Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Review: The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful characters, strong plot, stronger writing
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
A suspenseful plot
Characters are fully drawn
Makes for a great read

Foiled Bank Robbery Gone Horribly Wrong

I have learned when it comes to Gregg Hurwitz’s books that I need to allow lots of time.  They are pulse pounding books that I always want to read in as few sitting as possible.  That’s why I’ve been putting off The Survivor for eleven months, but a recent trip to Wisconsin for a friend’s wedding gave me the perfect opportunity to read it.

Convinced he has nothing left to live for, Nate Overbay has crawled out on the ledge of an eleven story building to jump to his death.  He’s outside of a bank, one billed as the safest in all of LA because the height gives it added security.

And yet, before Nate can jump, he finds the bank being robbed by some vicious men.  He can’t stand there, so he sneaks back inside and saves the day.  Unfortunately, that puts Nate and his family on the radar of some very evil men.  Can Nate get them what they want and keep his family safe?

I was a bit surprised to find this book wasn’t quite as pulse pounding as I was expecting.  While there was always danger, I didn’t find it quite as relentless as the last couple of his books I’ve read.

However, the characters always more than made up for it.  I started the book before I left on the trip, and I was bawling at some back story we got by page 75.  Since I was staying with the groom and his groomsmen at the wedding, I was worried how I would react in front of them.  Fortunately, they were gone when I read a scene near the end that also moved me to tears.  Obviously, I think the characters were great.  The villains were pure evil, maybe a little too evil?  But don’t tell them I said that.  I don’t want them coming after me.

As a result, this thriller is definitely not for the faint of heart.  It’s far a field from my normal cozies, but I enjoyed it for a change of pace.

Really, this book is the perfect marriage of a thriller plot with developed characters.  I know that characters often get sacrificed in favor of plot in a thriller, but that’s not the case here.  Even when you can predict character moments, they are still wonderfully done and make the plot that much more meaningful as it unfolds.  The stakes are certainly high in the story, and I did always want to keep reading to find out how Nate would handle the next twist to the plot.

All of this is held together by wonderfully descriptive writing.  I realized part way through that we were getting moments of description that used all five senses.  I was right there with Nate for every moment of the book.  It stood out for me from other books I normally read.

In my mind, things came together perfectly for The Survivor.  If you are looking for a suspenseful plot with strong characters, you’ll do no better than this book.

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