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4.4 17
by Gregg Hurwitz

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Gregg Hurwitz

Nate Overbay, a former soldier suffering from PTSD and ALS, goes to an eleventh-floor bank and climbs onto the ledge, ready to end it all. But as he's steeling himself to jump, a crew of when a gunmen bursts into the bank and begins shooting employees and customers. With nothing to lose, Nate climbs back inside and, with



Gregg Hurwitz

Nate Overbay, a former soldier suffering from PTSD and ALS, goes to an eleventh-floor bank and climbs onto the ledge, ready to end it all. But as he's steeling himself to jump, a crew of when a gunmen bursts into the bank and begins shooting employees and customers. With nothing to lose, Nate climbs back inside and, with military precision, Nate begins taking out the robbers, one by one. The last man standing leaves Nate with a cryptic warning: He will make you pay in ways you can't imagine…
Pavlo is a savage Ukrainian mobster and mastermind of the failed heist. Blocked from entering the bank vault to retrieve a critical item, Pavlo gives Nate a horrifying ultimatum: Either help him break in or watch Pavlo slowly kill his estranged wife and teenaged daughter. Nate lost them once he came back from Iraq, broken and confused. Now the only thing Nate has to lose is—everything. And time is running out...

This edition of the book is the deluxe, tall rack mass market paperback.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
The premise is so crushingly perfect that most Hollywood screenwriters would give a kidney to have dreamed it up…The plot unfolds with propulsive determination…Things go from bad to worse, and for page after irresistible page, Hurwitz ramps up the tension, ending in a climax that's not one bit less satisfying for being predictable. It's so thrillingly cinematic that if Ryan Gosling hasn't already been pitched the role of Nate, he should fire his agent.
—Steve Donoghue
Publishers Weekly
Hurwitz’s hair-raising stand-alone stars an unlikely hero, 36-year-old Nate Overbay. Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease nine months earlier, Nate is about to leap off an 11th-floor ledge of a bank building in Santa Monica, Calif., when he notices a robbery in progress through the window next to where he’s standing. Nate climbs back in the window undetected, grabs a handgun a masked man has conveniently set down, and, thanks to his ROTC firearms training, succeeds in shooting dead five of the six robbers. In revenge, the thwarted theft’s mastermind, a notorious Ukrainian mobster, vows to brutally kill Nate and his teenage daughter unless Nate can retrieve the robbery’s objective: an envelope stored in one of the bank’s safe deposit boxes. In between tight, compelling action scenes, Hurwitz (You’re Next) sensitively depicts Nate’s struggles with ALS. While Nate’s exploits may be a little beyond his skill set at times, thriller fans won’t let this one gather any dust on the nightstand. Author tour. Agent: Aaron Priest. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

“Hurwitz can take a high-concept thriller and deliver the extras needed to elevate it further…[With] The Survivor, he outdoes himself.” —Washington Post

“In between tight, compelling action scenes, Hurwitz sensitively depicts Nate's struggles…thriller fans won't let this one gather any dust on the nightstand.” —Publishers Weekly

“Hurwitz demonstrates his mastery of the thriller genre...The book opens as dramatically as a reader could hope for and doesn't relent....succeeds on every level.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A riveting, potboiler of a tale, featur[ing] one of the most original, and daring, setups seen in many a thriller…a jigging and jagging hybrid of Rear Window and a Bourne tale with a brain. Just call it terrific.” —Providence Sunday Journal

“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...It's hard to imagine that he can top this one, but, based on past performance, don't bet against it.” —Booklist (starred review)

“This book evokes a wide range of emotions, from horror at the shocking violence to sympathy for children whose parents are absent. The plot, characters and their actions will keep you thinking for days...” —RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)

Library Journal
Divorced and terminally ill, vet Nate Overbay stands 11 stories up on the ledge of a bank building, ready to end it all. When robbers break into the bank, he rushes down to save the day but is later kidnapped by the Russian mobster behind the break-in. He's got a job Nate had better do—or his ex-wife and daughter will suffer. Hurwitz's You're Next was an LJ Best Thriller of 2011.
Kirkus Reviews
Hurwitz demonstrates his mastery of the thriller genre. Nate Overbay stands on an 11th-story building ledge as gunshots erupt inside. Curiosity overcomes his suicide plan as he looks through the bank window and witnesses a robbery in progress. He climbs back inside, shoots five criminals dead and saves the day. Thus, instead of splattering himself on top of a Dumpster, Nate becomes an unwilling hero. He suffers from ALS and simply wants to spare himself the agonizing end that is only months away. The trouble is, now he has angered Pavlo, the Ukrainian mobster who had directed the heist. Pavlo is an unusually sadistic sort who plans to make Nate pay in the worst possible way--through Nate's daughter. The book opens as dramatically as a reader could hope for and doesn't relent. That Nate must die is inevitable, given his fatal illness. The question is whether he dies on his own terms. Nate's been a hero once before, but he's also been weak. Now he must protect and re-bond with his estranged family in the face of vengeful monsters. Hurwitz's writing is crisp and economical, and he steers clear of hackneyed phrases and one-dimensional characters--Nate's and Pavlo's back stories are well-crafted, although the ghost of Nate's dead friend Charles seems inspired by a James Lee Burke novel. A fine thriller that succeeds on every level. How often do you read about a hero who just wants to die in peace?

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1



From this height the cars looked like dominoes, the pedestrians like roving dots. The breeze blew crisp and constant, cooling Nate’s lungs on the inhale—none of that touted L.A. smog this close to the ocean. To the west, blocks of afternoon gridlock ended at the Santa Monica cliffs, a sheer drop to white sand and the eternal slate of the sea. The view would have been lovely.

Except he was here to kill himself.

The eleventh-story ledge gave him two spare inches past the tips of his sneakers. Balance was a challenge, but getting out here had been the hardest part. He’d shoehorned himself through the ancient bathroom window at First Union Bank of Southern California, wobbling for a solid minute on the ledge before daring to rise.

On the street below, people scurried about their business, no one squinting up into the late-morning glare to spot him. As he flattened against the wall, his senses lurched into overdrive—the smacking of his heart against his ribs, the sweat-damp shirt clinging to his shoulders, the salt tinge burning his nostrils. It felt a lot like panic, but somehow calmer, as if his brain was resigned to the circumstances but his body wasn’t getting the signals.

Because he was unwilling to risk landing on someone—with his luck he’d pile-drive a pension-check-cashing granny through the pavement—he continued slide-stepping to the end of the ledge. The corner of the building gave him less trouble than he’d anticipated as he elbow-clamped his way around, and then he was staring down at the empty alley and the target of the Dumpster below. It was, if nothing else, a considerate plan. If he hit the bin squarely, the steel walls would contain the spatter, leaving him neatly packaged for delivery to the crematorium. He was sick of people cleaning up after him.

It had been less than ten minutes since he’d laid open that Dumpster lid, but it seemed like days. The chilly elevator ride up, the nod to the wizened black security guard, that final moment collecting his nerves by the row of urinals before muscling open the sash window—each had stretched out into a lifetime.

First Union of SoCal was one of the few West Coast banks located up off the ground floor—cheaper real estate, more space, better security. But only one high-rise perk held Nate’s interest currently. Gauging his position, he slid another half step to the right, stopping shy of a casement window that had been cranked several turns outward. From the gap issued a current of warm, coffee-scented air and the busy hum of tellers and customers. Business as usual.

He considered his own dwindling checking account within. His next step—literally—would void the million-dollar life-insurance policy to which he dutifully wrote a check every January, but even that wouldn’t matter. There was no one who wanted anything of him and nothing ahead but increments of misery.

He took a deep breath—his last?—and closed his eyes. Spreading his arms, he let the October wind rise through the thin cotton of his T-shirt and chill the sweat on his ribs. He waited for his life to flash before his eyes, the ethereal song and dance, but there was nothing. No wedding-day close-up of Janie’s lips parting to meet his, no image of Cielle dressed as a pumpkin for Halloween with her chocolate-smudged hands and dimpled thighs, just the teeth of the wind and a thousand needle points of fear, skewering him like a pincushion. The longest journey, according to Taoism and Hallmark, begins with a single step.

And so does the shortest.

He took one foot and moved it out into the weightless open.

That was when he heard the gunshots.


Copyright © 2012 by Gregg Hurwitz

Meet the Author

Gregg Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling author of twelve novels, most recently, You're Next, They're Watching, and Trust No One. His books have been translated into twenty languages. In addition, he is a screenwriter, television producer, and writes for Marvel and DC Comics. He lives in Los Angeles.

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The Survivor 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
SUKIELJ More than 1 year ago
This is a fun read for suspense lovers with an interesting set-up right from the beginning. You're rooting for the hero and hoping he can stay alive long enough to save his family. The detectives are also interestings and you find yourself involved in their side stories.
MaryBNC More than 1 year ago
This is a book that is well-written! It grabs you right from the start and keeps you so intrigued that you cant put it down,I highly recommend this book!
mommybooknerd More than 1 year ago
Would you intervene in a bank robbery in progress if you thought you had nothing else to lose? Well, that is precisely what Nate Overbay did after stepping off the ledge of a high rise building in LA where he was about to kill himself because he was not only dying from ALS, but also lost his family due to PTSD resulting from serving over seas. He felt like he had nothing to lose so he jumped into the middle of the robbery becoming a hero to many and a target of the Russian mobster, Pavlo. Overbay must do what Pavlo instructs or his daughter will be killed in a very heinous way. Can Overbay do it in time? Read this novel and find out!!!! This page turning novel is packed full of what Hurwitz does best; great suspense, great characters and a great story. I was at the edge of my seat and taken on a wild ride. I absolutely love Hurwitz. He is definitely a master of his craft!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hooked at page 31 and couldn't put my NOOK down. Introduced to him at a book review for "They're Watching" and "You're Next". I'm a big fan of his books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast moving, action packed story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One action done on auto-pilot brings severe consequences to a widening circle of innocent people. Good narration on the audio.
dslNJ More than 1 year ago
Fast paced compelling story kept me turning pages all night. Gregg Hurwitz deserves greater recognition in that his stories are not formulaic but rather independent, complex, tightly written tales. Keep them coming, Gregg!
MexicoDan More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, the hero has ALS, so I suppose there won't be a sequel. A few mildly unbelievable plot twists, but overall an excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all of this author's books. It grabs you from the beginning right thru to the last page. Now have to wait for his next book. Tried to read it slowly - but couldn't do it!!!!!!
Anonymous 9 months ago
At about Nooknpg 220, I wondered how this book could continue a strong story line, suspense and intrigue for another 200 pages. This author did a goid job! Ended the book in, probably, the best way possible, though I am not a fan of sad endings. I look forward to reading this author''s "series" books but will most likely not read another of his stand alone novels. M. E. S.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
Full of non-stop action and interesting characters “The Survivor” places you right in the middle of a mob land plot. The main character Nate, is flawed but overall has a good heart. The villan, Pavlo is hard core with a killing style I’ve never even heard of before. Between the two a pulse pounding journey begins which takes the reader from the depths of depression to the mountains of Afghanistan and through the back alleys of LA. Wonderfully written this story really take the reader along for a ride!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This may be the best book of this type ever written!  The plot is absolutely compelling, the prose is superb, and the suspense is overwhelming.  The challenge is to read this without crying more than once, as the story is just to emotional to bear without the relief of tears.
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CBH More than 1 year ago
Nate Overbay was on the eleventh-floor ledge of a building that also had a bank located on the same floor. Nate was there to commit suicide, not be a hero but as it turned out, he was a hero when he heard shots ring out in the bank and he heard stern voices telling all those in the bank to lie down on their faces. Nate turned to look into the bank when he heard what was going on and he saw people wearing ski masks pointing guns at others. He looked down and saw one of the bank tellers bleeding. He reached down to take her hand but he was in no position to help just stretching down through a window. The ski mask robbers had already shot quite a few and even they were getting scared at how many they would end up killing. They proceeded using a saw cutting into the areas they wanted to get to. Nate eventually squeezed through the window and grabbed a Beretta gun that he had spied on a cabinet, apparently left there by one of the robbers. Nate started shooting and hitting the robbers and somehow their shots missed or just grazed him. One of the robbers was left and told Nate that he would pay for what he did in stopping that robbery—some day, somehow, he would pay. If you think this part was exciting, think again. This entire book keeps the reader on edge not knowing what was next. What was next was Nate being treated in the emergency room for his wounds he received in the bank and the nurse recognized his conditions by his actions and medications that he had Lou Gehrig’s disease and didn’t have much time left. Then we go back to when Nate met his wife, Janie. Then a tour of duty with the military where he and his brother, Charles, were together. Charles gets killed but even though he was dead he somehow appears at inopportune times in front of Nate but only Nate can see and hear him as Charles gives him advice. Nate was so sad and heartbroken when Charles was killed. Upon his arrival home, his wife, Janie and their young daughter, Cielle, presented Nate with a dog named Casper telling Nate he would grow very big. Nate wanted to be the one that went to the home of the family of returning dead soldiers. He started doing this but when he got to the home of Charles, he couldn’t do it. This notification job he discovered he couldn’t do. All the while Nate was deteriorating. He knew what to expect and those indications were there and they caused him to lose senses sometimes. Now Janie wanted a divorce. Upon Nate’s visit he met Pete, the new boyfriend that Janie lived with. Nate was furious because he didn’t want Janie living with another man. The FBI and the police had Nate work with them to learn more about the bank robbery. Nate was approached by some men he didn’t know but he found out what they were when the threats were thrown at him. They wanted him to get back into the bank and recover what they originally had wanted, no matter how he would do it, he was told to get the information or be killed. This started a long time of insecurity for Nate. He had no family now so what did he have to live for? But the threats against his wife and child made him sit up and take notice of what he had to try to do. Nate was one of the ones that had to notify local civilian families when one of their members died or was killed. It was hard for him to do this. But through this job he found some ways to wiggle information as to what he had to get from the bank. Nate's daughter, Cielle, had a boyfriend, Pete that