Wednesday, June 29, 2011

THEY'RE WATCHING by Gregg Hurwitz

Hurwitz kept me reading through this page turning novel of suspense due to the great story.  THEY'RE WACHING had characters you could relate to.  After finishing THEY'RE WATCHING, I could not wait to read other books by Hurwitz!  A great summer read!


Navigating a hairpin turn, I gripped the steering wheel hard and did my best not to slide in the driver’s seat. If the butcher knife tucked beneath the back of my thigh shifted, it would open up my leg. The blade was angled in, the handle sticking out toward the console, within easy reach. The acrid smell of burning rubber leaked in through the dashboard vents. I resisted the urge to flatten the gas pedal again; I couldn’t risk getting pulled over, not given the deadline.

I flew up the narrow street, my hands slick on the wheel, my heart pumping so much fear and adrenaline through me that I couldn’t catch my breath. I checked the clock, checked the road, checked the clock again. When I was only a few blocks away, I pulled the car to the curb, tires screeching. I shoved open my door just in time. As I retched into the gutter, a gardener watched me from behind a throttling lawnmower, his face unreadable.

I rocked back into place, wiped my mouth, and continued more slowly up the steep grade. I turned down the service road as directed, and within seconds the stone wall came into sight, then the iron gates that matched the familiar ones in front. I hopped out and punched in the code. The gates shuddered and sucked inward. Hemmed in by jacaranda, the paved drive led straight back along the rear of the property. At last the guest quarters came into view. White stucco walls, low-pitched clay-tile roof, elevated porch—the guesthouse was bigger than most regular houses on our street.

I pulled up beside the cactus planter at the base of the stairs, tight to the building. Setting my hands on the steering wheel, I did my best to breathe. There were no signs of life. Way across the property, barely visible through a netting of branches, the main house sat dark and silent. Sweat stung my eyes. The stairs just outside the driver’s side window were steep enough that I couldn’t see up onto the porch. I couldn’t see much of anything but the risers. I supposed that was the point.
I waited. And listened.

Finally I heard the creak of a door opening above. A footstep. Then another. Then a man’s boot set down on the uppermost step in my range of vision. The right foot followed. His knees came visible, then his thighs, then waist. He was wearing scuffed worker jeans, a nondescript black belt, maybe a gray T-shirt.
I slid my right hand down to the hilt of the butcher knife and squeezed it so hard that my palm tingled. Warmth leaked into my mouth; I’d bitten my cheek.

He stopped on the bottom step, a foot from my window, the line of my car roof severing him at the midsection. I wanted to duck down so I could see his face, but I’d been warned not to. He was too close anyway.

His knuckle rose, tapped the glass once.
I pushed the button with my left hand. The window started to whir down. The knife blade felt cool hidden beneath my thigh. I picked out a spot on his chest, just below his ribs. But first I had to find out what I needed to know.

His other hand came swiftly into view and popped something fist-sized in through the open gap of the still-lowering window. Hitting my lap, it was surprisingly heavy.
I looked down.

A hand grenade.

I choked on my breath. I reached to grab it.

Before my splayed fingers could get there, it detonated.
They're Watching

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Always a master of the gripping setup, Hurwitz (Trust No One) outdoes himself in this ultra-suspenseful thriller. One gray L.A. winter morning, disgraced screenwriter Patrick Davis steps out onto his porch in Bel Air, retrieves his newspaper, and finds a DVD tucked inside. The DVD opens with a static image of Patrick's downstairs bathroom, shot from outside the house, then shows him entering, using the toilet, and leaving. Other DVDs follow, each more disturbing than the last, until Patrick receives a phone call: "So… are you ready to get started?" Readers will be more than ready, as Hurwitz sure-handedly leads everyone, Patrick included, through this tale of mystery and murder, serving up one shocking surprise after another. Patrick eventually proves that, even though he's been outmaneuvered time after time, he's not entirely the pawn those manipulating him take him for. A rousing conclusion ties up all the intriguing threads.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Here’s the backstory to this labyrinthine thriller: Patrick Davis, a would-be screenwriter, has finally managed to sell a screenplay. The movie, They’re Watching, is in production, starring a hot young actor. In a skirmish, the actor managed to hurt himself and accused Patrick of assaulting him. Patrick was fired from the film, charged with assault, and sued by the actor and the production company. Oh, and his marriage is on the rocks. As the novel opens, Patrick begins receiving DVDs in the mail, revealing that someone is secretly filming Patrick and his wife in their home. Soon there are e-mails instructing Patrick to do certain things, and from there the story . . . well, let’s just say it never quite goes in the direction we expect it to go. This is a very well constructed thriller, full of twists and turns and unexpected revelations. Hurwitz frequently sets us up to expect one thing but delivers something entirely different. He keeps us constantly on our toes, and—this is especially good—he keeps us guessing right until the very last pages about exactly who has targeted Patrick and why. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Dean Koontz, Linwood Barclay, and Harlan Coben. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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