Review: The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz

August 16, 2012 Review, St. Martin's Press, Thriller 2

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; First Edition edition (August 21, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0312625510
  • Source: Publisher

Nate Overbay is outside the eleventh story of a bank, standing on the ledge, preparing to end his life. Suffering from PTSD, separated from his wife and slowly dying from ALS, he has nothing to live for. He’s already ruined the perfect family he once had, returning from war a shell of the man he used to be. He thinks long and hard about how he’s going to end his life; he doesn’t want to cause any more inconvenience to those he loves. He has it planned perfectly; if he steps from his current position, he will land in a dumpster eleven stories below, hopefully containing any mess caused by his fall.

Just as he’s about to take that final step, he hears shouting and gunshots from the windows behind him. A crew of robbers has entered the bank, shooting employees and customers. Considering he was going to end his life anyway, Nate feels he has nothing to lose. Climbing back inside the bank, he grabs a gun that one of the robbers left sitting on a file cabinet and takes out five of the six robbers. The sixth escapes, but not before threatening Nate, stating he will pay for what he has done.

Nate winds up being the hero that saves the day, an honor he wish he didn’t have. Still feeling a tremendous amount of guilt for the death of several of his friends while serving in the war, he doesn’t give up on the plan to end his life. Unfortunately, now that he is famous and his face is flashed on television screens all over the area, Nate realizes his family is at risk from the Ukrainian mobster who threatened his life. His life, and the life of his family, will be preserved if Nate is able to follow through on the plan the robbers intended on completing that day, to obtain the contents of a security deposit box.  Upon doing so, however, Nate discovers that turning over the information obtained will put more people at risk, a step he will not take.

I must say, Hurwitz writes some pretty outstanding thrillers in the past, The Survivor continuing this trend. It’s impossible to write about this book without using all sorts of cliches, like extremely addictive and captivating, heart-pounding, a real page-turner. That said, all of these statements are true! Hurwitz connects with his readers through his incredibly well-developed characters, making it impossible not to love every thing this man has ever written. While a great deal of the action and the overall storyline is quickly revealed, Hurwitz is able to skillfully contain and preserve the flow of the action throughout the entire book. Not once was there a point in which the storyline dragged or got dull. The only consequence? I couldn’t put the book down, reading it until the wee hours of the night.

What makes this unique from many thrillers is how heartfelt and emotional it is. Nate is suffering from a terminal illness, has lost his family and is ready to put an end to his life. Throughout his battles with the Ukrainian mob, he is able to reconcile and repair his relationship with his family. Hurwitz captures this, and the healing that Nate is finally able to experience, so beautifully and realistically, but not detracting from the action and intensity of the story.

In case you haven’t surmised it yet, I absolutely loved this book. You know who else loves this book? Lee Child. Yep…THE Lee Child. Check out this clip of Lee reading an excerpt of this book:

I know, right!?  So, if you can’t trust my recommendations, trust the great Lee Child. C’mon…what are you waiting for!?

2 Responses to “Review: The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz”

  1. Sandra

    My son (39) and I read 7 of Hurwitz’s novels as they came out and we loved them all. Do No Harm was my first and I haven’t forgotten a detail. The Crime Writer (2008) was the last one I read but you’ve reminded me how great his books are, thanks.