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Add, Gregg Hurwitz!,
This review is from: Tell No Lies (Hardcover)
I first discovered Gregg Hurwitz while browsing randomly in a W.H.Smith in Gallions Reach. I think it may have been You're Next. It looked to me like it was in the general Lee Child, Baldacci, Barclay category of thriller. Linwood Barclay is the closest comparison, probably. Paranoid domestic thrillers.
The Hurwitz novels are a few shades darker than Barclay. When people die in Hurwitzworld, they don't just die; they are thoroughly knocked off. Tell No Lies is no exception. I won't recount the plot, as others will do that, suffice it to say that I found it gripping and well-written, and the twists and turns are satisfying unpredictable.
It seems to me that it is more a matter of chance than merit that some other writers at present have a higher profile than Gregg Hurwitz. To my reader's eye, he more than belongs in the top echelon of popular thriller writer alongside the likes of John Grisham and David Baldacci. Perhaps he just needs a break, one breakout book that catches fire and catapults him into another level of market consciousness.
A lot of Gregg's protagonists and settings are not what one might call especially glamorous. I enjoy this kind of, as I said, domestic thriller, of the type that Linwood Barclay specialises in, but it seems to me that the cheap and easy way in which many top-rank thriller writers attract high profiles and levels of readership is by writing about protagonists who circulate in higher corridors of power. As someone once said, people don't go to the movies to watch someone else hit a home run, they go to the movies so that they might vicariously hit that home run. And when people read books, if they have a choice vicariously to be a top-ranking spy caught in a geopolitical nightmare or an average Joe caught in a suburban nightmare, they will vote for the more aggrandised dream, with the result that the likes of Baldacci gets the more aggrandised sales figures and profile.
There are numerous exceptions to this rule. Jack Reacher is the most obvious, but then he is really just a superhero masquerading as a schlub, and frequently ends up advising Presidents and spy chiefs. I wonder whether Gregg's earlier dalliance with a cop figure, in the shape of the recurring protagonist Tim Rackley, has left him feeling that he has exhausted that genre. It would be a shame if so, as Tim Rackley was never what one might call a true insider; he was almost as domestic and compromised as some of Gregg's later side-street protagonists.
I would love to see the Hurwitz darkness and unpredictability piped through a protagonist and a plot drinking in more rarefied air. None of this is meant as a criticism of Gregg; just that I have put down some of his books feeling more exhilarated than after reading the so-called elite few writers, but twinned with a pinch of frustration that given that all of the exhilaration took place in a suburban street rather than on Pennsylvania Avenue, Gregg's name recognition and sales figures may continue to lag the likes of David Baldacci.
If you are looking for another writer to add to your Daniel Silvas and Vince Flynns and Harlan Cobens and David Baldaccis, add Gregg Hurwitz!