Nate Overbay, a former soldier suffering from PTSD and ALS, goes to an 11th-floor bank and climbs out the bathroom window onto the ledge, ready to end it all. But as he’s steeling himself to jump, a crew of gunmen bursts into the bank and begins viciously shooting employees and customers. With nothing to lose, Nate climbs back inside, confronts the robbers, and with his military training, starts taking them out, one by one. The last man standing leaves Nate with a cryptic warning: “He will make you pay in ways you can’t imagine.” Soon enough, Nate learns what this means.
He is kidnapped by Pavlo, a savage Ukrainian mobster and mastermind of the failed heist. Now blocked from getting into the bank vault to retrieve the critical item inside, Pavlo gives Nate a horrifying ultimatum: Either break in and acquire the item or watch Pavlo slowly kill the people Nate loves most - his estranged wife, Janie, and his teenaged daughter, Cielle. Nate lost them both when he came back from Iraq broken and confused. Now he’s got one chance to protect the people he loves, even if it’s the last thing he is able to do.
©2012 Gregg Hurwitz (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
This was a thrill ride from the opening, setting the scene at 100 miles an hour. Then Hurwitz eases off the accelerator and backs us up to meet the characters and really know who we are dealing with. It works. I was quickly invested in both the action and the relationships, including those with the bad guys. Oh and they are really bad - the danger meter well into the red.
As with most action thrillers, there is at least some need to suspend disbelief and just roll with it, and that's true in this story too. Overall I think it was handled well, but the one weak link was the daughter's obstinancy and, in one case, impulsive behavior in the face of proven danger, that only heightened the peril to herself and her parents. I had a hard time believing that any adolescent in these circumstances would take it on herself to pull the stunt she did, but it was a device to move the story to its next level, so once I stopped rolling my eyes I just jumped back on the ride and kept going. However, it did remove one star from the story. In spite of that weakness, when assessing the overall rating I still give it a 5. I just couldn't put it down and listened well into the night to get to the end, a conclusion that matched the opening.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature
"The Survivor" is one of those rare books that truly affects the reader. This is more than your typical thriller - the characters draw you in; the story visceral and horrifying, and Scott Brick's narration is, as always, spot on.
I listen to thrillers for pure entertainment and escape, so I wasn't prepared for the emotions brought up by "The Survivor." Hurwitz managed to touch my nerves to such an extent that, at times, I had to stop listening in order to recover from the horrible images he planted in my imagination.
Be prepared to be terrified. This is no ordinary book.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Eight hours into The Survivor, I found myself firmly at three and half stars (which is not a ratings option, unfortunately), wondering whether Gregg Hurwitz's action thriller would rise to four or sink to three. I was still open to moving up to four stars despite being disappointed by a number of plot and character points that have clearly been overused over the years:
The hero with PTSD who doubts his courage despite an impressive CV of brave deeds; the ruthless Ukrainian gangsters who let them themselves be talked out of some of their evil intentions by our hero; the dead friend who appears out of survivor guilt (as in Rescue Me); obituaries as metaphor (as in Carl Hiaasen's Basket Case or any of the four recent books titled The Obituary Writer); the daughter's snarky teenage boyfriend who turns out to be a decent guy (as in The Descendants). Oh, I could go on, but I'll stop.
Yet the writing had me hooked despite all that, the plot unfolding in a layered series of twists and reveals that was appealing, and the primary theme of what fathers will do to protect their daughters of great interest to me as a father of two daughters, with that aspect of the story one order of magnitude more complex than some of the other predictable, hackneyed elements.
Unfortunately, the final five hours sent my overall experience down a half-star rather than up. During that overlong period of time, the plot complexities disappear in a wave of action scenes that make this book an obvious choice for Liam Neeson's next movie. Actually, Liam Neeson will probably turn this role down, because he has already played it out several times. The writing and pace of those last five hours are on par with the rest of the book, which is a good thing, but the plotting and characterization all but ceased to move forward.
A disappointment for me, having greatly enjoyed my first Hurwitz title, Tell No Lies, and seeing huge potential in this book's opening hook -- a man about to commit suicide being drawn off the ledge to stop a deadly bank heist. I'm sure I will give Hurwitz another chance because his writing, in this genre, is very good. But as others have said, I would love to take a break from Scott Brick (I'll give him credit for only requiring 1.25x speed this time instead of the usual 1.5x, but his overly dramatic readings are wearing me out).
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
Way too violent for my tastes, but plot had me tightly held before it hit, and I did finish it late into the night. I quite enjoyed the story, although it was improbable and I consciously had to accept the over the top premise and... Language is clean, no sexual messiness, writing skills decent. Nice family guy with PTSD versus the Russian mafia to protect his family. Scott Brick always does a great job on narration. My husband would love this... me... way too many images I really hope I will forget.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
When I read the summary I wondered if this was going to be like Die Hard, which wouldn't be bad. But no, this is much more complicated.
The mystery and suspense not withstanding, Hurwitz spins a desperate drama of a man suffering from LDS, even more so from PTSD. It is a story of reconciliation and redemption.
The mystery is why the hero is hunted. The suspense comes in so many parts I cannot think of how to describe it. There is so much suspense I grew a bit weary at times, but no way I was quitting on this book.
An interesting note, Hurwitz uses a ghost to portray the hero's conscience in clever way. He then introduces a living shadow of the ghost in the form of the daughter's boyfriend.
This is one of the most enjoyable thrillers I've listened to in the past couple of years. A PTSD veteran with his life in shambles redeems himself to his family and the best friend he failed, all while defending himself against one of the most vicious mobsters you'll ever encounter in a novel. Even with the dire, often depressing plot, Hurwitz manages to inject some humor (a bacon-eating vegetarian) and a poignant scene in a hospital ward, where severely sick children are trick-or-treating the other inpatients on Halloween. Scott Brick, who rightfully labels himself a "performer" rather than a "reader," is at the top of his game.
I really loved this book, Scott Brick is the best Narrator, he can bring a story to life however no matter how gifted he is in his narration he cannot make a bad story good, in this case he didn't have to attempt it, excellent story, excellent narrator, perfect marraige of both! Worth a credit and then some!
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Loved this one beginning to end . . . as a mom with two sons who have deployed to the "sand box", I'm very familiar with PTSD and what it does to a person . . . the skeletons that soldiers bring home with them, the guilt that survivors feel long after they are safe on American soil . . . I've heard first hand the stories, from my own young sons, of carrying wounded, dying boys to the waiting helicopters only to have them die in their arms . . . of cleaning up body parts from vehicles, only to send the vehicles out the next day to have another friend blown up . . . This is only PART of this audio book . . . but a big part . . . because war turns out to be not just a handicap that Nate Overbay struggles with, but also a hidden strength. You will grow to love the young Nate, whose mother dies when he is only a boy, the Nate that saves a beautiful young woman's life at the beach . . . and the not-so-perfect, wounded soul Nate . . . The horrors he saw in Afghanistan will prove to be only a prelude to what he faces in LA . . . Evil lurks where you least expect it . . . Don't miss this one . . .
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
Nate Overbay has problems including PTSD from time in combat, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) which is terminal, and a broken marriage. He is about to kill himself by jumping from the 11th floor of a bank building when bank robbers enter the bank and start shooting. He climbs back in the window and successfully defeats the bank robbers. His reward? He's kidnapped and the lives of his ex-wife and daughter threatened if he does not go back and rob the bank of the item the original bank robbers intended. Scott Brick narrates this excellent novel.
I like books that have interesting characters and easy to follow plots. For example, Cormoran Strike, is a great character for me.
Although I really like Gregg Hurwitz and his books are always turbo charged, there are times when his exchanges between the main characters get maudlin and overextended. This is not helped by Scott Brick's feeble attempts at voicing the sensitivity being expressed. (listening to two Scott Brick books in a row is like nails on a chalkboard) Although character development is not at the top of the list in books like this, Gregg Hurwitz has done a better job than most in this genre. However, the characters in this book often become cardboard when they have sudden behavioral changes that help the protagonist out. For example, his estranged father suddenly decides to help Nate after a fifteen year absence. Nate himself suddenly becomes dedicated to his daughter after ignoring her for five years. All this is explained away by his decision to not commit suicide but I didn't buy it. The extended love scenes between Nate and his wife became so annoying that I had to turn the book off or else be drowned in butterscotch. Also, the entire storyline of the book, that Nate had to obtain the contents of the bank security box was absurd. The villain could have easily gone into the bank several weeks later with a new crew and retrieved the contents himself. One of the best parts of the book was the manner in which Hurwitz nailed the personality of a 15 year old girl in LA. She was so totally obnoxious, so totally self-absorbed and so totally out of control that how Nate could even stand to be around her was a fantasy in itself. Why he would sacrifice his life for her was beyond me. I also thought the way that PTDS soldiers were treated was a disgrace. Dumping these poor guys because they are psychologically damaged is like divorcing the guy because he has no legs. Yeah, he's scaring the daughter. So what! That's the sacrifice we all make for those who put themselves in harms way. I also thought that the ability of the Ukranians to track every step of Nate's was somewhat contrived. It reminded me of the movie, "Enemy of the State". I could see it if the tracking agency was Governmental but a small group of foreign thugs? Nah! After reviewing this comment, I'm not sure it deserves the four stars I gave it but, on the whole, if one's cynicism is suspended, its a good hurricane read.
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