The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz
ORDER A COPY: The Survivor
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publishing Date: August 21, 2012
Hardcover: 384 pages
One morning in Los Angeles, Nate Overbay—a divorced former solider suffering from PTSD and slowly dying from ALS — goes to an eleventh-floor bank, climbs out of the bathroom window onto the ledge, and gets ready to end it all. But as he’s steeling himself, a crew of robbers bursts into the bank and begins to viciously shoot employees and customers. With nothing to lose, Nate confronts the robbers, taking them out one-by-one. The last man standing leaves Nate with a cryptic warning.
Nate soon learns what that message meant. He is kidnapped by Pavlo, a savage Russian mobster and mastermind of the failed heist. Unable to break back into the bank to get the critical item inside, Pavlo gives Nate an ultimatum—break in and get what he needs or watch Pavlo slowly kill the one thing Nate loves most—his ex-wife Janie and his teenaged daughter Cielle—both lost when he came back from Iraq broken and confused. Now he’s got one last chance to protect the people he loves, even if it’s the last thing he is able to do.
I received an ARC of this book from St. Martin’s Press. The story had sounded very intriguing to me.
It starts out with Nate’s attempted suicide. He has been living with the diagnosis of ALS and knew that he would soon become a burden both physically and financially on his wife and daughter. As he prepares to jump off the building, he hears the commotion inside of the bank. He is horrified by what his happening in the bank and soon his military training kicks in and with nothing to lose (since he was there to commit suicide anyway), he takes out the bank robbers. None of that is a surprise since it is in the book’s description.
We then leave the scene of the bank and we learn more of Nate. He and his wife met young and were a love match. They have a daughter and were the perfect family. Then Nate is called to serve in the war and a tragedy in battle sends Nate back home finally but with PTSD and flashbacks. He cannot hold a job and has great difficulty returning to family life. He and his wife eventually split.
When we return to present day and Nate decides he should confess his medical problems to his wife and daughter before he again attempts suicide and not just leave them wondering. We then learn that his wife is now engaged to a former neighbor, who is now living in Nate’s former house with his former wife and his daughter, and that his daughter is now a teenager with the usual teenage-angst aggravated by her feelings of desertion by her father.
At this point is the story, I am thoroughly depress of how Nate has lost his whole world and how his life has turned to crap and want to throw myself off the building.
He is then abducted by the people behind the bank robbery, who show him what they will be do to his daughter if he doesn’t get them what they broke into the bank for. All I can think of is “Oh my God, Who thinks of that!!!!”
Nate is returned to his life, but by this time I am about 100 pages in and have had enough of this story. We don’t know what the bank robbers were attempting to get out of the safety deposit box, just that it was something “he thought he could keep from me.” I don’t know if it will turn out to be a rare treasure or a pet rock, and I just didn’t care.
I found Nate’s life was too depressing, and even if he could save his selfish, bratty kid and win her love and forgiveness, and the same for his wife, he was still dying of ALS and only had months left. I found nothing in this future that would compel me to finish the story when it started getting slow.