Newest Review: ... to be a guaranteed success, and a large pay cheque at the end of it. The project is nearly complete and it's time for publicity, with Mi... more
When The Past Bites You In The Bum
You're Next - Gregg Hurwitz
Member Name: cazkins
You're Next - Gregg Hurwitz
Advantages: Interesting premise with unseen twists, warm characters with depth, easy to read, gripping
Disadvantages: Ending perhaps not the strongest
I don't recall having read a Hurwitz novel, or having heard of him, before, but I was intrigued by the blurb and quotes on the cover. As a crime thriller lover, I seem to know what I like quite well now so I can be a little fussier than I used to be (for instance, I don't particularly like UK thrillers these days), meaning You're Next must have been pretty good because it's definitely one I'd recommend.
On the cover is a quote from Harlan Coben telling us that this is a 'pure stay up-all-night suspense'. Because I really enjoy Coben's novels, I was instantly taken by this and thought 'if it's good enough for him then it's good enough for me!'. The tag line on the cover reads 'The past isn't gone. It's just waiting', along with 'Every family has its secrets. His might just get them killed' on the back. This fits quite well in the crime thriller genre and was enough to convince me to give it a go, which I'm glad I did.
We're introduced to Mike Wingate, a successful family man and business man after working his way from construction worker to creator of a series of profitable eco homes he named 'Green Valley'. In toe with his wife Annabel and 8 year old daughter, Kat, they prepare for the launch of what looks to be a guaranteed success, and a large pay cheque at the end of it. The project is nearly complete and it's time for publicity, with Mike's face making the news. However, something hasn't gone quite right as Mike discovers the pipes under the homes aren't the material they should be, thus meaning the 'eco' friendliness claims are a lie, that they're not quite as loving to the environment as they should be. With the cost and time of replacing these going in to the millions of dollars, Mike swallows the discover and goes ahead with the publicity, with guilt eating at his conscience.
At the Green Valley launch party, a crippled stranger approaches Mike and seems to know more about him than is comfortable. It seems that there are two guys, this one included, by the names William and Dodge that aren't so friendly with Mike. A threat here and a threat there turns in to risky business as things start to spiral out of control. Why do these guys seem to have it in for Mike? Is it the eco homes, do they know about the pipes? Or is it something more, something about his past? He was abandoned by his father as a child, which Mike could never forgive him for, and he never did find out what really happened back them. He ended up in a foster home where he became close friends with Shep, and the two of them drew a lot of negative attention for their misdemeanours. But Mike turned things around, whereas Shep went on to cracking safes and robbery.
Mike calls in the help of a personal investigator, Hank, and also Shep, his old partner in crime, because the threat against himself has spread to a threat against his family. It's now a race against time to find out what these guys want and to keep his wife and daughter safe. It seems that he's up against a lot of muscle and that he can't trust anyone, even the police. Can he figure out what's going on and put things right before it's too late?
What I liked about this novel was how easy I found it to read because Hurwitz made it enjoyable to keep turning the pages. It was fluidly written with a style of writing that brought scenes and characters to life well enough that you could picture what was happening as you read. I liked getting to know Mike and learning about his past, and to see how this affected his current thoughts and behaviours when it came to protecting his family against the current threat. It felt like the characters had a story, a backbone, and this three dimensionality made it more interesting to read.
The atmosphere was also built quite well because of the colourful way in which characters were brought to life. I felt closer to characters and thus wanted to know what happened next, I wanted Mike to be okay and for the bad people to get their comeuppance. Hurwitz was able to blend together emotion and feelings with scenes of action and suspense well, keeping up a good pace and hooking my interest on what happening. Rather than an American cops-with-guns focus, this was more on the goings-on with the individuals involved, though police/FBI did come in to it, so it gave it a slightly murkier, down-to-earn feel.
The ending, and overall tie-up to the premise, was the only part I felt was a little disappointing. It was definitely a surprise, and one I couldn't have guessed at all from the start, or even half way through. I like that there were twists and turns and that I couldn't just guess what the grand finale would be, however it lacked a bit of believability. It's not to say it couldn't happen, it just seemed very unlikely, so I had to suspend my belief for a bit to appreciate where the plot was going. I wasn't left feeling disappointed by the end, however, as I felt like it was a novel worth reading, that captured my attention, and that I enjoyed for the characters and emotive style of writing.
Further praise on the back includes 'Outstanding in every way' - Lee Child, 'Uniquely believable and sympathetic' - James Patterson, and 'Thriller writing at its best' - Tess Gerritsen.
Overall, this is one I'd recommend and a new author to me that I'd suggest giving a go if you're a crime thriller fan or wanting something to absorb yourself in. Whilst I wasn't overly keen on the ending, it was nonetheless an enjoyable read with good character depth, making me want to keep turning the pages.
59 chapters over 436 pages (paperback)
Summary: A great read if you want something to get stuck in to