The Survivors Club

The Survivors Club

by Lisa Gardner

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. . . that’s what Jillian Hayes, Carol Rosen, and Meg Pesaturo call it. They won’t consider themselves victims. They are survivors. They helped lead the investigation that caught the man who changed their lives forever. Now they are the prime suspects in his murder.
Could three ordinary women have been driven to do the unthinkable? Detective Sergeant Roan Griffin knows all too well what can drive even the best people to cross the line. Has someone in the Survivors Club become a killer? And if so, can he blame her, let alone bring her to justice?
“Starts fast and never stops moving. Clever, complex, and original!”—Phillip Margolin
“Has it all: provocative plotting, engaging characters, and a razor-sharp emotional edge.”—Stephen White
“This club is worth the dues.”—People

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345544247
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/25/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 176,083
Product dimensions: 4.42(w) x 7.38(h) x 1.25(d)

About the Author

Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include Live to Tell, Hide, Alone, and The Neighbor, winner of the International Thriller Writers’ Award. Her FBI Profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England.

Read an Excerpt



The blonde caught in the sights of the Leupold Vari-X III 1.5-5 x 20mm Matte Duplex Illuminated Reticle scope didn't seem to fear for her life. At the moment, in fact, she was doing her hair. Now she had out a black compact and was checking her lipstick, a light, pearly pink. Jersey adjusted the Leupold scope as the reporter pursed her lips for her own reflection and practiced an alluring pout. Next to her, her cameraman let his heavy video equipment fall from his shoulder to the ground and rolled his eyes. Apparently, he recognized this drill and knew it would be a while.

Ten feet away from the blonde, another reporter, this one male—WNAC-TV, home of the Fox Futurecast, because heaven forbid anyone call it a forecast anymore—was meticulously picking pieces of lint off of his mud-brown suit. His cameraman sat in the grass, sipping Dunkin' Donuts coffee and blinking sleepily. On the other side of the stone pillar that dominated the sprawling World War Memorial Park, a dozen other reporters were scattered about, double-checking their copy, double-checking their appearance, yawning tiredly, then double-checking the street.

Eight-oh-one a.m., Monday morning. At least twenty-nine minutes until the blue van from Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) was due to arrive at the Licht Judicial Complex in downtown Providence and everyone was bored. Hell, Jersey was bored. He'd been camped out on the roof of the sprawling brick courthouse since midnight last night. And damn, it got cold at night this early in May. Three Army blankets, a black coverall, and black leather Bob Allen shooting gloves and he still shivered until the sun came up. That was a little before six, meaning he'd had two and a half more hours to kill and not even the chance to stand up and stretch without giving his position away.

Jersey had spent the night—and now the morning—hunkered behind a two-foot-high decorative-brick trim piece that lined this section of the courthouse's roof. The faux railing afforded him just enough cover to remain invisible to people in the courtyard below, and more importantly, to the reporters camped in the grassy memorial park across the street. The railing also offered the perfect rifle stand, for when the moment came.

Sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m., the blue ACI van would pull up. The eight-foot-high wrought-iron gate that surrounded the inner courtyard of the judicial complex would open up. The van would pull in. The gate would swing shut. The van doors would open. And then . . .

Jersey's finger twitched on the trigger of the heavy barrel AR15. He caught himself, then eased his grip on the assault rifle, slightly surprised by his antsiness. It wasn't like him to rush. Calm and controlled, he told himself. Easy does it. Nothing here he hadn't done before. Nothing here he couldn't handle.

Jersey had been hunting since the time he could walk, the scent of gunpowder as reassuring to him as talcum. Following in his father's footsteps, he'd joined the Army at the age of eighteen, then spent eight years honing his abilities with an M16. Not to brag, but Jersey could take out targets at five hundred yards most guys couldn't hit at one hundred. He was also a member of the Quarter Inch Club—at two hundred yards, he could cluster three shots within a quarter-inch triangulation of one another. His father had been an American sniper in 'Nam, so Jersey figured that shooting was in his genes.

Five years ago, seeking a better lifestyle than the Army could afford him, he'd opened shop. He used a double-blind policy. The clients never knew his name, he never knew theirs. A first middleman contacted a second middleman who contacted Jersey. Money was wired to appropriate accounts. Dossiers bearing pertinent information were sent to temporary P.O. boxes opened at various MAIL BOXES ETC. stores under various aliases. Jersey had a rule about not hitting women or children. Some days he thought that made him a good person. Other days he thought that made him worse, because he used that policy to try to prove to himself that he did have a conscience when the bottom line was, well, you know—he killed people for money.

If his father knew, he definitely wouldn't approve.

This gig had come along five months ago. Jersey had been instantly intrigued. For one thing, the target was a genuine, bona fide rapist, so Jersey didn't have to worry about his conscience. For another thing, the job was in Providence, and Jersey had always wanted to visit the Ocean State. He'd made four separate trips to the city to scope out the job, and thus far, he liked what he saw.

Providence was a small city, bisected by the Providence River, where no kidding, they ran gondola rides on select Friday and Saturday nights. The slick black boats looked straight out of Venice, and the mayor even had a bunch of good ol' Italian boys manning the vessels in black-striped shirts and red-banded strawhats. Then there was this thing called WaterFire, where they lit bonfires in the middle of the river. You could sit out at your favorite restaurant and watch the river burn while tourists bounced around the flames in gondolas. Jersey had been secretly hoping someone would catch on fire, but hey, that was just him.

The city was pretty. This courthouse, on the east side of the river, was an impressive red-brick structure with a soaring white clock tower that dominated an entire city block. Old world colonial meets new world grandeur. The front of the courthouse sat on Benefit Street, which seemed to be a mile-long advertisement for old money—huge historical homes featuring everything from Victorian turrets to Gothic stone, interspersed with green lawns and neatly constructed brick walls. The back of the courthouse, where Jersey was, overlooked the sprawling memorial park, the grassy expanse littered with dignified bronze sculptures of soldiers and significantly less dignified pieces of modern art. The modern art carried over to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), with its urban campus stretching alongside the courthouse.

Rhode Island didn't have much in the way of violent crime. Thirty homicides a year, something like that. Of course, that would change today. The state was better known for its long history of financial crimes, Mafia connections and political corruption. As the locals liked to say, in Rhode Island it isn't what you know, but who you know. And in all honesty, everyone did seem to know one another in this state. Frankly, it freaked Jersey out.

Jersey started to yawn again, caught it this time, and forced himself to snap to attention. Eight twenty-one a.m. now. Not much longer. On the grass across the street, the various news teams were beginning to stir.

Last night, before coming to the courthouse, Jersey had sat in his hotel room and flipped back and forth between all the local news shows, trying to learn the various media personalities. He didn't recognize the pretty blonde down below, though her cameraman's shirt indicated that they were with WJAR, News Team 10, the local NBC affiliate. Network news. That was respectable. Jersey was happy for her.

Then he wondered if the woman had any idea just how big her morning was about to become. His target, Eddie Como, aka the College Hill Rapist, was major news in the Ocean State. Everyone was here to cover the start of the trial. Everyone was here to capture shots of slightly built, hunch-shouldered Eddie, or maybe get a glimpse of one of his three beautiful victims.

These reporters didn't know anything yet. About Jersey. About his client. About what was really going to happen this sunny Monday morning in May. It made Jersey feel benevolent toward all the bored, overhyped, overgroomed individuals gathered on the grass below. He had a treat for them. He was about to make one of them, some of them, very special.

Take this pretty little blonde with the pearly pink lips. She was up first thing this morning, armed with canned copy and thinking that at best, she'd get a shot of the blue ACI van for the morning news at her station. Of course, the other twenty reporters would shoot the same visual with pretty much the same copy, nobody being any better than anyone, and nobody being any worse. Just another day on the job, covering what needed to be covered for all the enquiring minds that wanted to know.

Except that someone down in that park, sitting on the grass, surrounded by war memorials and freakish exhibits of modern art, was going to get a scoop this morning. Someone, maybe that pretty little blonde, was going to show up to get a routine clip of a blue ACI van, and come away with a picture of a hired gun instead.

There was no way around it. The only time Jersey would have access to Eddie Como was when the alleged rapist was moved from the ACI to the Licht Judicial Complex on the opening day of his trial. And the only time Jersey would have access at the Licht Judicial Complex was when Eddie was unloaded from the ACI van within a fenced-off drop-off roughly the size of a two-car garage. And the only way Jersey could shoot into a drop-off zone enclosed by an eight-foot-high fence was to shoot down at the target.

The massive red-brick courthouse took up an entire city block. Soaring up to sixteen stories high with swooping red-brick wings, it towered above its fellow buildings and zealously protected its back courtyard and the all-important drop-off zone. So Jersey's options had been clear from the beginning. He would have to access the courthouse itself, easily done in the cover of night once he learned the routine of the Capital Security guards.

He would have to take up position on the sixth-story roofline immediately overlooking the drop off point to have a clean shot down into the fenced-off area. He would have to line up the shot in the cover of darkness. And then, when the van finally arrived sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m., he would have five seconds to stand, blow off the top of Eddie Como's head, and start running.

Because while the state marshals who escorted the inmates probably wouldn't be able to see him—the angle would be too steep—and while the prisoners themselves wouldn't be able to see him—they would probably be too busy screaming at all the brains now sprayed in their hair—the reporters, every single greedy, desperate-for-a-scoop reporter camped across the street—they would have a clear view of Jersey standing six stories up. Jersey firing a rifle six stories up. Jersey running across the vast roofline, six stories up.

The shot itself was going to be easy. A mere seventy feet. Straight down. Hell, Jersey should forget the assault rifle and drop an anvil on the guy's head. Yeah, the shot itself was downright boring. But the moments afterward . . . The moments afterward were going to be really entertaining.

A disturbance down the street. Jersey flicked back to the pretty blonde in time to see her drop her lipstick and scramble forward. Showtime.

He glanced at his watch. Eight thirty-five a.m. Apparently, the state marshals didn't want to keep the reporters waiting.

Jersey brought his rifle back down against him. He adjusted the scope to 1.5, all he would need for a seventy-foot headshot. He checked the twenty-cartridge magazine, then chambered the first round. He was using Winchester's .223 Remington, a 55-grain soft point bullet, which according to the box was best for shooting prairie dogs, coyotes and woodchucks.

And now, the College Hill Rapist.

Jersey got on his knees. He positioned the rifle along the top of the rail, then placed his eye against the scope. He could just make out the street through the stone archways lining the outer courtyard. He heard, more than saw, the black wrought-iron fence of the inner courtyard swing open. Calm and controlled. Easy does it. Nothing here he hadn't done before. Nothing here he couldn't handle.

He flexed his fingers. He listened to the reassuring crinkle of his black leather shooting gloves . . .

The prisoners would be shackled together like a chain gang. Most would be in khaki or blue prison overalls. But Eddie Como would be different. Facing the first day of trial, Eddie Como would arrive in a suit.

Jersey waited for the barking sound of a state marshal ordering the unloading of the van. He felt the first prick of sweat. But he didn't pop up. He still didn't squeeze the trigger.

Twenty reporters and cameramen across the street. Twenty journalists just waiting for his or her big break . . .

"Courtyard secure! Door open!"

Jersey heard the rasp of metal as the van door slid back. He heard the slap of the first rubber-soled shoe hitting the flagstone patio . . .

One, two, three, four, five . . .

Jersey rocketed up from his knees and angled the AR15 twenty-two degrees from vertical. Searching, searching . . .

The dark head of Eddie Como emerged from the van. He was gazing forward, looking at the door of the courthouse. His shoulders were down. He took three shuffling steps forward—

And Jersey blew off the top of his head. One moment Eddie Como was standing shackled between two guys. The next he was folding up silently and plummeting to the hard, slate-covered ground.

Jersey let the black-market rifle fall to the roof. Then he began to run.

He was aware of so many things at once. The feel of the sun on his face. The smell of cordite in the air. The noise of a city about to start a busy work week, cars roaring, cars screeching. And then, almost as an afterthought, people beginning to scream.

"Gun, gun, gun!"

"Get down, get down!"

"Look! Up there. On the roof!"

Jersey was smiling. Jersey was feeling good. He clambered across the courthouse roof, the gummy soles of his rock-climbing shoes finding perfect traction. He turned the corner and rounded the center clock tower, which rose another several stories. Now you see me. Now you don't.

Shots fired. Some overpumped state marshals shooting their wad at an enemy they couldn't see.

Jersey's smile grew. He hummed now as he stripped off his gloves and cast them behind him. Almost at the rooftop door. He grabbed the front of his black coveralls with his left hand and popped open the snaps. Three seconds later, the black coveralls joined his discarded rifle and gloves on the rooftop. Five seconds after that, Jersey had replaced his rock climber's shoes with highly polished Italian loafers. Then it was a simple matter of reclaiming the black leather briefcase he'd left by the rooftop door. Last night, the briefcase had contained the dismantled parts of an AR15. This morning, it held only business papers.

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Survivors Club 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 184 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Three women were brutally raped, one of them die due to complications, and her sister who walked in on her rape was badly beaten. At first I thought it would be too much violence. I quickly changed my mind. The characters were well developed and emotionally consistent with the story. The book was very good. Stayed up through the night finishing it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On the surface it would appear that the members of THE SURVIVORS CLUB had nothing in common. Meg is a twenty-year-old college student; Carol is a fortyish uptown homemaker; and Jillian is a fiercely independent woman who runs her own business. Yet the three women have formed a strong bond based on the fact that they all survived attacks of a serial rapist.

`Their group is largely responsible for the arrest of the College Killer Rapist. They all believe that the DA will have no trouble convicting Eddie Como for his crimes because his DNA matched with samples taken from all the crime sites. On the first day of the trial as Eddie is taken to court, an assassin on a nearby roof kills him. The women believe their nightmare is over but they will soon realize it is only just beginning.

THE SURVIVORS CLUB is a superb crime thriller told from the point of view of the three protagonists and the lead detective on the case. Lisa Gardner handles these multiple third person viewpoints so that the reader knows what is happening at all the time. However, this knowledge in no way gives a hint to what the final outcome will be or even if all the players will survive a diabolical psychopath¿s ingenious plan. Fans of Patricia Cornwell will enjoy Ms. Gardner¿s latest potboiler.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't believe that this is the same writer of The Perfect Husband, The Other Daughter, The Third Victim and The Next Accident. Even those books were good, but this one will blow you away. Right at the beginning your hooked and can't put the book down. Great characters, great plot and plenty of twist. I did not want this book to end. You get so taken in that you can't let go. One Of the best books of the year. You will not be disappointed. I predict a movie.
freq_traveler More than 1 year ago
I really like Lisa Gardner - good, quick reads with inventive plots and interesting characters. This book did not disappoint. I enjoyed the characters and wasn't able to figure it out until the very end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lisa Gardner's books just get better and better. If you have not read any of her books before, start with this one. The author does an excellent job building the plot and there are plenty of twists and turns. If you like suspense, the Survivors Club is the book for you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Any book I can read in 2 days with two kids in the house is a good book. Lisa Gardner makes her characters interesting and the plot intriguing. Another great Lisa Gardner book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, Lisa Gardner is a fantastic story-teller!! I love her twists and turns, and her ability to "bring it all together" in the end!! I have only recently discovered her, and now am a HUGE fan!!
BeachReadGirl More than 1 year ago
Great book. Suprising twists and turns. Shocking ending. Very interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first book by this author but definitely not my last! The reader is hooked on the first page and is gasping with surprise at the end of the first chapter. Be prepared to stay up way later than you intend! As soon as i finished this one, I immediately purchased another one on my Nook and it was great also (The Other Daughter) As a long time fan of Nora Roberts/JD Robb, I'm delighted to find Lisa Gardner also!
HaileeKayNanny03 More than 1 year ago
this was a great book!! I almost could not put it down!! I love this author and I think I have everything she has put out but have not read them all but so far I have not been disappointed!! can't wait for her new book to be released!!
Mannatee More than 1 year ago
Another great book from lisa gardner. I could not putt this book down . Great chaaracters , good storyline thatt kept me trying to figure out ' who done it. '
Guest More than 1 year ago
The moment I opened this book's very first page and started reading, I could not put it down. I was shocked right from the beginning as I never saw some of the things coming... Highly recommended, especially to those Lisa Gardner fans. Even if you have not read any of her other titles, you will fall in love with this book. Read it, and read many other titles written by Lisa Gardner as well. It's worth the read!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book and I never put it down. I could not wait to find out the ending...yet I hated to close the book on new found friends. EXCELLENT EXCELLENT read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lisa Gardner is a master at writing compelling characters and interesting, clever plots. This book ranks right up there as one of her best. She handles the issue of rape with class and empathy. Lisa also takes you on the journey of how three victims support and heal each other through their interaction with the Survivor's Club. An incredibly entertaining book.
jbemrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's about three women their lives are torn up side down by a serieal rapist. The women started the survivor club to get over there violent brutality. They ended up to be prime suspect in the murdered case of there rapist because they wish he was dead. But there was a twist the candy man the state police arested for a childed rapist and killer. He ended up being part of the callege hill rapist case. It was a spine thriling story
kd9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm addicted to buying trashy novels in airports. There wasn't much to choose from in the Maui airport, so I picked an author that I hadn't read before. Certainly her writing style is quick and clever. Her characters are individual and understandable. But for heavens sake, can't we have one thriller WITHOUT a smart, manipulative psychotic criminal who organizes crimes in order to "get back at" the police. If they were so smart, why didn't they disappear before they got caught?This is the story of three women with secrets who survive vicious assaults and rapes. They band together and lead the police to a subject who is to go on trial today. But the suspect is killed by a professional assassin who is then killed by a car bomb. Did one of these women hire a professional killer to spare themselves a trial? No. All of these complex crimes are actually the plan of a master criminal who is targeting the detective who arrested him.Well written trash is still trash. This story is unnecessarily complex and centers on an unbelievable villain. The detective is too smart and too good. The victims too easily satisfied. The good and the evil too easily separated. If I want to read about psychotic killers, next time I will find another author with characters painted in shades of gray.
sjmccreary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a fast-paced and tense story about 3 women who all survived being attacked by the same serial rapist. Their persistence and public presence led police to a suspect who was arrested and charged with the crimes. On the day his trial was to begin, he was assassinated while being transferred from the prison van into the courthouse. That night, another woman was raped and murdered, with evidence at the scene pointing to the dead man.Since the shooting occured at the courthouse, the state police automatically had jusisdiction, and the case was assigned to an investigator on his first day back on the job from an 18-month absence. We gradually understand the whole reason for the extended leave, but we know in the beginning that it was related to his wife's death and a particularly nasty case involving a serial killer. As the state investigator teams up with the city police detective in charge of the rape cases, and working together with the surviving women, the relationship between the murder of the rape suspect, and the ongoing rape case become increasingly clear.I don't think I've ever read anything by Gardner before, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be looking for more by her. The story seems well-researched and seems tightly written. It was a great beach read
FutureBestSeller on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
WOW! This is my first novel I've read of hers. I will certainly be starting a collection. I had trouble putting it down and she pulled me into madness! Go to her website! I love 'Kill a Relative/Maim a Friend'
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"The Survivors Club" consists of Jillian Hayes, Meg Pesaturo, Carol Rosen--a "business woman, a college coed and an upper-crust wife." They all survived the College Hill rapist and banned together to put pressure on the police that led to the arrest of Eddie Como. On the day his trial was to begin, a sniper guns him down in front of the courthouse. What happens right afterwards to the assassin in the first pages is the first twist of the book, and hooked me in. The primary investigator is Roan Griffin of the Rhode Island State police. He too in his way is a survivor. The day of the killing is his first day back after he snapped under the pressure of the death of his wife and the investigation of a child killer.There were several things about this book I liked, despite its flaws. First, I liked how the flashbacks to the attacks on the woman manages to describe rape in a way that while somewhat graphic, isn't titillating or eroticized (although I could have done without the cheesy italics). I liked the way the book emphasized instead the terror and physical brutality of the attacks, and the continuing trauma the women experience. In other words, this is poles away from say James Patterson's Kiss the Girls in the way it handles the subject. And I did like how it depicted the close bond between the women, and how if helps them find a way to survive, and find a way they can someday thrive. The last one hundred pages is as suspenseful and nail-biting as anyone could ask.Without doubt this is the quintessential trashy thriller. I mean, man, Meg has total amnesia? Really? And we get that eye-rolling super-villain with the cunning high-concept plan, and the way Griffin is described is at times a bit too romance novel to my taste. Also, dude, despite what the book claims, identical twins do have identical DNA. They are, essentially, clones. But this was decently written even if by no means distinguished in style, with likable characters, and kept me turning the pages, interested to the end. Not many popular thrillers can manage even that. So, good airplane reading material can be had here.
starlet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have never read a Lisa Gardner book before and the Survivor's Club was on my list as a highly recommended read. I normally don't listen to crime dramas; however, I really enjoyed the suspense in this fast-paced novel. The description of the rapes really brings home the fact of what an act of violence rape is (especially in this story) -- the author handled the subject matter with incredible understanding and empathy, yet getting her point across about the true nature of that hideous crime. The characters are well developed and it kept me listening raptly to all of the twists and turns that one loves in a good crime mystery. I plan on reading her other books now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someway I missed reading this book. I've had it since it came out . Fantastic read. I won't give the plot away . I hope you enjoy reading this book. It's one I'll read sgain. Talk about ups and downs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt put it down! This was my first book to read from this author and i was so impressed how captivating she was. I am so behind on all my housework because all i wanted to do was read this book. This book will not dissappoint you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Normally I enjoy her books but this one dragged on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago