Lisa Gardner

The Survivors Club

The first rule is never blame the victim. They survived what no woman should ever have to endure. Now these three women have the means, the opportunity, and the perfect motive. Are they trying to get away with murder-or is someone trying to make sure that this time they don’t get away at all?

The Survivors Club … that’s what Jillian Hayes, Carol Rosen, and Meg Pesaturo call it. They won’t consider themselves victims. They are survivors. They faced the blazing headlines and helped lead the investigation that caught the man who changed their lives forever. And now that Eddie Como, the College Hill rapist, has been murdered, shot down outside a packed courthouse moments before his trial was about to begin, all three women are openly ecstatic that he’s dead. They are also the prime suspects in his murder.

Detective Sergeant Roan Griffin knows all too well what can drive even the best people to cross the line. But he has never seen a case quite like this one. No one doubts that the murder of Eddie Como was a professional job, especially when the gunman is killed only blocks away from the shooting. But questions taunt Griffin: Who ordered the deaths of Eddie Como and his killer? Could three ordinary women have been driven to do the unthinkable? Had someone in the Survivors Club become a killer?

Griffin seeks the truth-and finds himself confronted with the leader of the Survivors Club. Jillian Hayes is beautiful, successful, cool as ice, and she harbors a pain that mirrors Griffin’s own. Did the horror of what happened to her push her over the thin and desperate line that separates survival and revenge? And if it did, could he blame her-or anyone in the Survivors Club?

Then another woman is brutally attacked … Suddenly, with the city on the ragged edge of panic, gripped in a media and political firestorm of controversy, cover-up, and conspiracy, the hunt is on for a ruthless and cunning killer. For Griffin, this may well be the case that shatters his career. For Jillian, the harrowing nightmare is beginning all over again. Someone is out there. Someone who wants to finish what was started. Someone who wants to make sure that no one survives the Survivors Club.

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“Showing a flair for lip-biting suspense, bestselling novelist Gardner combs out a tangled plot to an engrossing … effect. This club is worth the dues.” – People Magazine

“Gardner returns with her best effort yet in this dynamite tale … Readers are forewarned that they may be up all night finishing this masterfully crafted thriller.” – Booklist

“THE SURVIVORS CLUB starts fast and never stops moving. The plot is clever, complex and original.” – Phillip Margolin, bestselling author of THE ASSOCIATE.

“This should cement Lisa Gardner’s place on the bestseller lists. THE SURVIVORS CLUB has it all-provocative plotting, an astute eye for detail, engaging characters, and a razor-sharp emotional edge.” – Stephen White, New York Times bestselling author of THE PROGRAM.

“Lisa Gardner’s THE SURVIVORS CLUB is a high-octane, nerve-jangling tale of suspense.” – Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling author of GONE FOR GOOD

“Hot dang, a new Lisa Gardner book! I love her hot, fast thrill rides. I’m always first in line to grab my copy of her newest release the day it arrives in stores. For my money, when it comes to suspense, nobody does it better.” – Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author of SMOKE IN MIRRORS

“Gardner should hit the charts again with this one … One cannot read this excellent new novel by bestselling author Gardner (THE NEXT ACCIDENT) without wondering what actors might play these characters, especially the detectives. (Russell Crowe in his Bud White mode should star as Roan Griffin, and Dennis Franz seems a natural for the rumpled and sarcastic Fitz.) A sensitive but tough Rhode Island state police detective just returned from a bereavement leave (his beloved wife has died of cancer), Griffin encounters a hell of a case: a serial rapist, Eddie Como, is professionally hit in the courthouse parking lot, but whoever set up the kill doesn’t want any loose ends: a car bomb results in an extra-crispy assassin. The prime suspects for this crime are Eddie’s surviving victims: Jillian Hayes, who was beaten when she nearly caught the man after he raped her young sister, Trisha, who died; Carol Rosen, neglected wife of a successful attorney with a secret, who was raped in her own home; and the first victim, young Meg Pesaturo, who has mob ties but remembers nothing about the attack. But this is only the beginning of the case, for the rapist seems to rise from the dead to strike again and an old nemesis of Griffin’s may have everything to do with it. The three-dimensional characterizations are compelling, and the plot barrels along with surprising new twists that feel inevitable once they occur. Though the plot doesn’t jell until our hero meets his match in city cop Fitz, the book then rocks and rolls right up to a nail-biter ending coming perhaps a tad too quickly. Roan Griffin is a triumph: hurt, tightly wound, but holding it together and regaining his compassion and ability to reach out. And the grace-note minor characters-the wily nurse Toppi and Jillian’s silent former singer mother, Libby-are gems. Gardner should hit the charts again with this one.” – Publishers Weekly

“A PERFECT TEN” – Providence, Rhode Island – Present Day

“THE SURVIVORS CLUB is what Jillian Hayes, Carol Rosen, and Meg Pesaturo call their group. They survived the attacks of Eddie Como, the College Hill rapist, faced the blazing headlines, and helped the police catch the man that changed their lives forever. But when Como is killed by a sniper on the courthouse roof just minutes before his trial is to begin, Jillian, Carol, and Meg become the prime suspects in his murder.

Detective Sergeant Roan Griffin knows, better than most, what can drive a person toward crossing the invisible line between right and wrong. But this case is different from any other Griffin has seen. There is no doubt that Como was killed by a professional-a pro who was killed by a car bomb less than a block away from the courthouse. Could one of the three survivors have ordered the deaths of Como and his killer? Why would they do so just before the trial that would indisputably prove his guilt?

Determined to find the answers to his questions, Griffin confronts the women. Meg Pesaturo, the first victim, was a college student. She has no memory of that night, nor of her life before then. Carol Hayes, the second victim, is the socialite wife of an attorney. She is a barely controlled bundle of fear whose life, and marriage, have suffered since the night she was raped in her own home. Jillian Hayes, the group’s leader, is the sister of the third victim. She was attacked by Como when she entered her sister’s apartment-too late to save the girl but before the man responsible for her death left. A successful businesswoman, Jillian’s composed fascade is just that; beneath it is a pain that mirrors Griffin’s own. Although the trio will shed no tears over Como’s death, Griffin finds it hard to believe any of them are responsible for it.

Then another woman is brutally attacked. Caught up in a media and political frenzy, amidst controversy and cries of conspiracy and cover-up, the police hunt for a ruthless, cunning killer. The case may shatter Griffin’s career-and his life. But for Jillian, the stakes are even higher, because someone out there intends to ensure that no one survives the Survivors Club.

THE SURVIVORS CLUB is a multi-layered, absolutely riveting thriller. A rollercoaster ride of suspense and surprises, it’s a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat, can’t-turn-the-pages-fast-enough story that will appeal to fans of thrillers and suspense novels as well as to readers who enjoy romantic suspense. Well-written, expertly researched, with intriguing characters and an impressive depth of characterization given all the action, THE SURVIVORS CLUB will be a strong contender for best suspense novel of the year.” – Susan Lantz, Romance Reviews Today

“Imagine your worst nightmare coming to life. For three rape victims, the nightmare continues long after the attacker has slipped back into the night. Three women band together and are notably called the Survivor’s Club.

Jillian Hayes is the cool and collected leader of the group. Carol Rosen, a middle-aged wife of a lawyer and Meg Pesaturo, the 20-something college student, and youngest of all the survivors of this horrendous attack. The three ladies played an intricate part in the capture of Eddie Como, the College Hill rapist, which places them in the public spotlight thanks to the media. Each woman copes in their own unique way after the attacks, and months after as the trial nears.

Griffin, a tough Providence Detective returns to work after surviving his own hell on earth. His first day back he is thrown into the murder investigation of said rapist Eddie Como, who is shot down while being escorted into the courthouse on the first day of his trial. As the investigation continues Roan comes face to face with Jillian, a woman who has suffered a horror not unlike Roan’s. Could Jillian or any of the other victims or their families have a part in the murder of Eddie and his killer?

The investigation soon spirals into many directions. The victims become the accused, as they are now prime suspects in the assassination of their accused attacker. The accused becomes a victim in the diabolical plan of a killer so cunning, he makes Jeffrey Dahlmer look like a Boy Scout. Just when they think they are on the right track to catching the killer, another attack on a woman is reported. This sends the investigation in a totally new direction, pitting Roan against his most chilling adversary, leading to a heart-stopping climax.

Lisa Gardner, master of characterization and plot, has woven an intricate tale of rape, murder, revenge and survival. This story has a menagerie of complex, fallible, engaging make believe characters so startlingly vivid, you will remember them forever. This is a chilling, spine-tingling, edge of your seat read. A guaranteed page-turner that will keep you up all night. The dialogue is smooth, flowing like liquid gold and the point of view of each character is masterfully done, giving you a glimpse of what each is going through during the course of the novel.

Gardner is the grand mistress of storytelling. Not only are her books amazingly detailed and electrifying, they capture the essence of each and every character we are introduced to, whether they are central or secondary in nature. Brimful of emotion and suspense, this brilliant thriller is a definite must for your library and will leave you wanting more.” – Janice K. Wagner, The Best Reviews

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Discussion Questions/FAQs

Tell us a little bit about THE SURVIVORS CLUB.
THE SURVIVORS CLUB involves three women who come together to take on a serial rapist. When the man turns ups dead, did the women take their quest for justice too far? Or is the real terror about to begin?

Was it tough to write about rape?
In all honesty, I thought it was best to keep the rapes as backstory, so I don’t go into much detail. It’s funny, we don’t mind reading about killing women in books, but heaven forbid you should sexually assault one. I understand that doesn’t make much sense, but I have the same issue. It was hard enough to do the research. If I’d written a lot of rape scenes, that would’ve been too much for me.

So why write a book about rape survivors?
Good question. I think it’s the surviving aspect that intrigues me. That women are strong and resilient, but even more to the point, that women form bonds, even unlikely bonds, to help themselves heal. For me, the core of this novel is the way the women try to help one another, and also the ways they can’t help one another. Women, and their relationships, are very complex.

What kind of research did you do?
I had the good fortune to work very closely with the Rhode Island State Police on this book. I toured their headquarters, conducted multiple interviews and generally made a nuisance out of myself. May I just say that the RI State Police are very patient people. My husband is also a lifelong Rhode Islander, so he helped me with a lot of the local details. Basically, we dined at all the fantastic restaurants in downtown Providence and expensed it as research. Wait a minute, does the IRS read these things?

This book features a new cast of characters. What happened to Quincy and Rainie?
I love Quincy and Rainie and I’m sure we’ll see them again in future novels. The plot of this novel, however, called for a new cast of characters. I think Griffin, in particular, is very compelling so I hope readers won’t be disappointed.

This book has a very complicated plot. Past crimes, present crimes, crimes within crimes. Was that hard to write?
It wasn’t easy to write. I probably did more prep work on this novel than any other I’ve written. As a matter of fact, I had to create “case files” on both the Candy Man and the College Hill Rapist to make sure I got everything straight. Again, the RI State Police are very patient people.

What do you like best about this novel?
The women, definitely the women. I think the Survivors Club themselves turned out really neat. I hope readers enjoy this trio.

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Interview with The Readers Room


On Sunday, March 7, 2004 at 9:00 EST, THE SURVIVORS CLUB aired on CBS, starring Roma Downey as Jillian Hayes, Jacqueline Bisset as Carol Rosen and Lauren Lee Smith as Meg Pesaturo.

Lisa’s thoughts:

“Overall, I had fun watching the movie. It was much closer to the novel than I thought it would be, though details were often sliced and diced in a different way. For example, in the beginning of the movie is a section of dialogue I’d written, but it was spoken by different characters than I’d used in the book. David Price still existed, but his crime had changed, etc.

The women of the Survivors Club were very much as I’d pictured them. I give two thumbs ups to Roma Downey, Jacqueline Bisset and Lauren Lee Smith (though Bisset and Smith essentially disappear after the first hour, which is a shame). Also, Brian Markinson was outstanding as a very creepy David Price. My biggest disappointment was probably James Remar’s portrayal of Roan Griffin. I pictured Griffin as much more of a physical presence, say Russell Crowe. In contract, I found James Remar’s portrayal to be flat and frankly, uninteresting. I also thought the ending disintegrated into a very clichéd TV moment, not representative of the novel at all. (Personally, I was shouting, “Shoot him, shoot him,” which I guess just goes to show that I’m a lot more bloodthirsty than TV.) But the movie was fun to watch and I hope entertaining for people whether they read the novel or not.”

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Bantam Dell
Hardcover May 21, 2002
Paperback April 29, 2003
Cover Art © 2002 Alan Ayers

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