THE SURVIVOR by Gregg Hurwitz
Kirkus Star


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Hurwitz demonstrates his mastery of the thriller genre.

Nate Overbay stands on an 11th-story building ledge as gunshots erupt inside. Curiosity overcomes his suicide plan as he looks through the bank window and witnesses a robbery in progress. He climbs back inside, shoots five criminals dead and saves the day. Thus, instead of splattering himself on top of a Dumpster, Nate becomes an unwilling hero. He suffers from ALS and simply wants to spare himself the agonizing end that is only months away. The trouble is, now he has angered Pavlo, the Ukrainian mobster who had directed the heist. Pavlo is an unusually sadistic sort who plans to make Nate pay in the worst possible way—through Nate’s daughter. The book opens as dramatically as a reader could hope for and doesn’t relent. That Nate must die is inevitable, given his fatal illness. The question is whether he dies on his own terms. Nate's been a hero once before, but he’s also been weak. Now he must protect and re-bond with his estranged family in the face of vengeful monsters. Hurwitz’s writing is crisp and economical, and he steers clear of hackneyed phrases and one-dimensional characters—Nate’s and Pavlo’s back stories are well-crafted, although the ghost of Nate’s dead friend Charles seems inspired by a James Lee Burke novel.

A fine thriller that succeeds on every level. How often do you read about a hero who just wants to die in peace?

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-312-62551-1
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2012


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Kirkus Interview
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