The Survivor

Written by Gregg Hurwitz — The bestselling thriller writer Gregg Hurwitz is back with his latest release. Nate Overbay stands on the ledge of a high rise building, preparing to jump to his death. Suddenly, from a window beside him, he hears gunshots. A bank is being robbed and from his dangerous position – one step from death – Overbay has to decide whether to step in and help. Climbing through the window, he acquires a gun and proceeds to kill all but one of the armed robbers. The leader. He receives a threat and Overbay soon realises that acting heroically can have grave consequences – not just for him, but for his long estranged family.

As a massive fan of Hurwitz’s previous novels, I jumped at the chance to read his latest work. Possibly not as well known as Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay, who also write about ordinary people extraordinary situations, Hurwitz has proven in the past that he deserves to be ranked alongside those writers. Does his new book live up to those standards? Almost.

The character of Nate Overbay is gloriously drawn. Nearing the end of his life, having been diagnosed with ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and with seemingly nothing to live for, his attempts to end his life on his own terms are excellently written. When the lives of his family members are put in danger by his heroic actions in the bank, the passages of him grappling to stay in control and come to their aid are fantastically plotted.

Similarly, the characters in that estranged family, his ex-wife and teenage daughter, are great creations. His daughter and her boyfriend are particular highlights, with the interplay between Overbay as a father and his daughter playing out well. However, the Ukrainian antagonists which he must fight against sometimes slip into clichés widely seen in various genres.

And that’s where the almost part comes in. At times it feels as if the book is aiming to have more in common with the Lee Child style of storytelling, rather than the author’s usual fare. However, with his knack for creating characters which are relatable, Hurwitz manages to keep the heart of this type of story at the forefront, rather than falling into pastiche territory.

The novel is tightly plotted, with twists and turns throughout. The pace is frenetic for the most part, even if in some places there is a little repetition of plot summaries. Overall though, it’s an excellent read which will have you turning the page to the explosive ending.

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Print/Kindle/iBook
£4.49

CFL Rating: 4 Stars

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