The Survivor, Gregg Hurwitz (St. Martin’s)

survivor

Surely Hurwitz can’t keep this up forever. Lately, each new book he publishes is his best so far, and this one’s no exception. As the story opens, Nate Overbay, U.S. army veteran and LAPD crisis responder, is out on the eleventh-floor ledge of an office building, seconds away from killing himself. But the sounds of gunshots—a bank robbery in progress—pull him off the ledge, turn him into a hero, and set him up for a life-and-death battle with a career criminal with a very personal axe to grind. The story itself is thoroughly engaging—Nate has a very short deadline in which to provide the villain with a certain object, or his wife and daughter’s lives will be in jeopardy—but it’s Nate himself, a hero with a built-in expiration date, who makes this such a gripping book. He’s a wonderful creation, a hero who doesn’t behave like a hero, and full marks to Hurwitz for having the guts to build a novel around him. Nate is the kind of character who, if not handled just right, might quickly become unbelievable, but there’s no danger of that with Hurwitz at the controls. It’s hard to imagine that he can top this one, but, based on past performance, don’t bet against it.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, July 2012

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