• The Survivor

  • By: Gregg Hurwitz
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (7,702 ratings)

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The Survivor

By: Gregg Hurwitz
Narrated by: Scott Brick
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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 listeners say about The Survivor

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,996
  • 4 Stars
    2,558
  • 3 Stars
    816
  • 2 Stars
    200
  • 1 Stars
    132
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,634
  • 4 Stars
    1,779
  • 3 Stars
    422
  • 2 Stars
    110
  • 1 Stars
    59
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,563
  • 4 Stars
    2,265
  • 3 Stars
    793
  • 2 Stars
    216
  • 1 Stars
    143

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

115 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

101 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I will listen to no STUPID book

EVEN THE RUSSIANS ARE AFRAID OF THE UKRAINIANS!!!!
Do not be fooled by the sample. The sample is part of chapter one. Chapter one thru four are great and then... I loved the first four chapters and thought I was in for a great book, especially after reading Your Next. Then the book goes unbelievable stupid. I am capable of suspending belief in a couple of events, but when it happens over and over, it just gets too stupid. Let's start with the bad guy. We get a background on him and he sounds like one real tough dude. You even admire the guy for his toughness and ability to survive the life he lead. Then this, shoot first, ask questions later type of guy starts to get pushed around by a loser, simply because he has a terminal illness and does not fear death. I guess the Ukrainians have not heard of torture, even though they have pictures. There is one scene where the Bad Ukrainian wants to prove how bad he is, so he disrobes in the middle of a restaurant and shows our hero all of his tattoos. He explains the meaning of most of the tattoos. He even drops his pants. Am sorry, but I got lots of friends who have tattoos and some of them are soft overweight marshmallows who would not hurt a fly. There are several more examples where the tougher then Russians, mafia character acts like a cute kitten. If your going to build up a bad guy, keep him in character and dazzle me with his toughness.

One of the more improbable things is how everything just goes right for our main character. He sneaks into a crime scene after the police have given it a going over and just happens to come upon what he needs. He manages to go into a bank and steal out of a deposit box, with security standing over his shoulder. He is questioned by the police and never gives anything away, etc...

The teenage daughter goes above and beyond stupid. I know teenagers don't make the best choices in life, but this one makes so many, that are life threating to her and her family, it stretches belief too far. The parents continue to let her do these things, cause she insists that she needs to be in on the decision making process. Yet, she makes decisions that could cost the whole family their lives on several occasions, without or against her parents warnings.

I am one of Scott Bricks biggest critics, but I believe he did well in this and it is not his fault the story is so unbelievable.

I need to change my slogan to, I will listen to no BORING book and no STUPID book.

54 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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).

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic, Loved this book!!!

Any additional comments?

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!

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A thrilling, edge-of-your seat cliffhanger

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.

34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Intense violence, action packed...

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.

33 people found this helpful