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Hurwitz delivers his best thriller yet!
You're Next - Gregg Hurwitz
Member Name: jeffjen
You're Next - Gregg Hurwitz
Date: 05/09/11, updated on 05/09/11 (89 review reads)
Advantages: Suspense, action and a good plot.
Growing up in foster care, Mike never learns why he was abandoned and because he was so young, he can remember very little about his time with his parents. All he remembers is the blood stain on his father's shirt cuff that morning when he dropped him off at the playground and grows up wondering if his father had actually murdered his mother. It is the only explanation that Mike can come up with.
Mike eventually marries and has a young daughter. Happily living the family life he was robbed of as a child, Mike is doing well as a property developer of eco-friendly homes and the future is looking perfect.
Until one evening at a party celebrating Mike's success, a stranger approaches him. Although a stranger to Mike, the man seems to know a lot about him and the past that Mike himself knows nothing about. Indeed the stranger's words "I know you, don't I?" are five words which suddenly turn Mike's world upside down and he soon finds both himself and his family in great danger.
What has Mike done? He has no idea what is going on, as overnight threats become attacks and Mike, his wife and young daughter realise they aren't safe anywhere. There is no time for Mike to try and figure it out because his enemies have killed before and it seems he is next.
I have previously read Gregg Hurwitz's other thrillers and enjoyed them, so I felt confident about reading this one and after reading the book I realised that this is my favourite thriller of his so far.
The book begins with four-year-old Mike being abandoned by his father, then the next chapter is the present day and Mike is now married to Annabel with an eight-year-old daughter, Kat. Flashbacks to his childhood and growing up in foster care are interspersed with chapters headed 'Then', with the present day chapters headed 'Now', however the flow of the storyline is not spoiled by this as it is all totally relevant and the story runs along smoothly.
I was gripped by the beginning of this book and from that point things gradually worsen for Mike and his family as the threats begin. Mike thinks someone was in his daughter's bedroom one evening, but is forced to dismiss it until further events show that maybe he wasn't wrong after all. And it doesn't stop there, as Mike begins to realise they are in great danger, but has no idea why. Hurwitz builds up the tension from the first page and I found it difficult to put down this book from the start. There are no long irrelevant descriptions or uneccessary information, just page-turning suspense and action from start to finish.
Frightened for his life and that of his wife and daughter's, Mike is forced to reach back into the dark side of his upbringing, calling in an old friend, Shep, from his foster home days. Shep is a brilliant character and one I would like to see again perhaps in another book. There to help and protect his old friend, Shep and Mike have been through a lot in their past and Shep will never forget what Mike did for him when they were younger. He doesn't say much, but I found his character very enjoyable as a formidable but loyal person whose actions often speak louder than words.
As the story unfolds we learn more about Mike as he learns about himself and this is one of the things which made the book so enjoyable, as you feel you are on a rollercoaster ride alongside Mike as he tries to avoid being killed, whilst attempting to find out the reason why he is a hunted man. He also calls upon Hank, a private investigator who has previously tried to help Mike find out about his past. Hank tries to help, but quickly ascertains that not even the police will assist Mike as an alert has been put out on him from a higher lever for more information about his past.
The reasons for Mike being hunted down don't really start to become apparent until the final third of the book and even then it is not clear cut and there are a couple of twists before the end, which meant that the suspense was maintained. The action slows towards the end of the book, but by this time you are wanting revelations and answers so whilst the plot may slow down, the readability remains as interesting and I was not disappointed by the ending which was quite poignant.
With 'You're Next' Gregg Hurwitz has written his best thriller yet in my opinion. Usually in his other books I have read there has been a main male character up against some great danger, but with the family aspect added to this one, it actually made this book even more enjoyable for me than his previous ones.
'You're Next' has all the components necessary for a great thriller: page-turning tense action, plenty of suspense, an elaborate cover-up and a main character who has no idea what's going on.
Good thrillers don't get much better than this.
Summary: A real page-turner of a thriller. Highly readable.