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Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,432
  • 4 Stars
    1,915
  • 3 Stars
    614
  • 2 Stars
    143
  • 1 Stars
    98

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    2,879
  • 4 Stars
    1,387
  • 3 Stars
    333
  • 2 Stars
    83
  • 1 Stars
    51

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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  • Story

This... book...is...slow..

Listened to this book at double speed due to the readers' insanely slow pace of reading. Story line started strong, got unlikely, got improbable, and then just got stupid. I plowed through to the end, half hoping for the end to come to the 'hero' along the way. The final battle at the mansion was cheesy but slightly entertaining at the same time. Surprised that this is not some crappy Ben Affleck movie yet. If you skip this book, you won't be missing anything.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Slow in spots, predictable plot twists

Hurwitz never really captured my attention and got me to the "can't put it down" level. The pace bogged down several times with overly-detailed descriptions, and there were multiple instances of relaying the protagonist's thought stream in the middle of a charged situation that created a "stop action" effect. A couple of plot developments were easily foreseen, as Murphy's Law seemed to provide undue influence, while others were so unlikely as to not be credible. About 2/3 through the book, I really wanted to give it up, but I hate to leave a book unfinished, just in case there is a surprise turn of events.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Janice
  • Sugar Land, TX, United States
  • 08-26-12

Better than the sum of its parts

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.

79 of 85 people found this review helpful

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Shakes you to your very core.

"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.

77 of 83 people found this review helpful

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Over kill, kill, kill

Scott Brick is always a marvelous narrator, but after threat after threat and buckets of blood, you just don't care about the heroes anymore. You even start to hope they hurry up and die so you can move on to a book where the hero doesn't leap buildings with a single bound.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Cayce
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 01-11-16

Just didn't want to listen anymore...

So I made it almost 11 hours into this novel and while it's well written and the narration is fine, I just didn't care how it ended, so I'm moving on to another book.

It's a fairly simply story, although there's a lot of running around and it seemed pretty obvious to me how it was going to end. I guess it didn't matter to me enough to hear it out because I kept drifting out of the story and so I finally gave up.

I'm willing to believe it could be more interesting to someone else. Maybe I've simply read too many thrillers and I need a more twists. Running from the bad guy for the entire book is just not enough for me.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 09-14-14

Paging Liam Neeson!

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).

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

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take out the daugther, please

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I gave 3 for the performance. The book lost all credibility when the fifteen year old daughter continued to almost get everyone killed. Then her boyfriend, what is wrong with these parents their in a life and death situation and they let two children call any shots I don't think so.

Has The Survivor turned you off from other books in this genre?

Only if there are 15 year old children evolving themselves in life or death situations that wreck the entire book

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

narration was too good for this book

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Survivor?

Take out the children not needed

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Suspenseful is an understatement.

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.

36 of 41 people found this review helpful

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  • W. Brooks
  • Seattle, WA United States
  • 02-14-17

This one should land on my 10 Best List for 2017

This was a well-paced, well-plotted story told to perfection by Scott Brick. (Brick excels at this kind of action-thriller.) Gregg Hurwitz creates 3-dimensional characters, keeps the good one at risk, throws in enough plot twists to keep you guessing and wraps it up in great satisfaction, though a little bittersweet. Well worth the credit.

Our hero, Nate Overbay, is certainly flawed. His life was robbed of its goodness by PTSD and then he was diagnosed with ALS. His life is all but over and we find him standing on a ledge ready to jump when he is sucked into being a good guy. He witnesses a crime and stops it in its tracks while managing to hide the fact that he was about to take a flying 12-story leap. One of the bad guys gets away with the chilling words, "He will make you pay in ways you can't imagine." Then the action picks up :). Seriously. Nate is forced to commit a crime to try to save his family. The bad guys here are Ukrainians (nice to read a good action-thriller where the soulless killers aren't Muslims).

I liked it and tore through the 13 hours quickly. It was a nice change of pace from my previous book, A Gentleman in Moscow, which I loved enough to read a second after I finished The Survivor.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful