The Survivor - Sean Slater

    This novel channels ‘Taken,’ ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Bad Boys’ in a fictional display of testosterone charged cop drama.

     

    The novel’s enthralling opening sees three masked gunmen mow down a school canteen full of teenagers, grabbing readers by the throat and pulling them into the breathlessly tense action. It is the Canadian cop protagonist’s first day back after a six month leave of absence and, what’s more, his daughter is a student at the very same school – a terribly unfortunate twist of fate but a necessary narrative device.

     

    The perpetrators continue to commit a series of heinous crimes that the novel’s hero must pre-empt and prevent before more lives are lost.

     

    If you like action and thriller novels then ‘The Survivor’ will be your perfect read. It is, for example, riddled with cop clichés. Take our hero, who is named ‘Striker’, making it clear he is a persevering fighter and man not to be messed with. There is a romantic plotline with his partner, a Hispanic hottie, while his Britney obsessed daughter displays classic signs of teenage angst and resentment.

     

    Characters aside, the language is entirely what you expect from a transatlantic cop novel. Lines include “‘Your story’s got more holes in it than a box of Cheerios’” and “‘Amen to that, Chuckles.’” Slater ends each chapter with a cliffhanger, often just four of five words (“Ich smiled. ‘We got video.’”). At times the stereotypical ‘cop’ language is rather cringe worthy, such as the chapter closing “‘You got it darlin. The one and only. Time to go see Meathead.’”

     

    But this clearly works. Cop novels need to be punctuated with cliffhangers to keep readers feeling as tense as their characters, they need courageous characters that will do anything in the name of justice, and they need punchy language to offer a fast paced narrative. These elements are vital in ‘The Survivor’, keeping you on the edge of your seat... and looking nervously over your shoulder.

     

     

    Reviewed by Lucy Richards, an English Literature graduate who consumes books almost as fast as 400g slabs of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. I blog, I read and I drink tea as I stumble my way through life. I am, in a nutshell, Jane Eyre in training.

     

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