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Suicide interrupted

Cover of The Survivor
A review of The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz

You know you're having a bad day when your suicide attempt is interrupted by a bank robbery. Just the kind of day Nate Overbay is having. He's on an 11th floor ledge - having crawled out of the window of his bank - very carefully choosing his landing spot in a dumpster (so he doesn't squash anyone) when he hears a gunshot and sees the blood splatter on the window next to him. When he realizes that a group of masked gunmen are robbing the bank, Nate is torn. He's determined to go through with his jump, but the gunmen have already killed a couple of people and they make clear they're perfectly willing to kill more, including a little girl who reminds Nate of his own daughter. What's an ex-soldier to do? Nate does do the right thing and foil the bank robbery. But the ringleader escapes after warning Nate that "he" will make him pay in ways he can't possibly imagine. For Nate, the threat holds little weight. He was just about to kill himself after all. And if suicide doesn't get him, then his recently diagnosed Lou Gehrig's disease will. It is that diagnosis on top of the PTSD he can't shake and the finalization of his divorce that has brought Nate to this point and he is finding it surprisingly freeing to not care. Even when the "he" of the threat (Ukrainian mobster Pavlo) kidnaps him and makes clear that very bad things are going to happen, Nate is ready. What he isn't ready for is the threat to his daughter Cielle and that changes everything. Now he's got only a few days to complete the task set for him by Pavlo. If he fails it is Ciele who will pay.

Hurwitz excels at scarred (physically and emotionally) but honorable heroes in his novels and this one is no exception. There is certainly action to spare here, but Nate's humanity makes this an emotional read as well as a fast-paced thriller.

January 14, 2019