Monday, September 10, 2012

Julie's Review: The Survivor

Summary: One morning in Los Angeles, Nate Overbay—a divorced former solider suffering from PTSD and slowly dying from ALS — goes to an eleventh-floor bank, climbs out of the bathroom window onto the ledge, and gets ready to end it all. But as he’s steeling himself, a crew of robbers bursts into the bank and begins to viciously shoot employees and customers. With nothing to lose, Nate confronts the robbers, taking them out one-by-one. The last man standing leaves Nate with a cryptic warning. Nate soon learns what that message meant. He is kidnapped by Pavlo, a savage Russian mobster and mastermind of the failed heist. Unable to break back into the bank to get the critical item inside, Pavlo gives Nate an ultimatum—break in and get what he needs or watch Pavlo slowly kill the one thing Nate loves most—his ex-wife Janie and his teenaged daughter Cielle—both lost when he came back from Iraq broken and confused. Now he’s got one last chance to protect the people he loves, even if it’s the last thing he is able to do.

Review: I love thrillers that start off with action and never stop. To say that The Survivor is full of adrenaline would be to putting it lightly. If you are looking for a rush in a book, this is it.  We meet Nate when he is about to launch himself off of the ledge of a building to kill himself. Before he knows it he's launched himself into the middle of a bank robbery. The problem is, this isn't any normal robbery. This was a very powerful man looking for something that he had paid for and wanted in his possession. Nate, got in his way. He threatens not only Nate but his wife and his daughter. It is within this threat that Nate finds a reason to survive, even if he hasn't found a will to live yet.

Nate, Janie and Cielle are all suffering from PTSD. Nate is the most obvious because of being in the war and losing his best friend right in front of him. Janie and Cielle are suffering from the loss of the husband and father they knew. The man who was the center of their world started drifting away from them and they didn't know how to get him back. More importantly he didn't know how to return to them.

It's obvious to the reader that Nate feels guilty about a couple things: 1) Not throwing himself on the bomb and 2) not being able to face his best friend's mom to give her the death notice. I found it extremely interesting that he worked for the LAPD as a Professional Crisis Responder. Was Nate trying to make his personal demons disappear by helping others? It doesn't take a psychologist to figure that one out.

If not for Mr. Hurwitz' superb writing what could have been a plot device is a plot twist. It would have ended the book a lot quicker if that plot point hadn't occurred. What perhaps shocked me the most was the twist of what Pavlo wanted. Maybe it wasn't so much what he wanted but the reason behind it. Also, no matter how much Pavlo found out about Nate's moves and his background, he didn't figure out the one thing that was the game changer...he was slowly dying from ALS and had nothing to lose. In that, Nate took risks to save Jane and Cielle that someone who had more to lose might not have done. In the end Nate was a true hero and one that is to be admired. He knew that his body was failing him and he found the will to fight through it.

I've read two of Gregg's other novels and now I just need to find the time to read the rest of them. If you are looking for someone who really knows the thriller/mystery/crime genre, then go get yourself a Gregg Hurwitz novel.

Final Take:  4.25/5

Thanks to Dana Kaye Publicity and St. Martin's Press for my copy of the novel.



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