Tuesday, August 9, 2011

You're Next

By Gregg Hurwitz

Because of mysterious circumstances, Mike Wingate, age four, was dropped off at a foster home by his father, who subsequently disappeared. Growing up a ‘hard knocks’ life, constantly in trouble with the law, he finally gets his life on the right path. Years later, married, with a daughter, he faces a tough business decision that could cost him millions. In the succeeding days, however, he encounters a pair of killers targeting him and his family. With his wife hospitalized, he and his daughter go on the run from not only the killers, but local and state authorities. Up against a system that seems to know virtually everything about his life, Wingate, with the help of his foster home buddy, must find the connection between his current life and the one so long ago.

It’s a complex plot with a lot of story, a lot of details. I thought the back story was a little too long, but still it fit in well with the rest.

Mike Wingate – Troubled foster child turned good. Construction worker, married

Kat Wingate – Mike’s eight year old daughter. Loving relationship with her dad. Precocious and intelligent.

William Burrell – Hired killer. Suffers from cerebral palsy which affects his walking

Shep – Mike’s foster home friend. He and Mike grew up not necessarily always skirting the law. Shep continued his criminal ways into adulthood, but is still loyal to Mike. He uses his knowledge as a criminal to aid Mike.

Each character is defined with their own personalities and faults. Even the bad guys are not the faceless killers of some books. Yes, you still wish for their demise, but they are unique.

Nothing special, but fitting each character.

The story starts out fairly slowly, with detailed back story and build up of events. Once it gets rolling, however, you find yourself drawn in deeper, wondering with each new downfall, how Wingate can escape the next ordeal. There is plenty of action and emotion. The hero, after overcoming so much as a youth, only wants to enjoy the good life his hard work has brought him. Instead, he finds himself making tough moral decisions that will affect that life, or if he even gets to continue living.

There are a lot of details, but Hurwitz does a fine job of tying together all these details. From a cheap lighter to Shep’s knowledge of safes. From a stuffed polar bear to Shep’s ‘deafness’. There is a lot of character insight, especially Mike’s (he is the main character after all), and his seeing his past meld with his present. Still even for the length it is a very good piece of writing.

My ranking:

Brown Belt

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