Gregg Hurwitz'I know you, don't I?' Five words - that's all it takes to plunge Mike Wingate and his family into mortal danger. Mike doesn't recognise the crippled stranger who approaches him at a party ...but the stranger seems to know all about him. What has Mike done? Do they have the wrong man? Overnight, the threats become attacks, and Mike, his wife, and their young daughter learn they aren't safe anywhere -especially not their own home. He doesn't know who they are. He doesn't know what they want. But there's no time to figure it out - because his enemies have killed before, and he's next
Opening this book is like sticking your hand in a vice – once in, you’re gripped and you can’t get out. I read You’re Next in two straight sittings and finished it with a mixture of relief and regret. Relief that I was released at last; regret that there weren’t more chapters to come.
This is good old-fashioned thriller-writing at its best. Each chapter surges like a breaking wave into the next; there’s barely time to catch your breath. Mike Wingate is a builder turned property developer with a wife and young daughter. But on the day he pulls off his first really big deal - one that will set him up for life – he is targeted by two contract killers and is forced to go on the run with his family.
Why do these men want to liquidate Mike, his wife and child? Who is paying them to come after the Wingates? How can Mike protect himself and his family? And is the murderous chase in some way linked to his past: the fact he was inexplicably abandoned by his loving parents when he was a small boy, and has been unable to trace them since?
Help arrives in the shape of Shep, a career criminal Mike became blood brothers with in foster care. Shep can handle himself and knows how to live off the grid. But can he protect the Wingates and help Mike work out what’s going on? Hold your breath. No, seriously.
I love this kind of fast-paced, real-time American fiction. You’re Next is a classic of the genre, quite preposterous on the one hand, weirdly believable on the other.
I really liked Shep. When he and Mike were growing up in a care home, Shep was mercilessly hounded and beaten up by older boys, but never, ever submitted to them. Even after the worst of beatings, he would stagger to his feet, refusing to stay down. Mike protected him and the two forged a bond that decades later is as strong as it was in boyhood. Now, Shep, a wanted felon, rides in like the cavalry to rescue his old friend. It’s all rather touching, actually.
Gregg Hurwitz’s plotting is impeccable. Every twist and turn of the story makes sense; the growing sense of bafflement over why the Wingates are being hunted down is suspended in chapter after chapter until, finally, the truth is revealed. Yes, it has everything to do with Mike’s abandonment as a child. Yes, it is all about stakes that are dizzyingly high. And yes, the evil intent that presses close on the terrified family’s heels has a cold logic to it. And the book closes with a satisfying snap of a jigsaw finally coming together.
Richly satisfying, incredibly exciting, tautly written. More please, Mr Hurwitz.
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