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You're Next by Gregg Hurwitz
== Plot ==
Mike Wingate was abandoned in a playground when he was four years old. He doesn't remember much about his parents or family. Now, he is 35 and a successful businessman with his own construction company. He leads a happy life with his wife Annabel, and an 8 year old daughter, Kat.
Then suddenly, his family is threatened out of the blue by some unsavoury characters. The police seem more interested in his past instead of helping. He has to call on the only true friend he has who can help him deal with the problem, Shep. They both grew up together while in foster care.
== My thoughts ==
I wasn't sure about this novel. I read one of his other stand alone novels, Trust No One, which I wasn't impressed by. The story starts off slow as you get to see Mike and his family doing their normal day to day activities. After the basic setup had been done, with the family and the setting, it then had me hooked in until right near to the end. I wasn't sure what would happen, or where the story was going. I'd forgotten what the blurb that came with this had said which helped. It unravels piece by piece like fog clearing, as at the start, you see Mike growing up in rough surroundings when he is put into foster care, and then in the present with his happy young family, and then the entry of some bad guys. About three quarters of the way in, you find out everything and it then switched to a standard run of the mill thriller type plot that I could predict.
One of the things it deals with is about how far you would go to protect your family if they were in danger. The author managed to get across the feeling of despair and rage Mike felt along with the rollercoaster emotions Kat is going through when they are in danger. She doesn't really understand what is happening and why they are doing what they are doing.
I didn't find the kid, Kat or the wife, Annabelle irritating like I normally do. I thought the author did a good job of getting across how an eight year old acts - one minute intelligent and then the next acting like a baby.
The story revolves for the most part around Mike, but my favourite character has to be Shep. I would like to see him in his own novel; he doesn't get much space to do his own thing in this. He's a childhood friend of Mikes. While Mike is now an honest businessman with a family, Shep is still a criminal with no responsibilities. Because of what they have gone through together during their childhoods in foster care, they have a bond that is stronger than blood. Loyalty and stamina are the two things that are important in life in Shep's opinion. I liked that. By stamina, he means will power. He has a disability, in that he is slightly deaf. I found it funny the way he uses it to his advantage. Whenever he hears something he doesn't like or is not interested in, he keeps saying 'what?'. He doesn't talk much but he comes out with some pearls of wisdom whenever he does. The narrator of this audio book manages to inflect the right amount of slurring to his speech and alters the way he speaks his words, so you can tell that he has a speech impairment as a result of his deafness.
The story is set in 2011 in California. I'm not sure if the author wrote this before Arnold Swartznegger left office or after, but the former governor does make a few indirect appearances along with one of his aids. I think knowing about the true life scandal that was made public earlier this year about his illegitimate child, helped me believe the dirty politics going on in the story. It made the story believeable.
== Audio narration ==
This was read by Scott Brick. The narrator did a good job of voicing all the characters. As mentioned above, I felt he did an excellent job of voicing Shep. He is supposed to be a large man, but the way he voices him, makes him sound as if he has a gentler edge. The narrator doesn't have too deep a voice which helped with the female characters as you don't get jarred out of the story while listening to it.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I would like to give this three and a half stars but I am rounding it up to four. It's a good thriller to pickup and get into. The plot especially at the start keeps you guessing as to which way it will go. It has some well developed characters and enough twists to keep you reading till the end.