Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"A man's dying is more his survivor's affair than his own." Thomas Mann

Not an author to shy away from difficult subjects, Gregg Hurwitz's latest thriller has heroism and suicide colliding in a revenge filled novel centered on the love of two men, for their families.

Nate Overbay is afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease. He's been told that he has about six months of good health before his body begins breaking down. Feeling despondent, he goes to a downtown L.A. building to commit suicide.

The building is occupied by a bank and Nate sees a robbery taking place. The robbers are in a frenzy and shoot anyone not instantly obeying them. Nate is a type person who likes to help others and he spots a gun on the floor. He sneaks into the bank and not caring if he's shot or not, begins shooting the robbers. He kills all but one. Before the last survivor runs from the bank, he tells Nate that "He will make you pay in ways you can't imagine."

Nate becomes an overnight hero. He has one wound and after he's treated at the hospital and returns home, the man who escaped and three others are waiting for him.  The leader of this group is named Pavlo, he and his men are Ukrainians. Now that their plot to get into bank's safety deposits was ruined by Nate, unless he does what they say, it's Nate's daughter who will suffer. Nate is ordered to go back to the bank and retrieve something from the safety deposit box of a man named Danny Urban.

Nate wouldn't care what they did to him but can't allow his daughter to be harmed. He has to figure a way to get into the bank's safety deposit boxes, find what these killers want and stop them in a manner that will still save his daughter from harm.

Hurwitz brings out Nate's plight with such clarity it is as if we're part of the action. How can Nate do this when he only has a short time to live and his body is already starting to fail him with the early signs of ALS.

The Ukrainian leader has his own set of laws and revenge and torture are two of his guiding principles.

With Nate's terminal illness, the novel is packed with the meaning of life as we watch Nate trying to accomplish so much with his days of having his body respond become shorter and shorter.

Yes, the story is a thriller but it also conveys strong messages to the reader, told by a number of well described and memorable characters.

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