Saturday, August 22, 2009

TRUST NO ONE - Gregg Hurwitz

Nick Horrigan went into hiding at age seventeen after the death of his step-father. Now he's trying to lead a semi-normal, quiet life. But his serenity is shattered the night a SWAT team breaks into his apartment and forces him to a terrorist stand-off where the terrorist is demanding to speak with only Nick.

The supposed terrorist is left with only enough time to provide Nick with a clue about the death of his step-father and the events that lead to his life of hiding. As Nick begins to investigate, he finds more than he bargained for, and suddenly everyone in his life is in danger again.

The future of the thriller novel is safe as long as Gregg Hurwitz continues to write at the level of TRUST NO ONE. The intensity of this novel starts in overdrive:

"I snapped awake at 2:18 A.M., the bloodshot numerals staring at me from the nightstand."
And it doesn't let up until your heart rate settles back down after hitting "The End." The plot is tightly written with exquisite twists and turns and even some loops. As the classic "doubting Thomas" a lesser writer would have me saying, "come on; could that really happen?" But what I've discovered with Gregg Hurwitz is just the opposite. I'm gripping the book for dear life because I'm convinced it could happen to ME! Not to mention, I don't have time for doubt because the plot plain and simply MOVES. Those are the signs of a great thriller.

But what takes Hurwitz's writing beyond "a great thriller" is the fact that plot does not dominate the book. It is integral and that's what makes it a thriller, but character is equally important. I believe that's the element that banishes my inner Doubting Thomas from existence. Because the reader can connect so fully with the characters, the events don't seem improbable at all. Instead what the reader finds is the materialization of his/her deepest fears in the plot. To illustrate this point is a statement that's made early in the book:

"A single bad decision can open a world of lamentable consequences."
How many people have never had that fear when making decisions? The world of psychology probably has a disorder name for someone who doesn't worry that a decision they make could have lasting negative consequences.

Another of the strong themes throughout the book is the idea of safety and security. Nick struggles throughout the pages to find his safety and security, and so does every other character. Every character deals with the struggle in his/her own unique way, but every character struggles. Readers can identify with that struggle. The constant changes of life leave most people at one time or another, and often many times, feeling alone and vulnerable. Hurwitz pulls in the reader because he/she wants to find the safety and security alongside Nick. If he can find it, surely I can find it as well, right? Thus, the reader connects with the characters. And the reader is invested. And the book is now far more than a "great thriller." It's plain and simply an extraordinary book.

I could end my review at this point because I've highlighted the major factors making TRUST NO ONE an extraordinary book, but I also think I need to mention an element that may be overlooked in thriller novels - writing style. Thrillers tend to move, move, move so we often overlook the finer points of the writing if they're there. And with Hurwitz they are most definitely there. He never skimps on word choice or imagery or detail. And humor peppers the pages at precisely the right moments.

TRUST NO ONE is one of my favorite reads of the summer; it is in contention for one of my top reads of 2009. I highly recommend it.

As an added little bonus to this review, I wanted to embed this interview of Gregg Hurwitz about TRUST NO ONE, conducted by Robert Crais, to whom the book was dedicated:


rhapsodyinbooks August 22, 2009 at 1:59 PM  

This sounds great! I've never read one of his books and I really want to!

Corey Wilde August 22, 2009 at 10:09 PM  

As if your glowing review wasn't persuasion enough, you bring out the big gun, Crais, who obviously enjoyed the book.

le0pard13 August 24, 2009 at 1:56 AM  

Agree, agree, agree! I finished the audiobook not that long ago, and it was such a fun read. Of course, I had to wait until I got the BBC version (aka We Know in Europe) as Brilliance Audio studio managers choose the ill-suited Patrick Lawlor as the narrator for the U.S. audiobook release of Trust No One). The BBC used Jeff Harding, and his vocal repertory more than suited the Gregg Hurwitz material. Great review, Jen.

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