of a federal agent by brothers Ernie and Leonard Bridgestone.

Background information….

Our hero, Nathan Daniel McBride is an ex-Marine sniper. He and his partner, Harvey Fontana (also an ex-Marine sniper), run a security business in San Diego, CA.

Years ago  both were on active duty, on a special operations assignment, when Nathan saved Harvey’s life by firing his weapon thus giving away his location to the enemy.  Nathan was captured and tortured (he has scars all over his body and face to show for it) for three weeks before Harvey (with help from his friend Greg Ortega) locate Nathan and rescue him.

Needless to say, Nathan has a very strong dislike for people who torture others.

Back to the present.

Greg’s father is the ex-Director of the FBI and needs Nathan and Harvey’s help to locate his missing grandson (and Greg’s son) who was undercover in a gang run by the Bridgestone brothers following leads on stolen Semtex (a really powerful explosive).  The fear is that the Semtex will be used for domestic terrorism.

Nathan and Harvey feel the need to pay back the Ortega’s and agree to provide unofficial backup for an FBI swat team heading for the Bridgestones headquarters north of Sacramento.  Arriving early and setting up their sniper location, Nathan and Harvey see that the FBI team is being watched and warn the team by firing a warning shot.   This saves many lives, but in the process Nathan offs the youngest Bridgstone brother much to the chagrin of the two nastier older brothers.

Nathan, Harvey, and several FBI agents join forces to hunt down Ernie and Leonard.  The book then rockets through the escape of the Bridgestones, an intentional bombing of the Sacramento FBI HQ’s, a bombing at a remote truck stop, and more.   The ending is fast, relentless, and interesting (I felt compelled to skip ahead to see if certain people that I cared for lived or died….).

The action in “First to Kill” is fast and brutal.  The descriptions of the violence and action remind me of Lewis Perdue.  Andrew Peterson can count himself in very good company.

I noticed that the book flows better starting at the halfway point.  There is one small error that as a slightly anal engineer bothered me just a bit.  Nathan’s father is a U.S. Senator who, according to the dates in the book, was about 11 years old as an Officer hero in the Korean War.

Quite the young man.  😉

Overall, this is a very good debut novel, and I will definately pick up the next book in the series. Nathan is a tough but lovable (if you like barbed wire) hero.


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