Gross has written another intriguing book with his latest,
Everything To Lose. As with most of his books he
explores the question of how someone's life can change in
a brief moment. These random acts and their resulting consequences
lead to dire penalties.
The plot takes off from page one when a down on her luck mother,
Hilary Cantor, witnesses an accident while driving along a
suburban road she has never taken before. Having just lost
her job, caring for her handicapped son with Asperger Syndrome,
and having a deadbeat husband she makes a fatal decision.
Hilary discovers the dead driver has a briefcase stuffed with
a half million dollars. In a weak moment she takes the money
hoping to prevent her financial ruin.
It is with these scenes that Gross is at his best. He has
the reader question how far would a parent go to protect their
child; including doing something they knew was wrong? For
Hilary this act entangles her in a twenty- year old murder
conspiracy. Because she now sees herself in a position to
lose everything, Hilary connects with a policeman attempting
to get his life and his town's life back together after Hurricane
Sandy. They work together in an attempt to bring down a powerful
Gross stated, "My idea for a novel is that something
starts on a bit of a routine level and then the stakes become
larger and larger. I think this is what makes a good thriller.
I have this mundane act that just spirals and multiplies in
consequence. I used these powerful words in the opening, 'life
is about one mistake and then what happens afterward.' I like
the sense of randomness where all the variables are put together
to create an incident."
His characters are well defined, believable, and very sympathetic.
The reader gets to know the character, understand the character's
motivations, and can connect with them. Instead of thinking
of Hilary as someone without moral integrity they feel for
and root for her, understanding her hopeless feelings. Gross
wants Hilary to be seen as "a sympathetic figure who
is forgiven for taking the money. The book is about how this
mother would sacrifice anything for their child including
crossing over the line to do something criminal. If she did
a bad thing for the right reasons does that make it forgivable?
I hope people see Hilary as a gritty mom that is devoted and
A supporting character in the book is Hurricane Sandy. The
policeman helping Hilary, Patrick, is described in the book
as "someone who would break an arm than his word."
Yet, because the storm devastated his sister's house and she
put in fraudulent claims he took over her debt payments to
the insurance company by borrowing it from the Russian mob.
Everything in the book is tied to this storm from having Patrick
needing some of the money found to having clues washed up
on the shore to a murder.
Most of Gross' books are stand alones like Everything
To Lose. However, his next book is the fourth book of
the Ty Hauck series. Gross gave a heads up about this next
novel. "Ty Hauck is no longer the head of detectives
with the Connecticut police force and now works for a posh
security firm. The new book takes place in Colorado and deals
with corruption in the oil and gas business. The controversy
is between hydraulic fracking and the effect on ranchers/farmers
in the area. I consider this story a bit of a modern western."
Everything To Lose is a novel about choices and consequences.
Through well-developed characters and a riveting plot Gross
is able to write a first-class book that the reader will not
want to put down.