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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Tower
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 1999
The Tower is a brilliant first crack at fiction for new-comer Hurwitz. From the first page, his enjoyable knack for meaningful dialogue and clever prose transcends the genre. Characters and scenes are painted more with a brush than with a computer stroke in this novel.
But Hurwitz spares no punches with substance, delivering top-flite suspense and riveting action. From the claustrophobic bowels of the foreboding Tower, the world's newest Alcatraz, to the warped and dangerous mind of Allander Atlasia, the psychotic killer that terrorizes the Bay Area, no detail is left undeveloped. Hurwitz also introduces a refreshing protagonist in Jade Marlow, one whose complexities seem as varied and deep as Atlasia's.
The Tower is a harrowing ride through mayhem and murder, psychological warfare and raw instinct. When you finish the book, what you're left with is pure adrenaline.
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on 4 March 1999
Alcatraz was a preschool facility compared to the TOWER. Like its predecessor, THE TOWER located in San Francisco Bay was to house the nation's worst criminals, a who's who of perverts and sociopaths that make the residents of Arkham Asylum appear as model citizens. Within the dregs of the TOWER, most of the guests stay clear of Allendar Atlasia, who has his own subterranean class of aberrant behavior that frighten even the most dangerous of his peers. All hell breaks loose when the impossible happens and Atlasia escapes and begins a reign of terror in the city.

The FBI uses the basic criminology theory that it takes a nut to crack a nut. They team up a former agent, who may be just as crazy as Atlasia is, Jade Marlow, with hard boiled Agent Travers. Their assignment is to put a halt, using any means possible, to Atlasia's activities. The so-called two "good guys" (Travers is female) stumble and fumble in their efforts to stop a lunatic from causing more harm.

Except for readers who relish extreme gory details with their murders, readers need to escape from the TOWER. The story line can be found in a much better format by reading the book or watching the movie version of the SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. The tour of the TOWER is interesting, but the Arkham Asylum (Batman comics) provides a more intriguing visit. The problem is the characters never make it. Jade comes across as a bumbling Crouseau and Travers fails to arrive. Atlasia is the novel, but without a genuine opposing force (Vader needed Skywalker - Star Wars not wrestling) he cannot do it alone.

Harriet Klausner
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on 7 April 1999
THE TOWER by Gregory Hurwitz is an extraordinarily impressive first effort in a genre of fiction much mined already. The dust jacket makes a comparison to Thomas Harris' work, which is apt...though frankly its report that Hurwitz villain outdoes Hannibal Lecter is an exaggeration. Hurwitz has more charm, intellectual depth and, frankly, plain humanity than Harris. One can never shower enough after reading Harris; one is absorbed, but never repulsed by Hurwitz. It is clear also that the author of THE TOWER has been influenced by Blake's "Tyger" as well as, more obviously, the Freudian interpreters of Shakepeare's HAMLET. Hurwitz engagingly explores the notion of the psyche's two faces (the lamb AND the tyger)...yet he has interestingly blended both archtypes in his "hero" and "villain". As one other review mentioned, it is hard to know who to root for, and that is just the author's point. One often hears that books are "hard to put down"...how literally true it was for this thriller. I began it on a chill, overcast morning and ended that even colder evening. The hero's name--Jade Marlowe--may be a bit overplayed, but aside from that, all flows so smoothly. The highest compliment I can bestow upon any new author's work is to comment: "FASCINATING!".
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on 6 April 1999
Gregg Hurwitz's first literary effort is a winner on many levels. Fans of the psychological intrigue found in 'Silence of the Lambs' or 'Kiss the Girls' will not be disappointed. Hurwitz paints a darkly textured portrait of Allander Atlasia, whose violence serves as therapy for his gruesome childhood. Equally compelling is the narrative of Jade Marlowe, an anti-hero whose own demons have gnawed his humanity to the bone. Hurwitz turns literary and cinematic cliches on their heads in the deadly chess match which ensues when Marlowe is hired to bring in a rampaging Atlasia, and the reader comes to embrace the innocence and evil of both main characters.
With such solid characters and plot in place, Hurwitz has the freedom to run wild in the many action sequences which make the book so memorable. Atlasia and Marlowe battle in locales exotic as the maximum-security prison the book is named after, and as frighteningly 'safe' as the suburbs of northern California.
Perhaps even greater than Hurwitz's gift for plot and character is his flair for imagery. Just as readers feared the water after reading Benchley's 'Jaws,' readers of The Tower should be warned that they'll never approach their front doors quite the same way again after finishing this chilling work.
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on 19 March 1999
The two central characters in this compelling thriller are exceedingly unlikable: Allander Atlasia, a deeply disturbed criminal who escapes from the Tower, a maximum-security prison, and heads off on a murder spree, and Jade Marlow, a deeply disturbed former FBI agent who now makes his living as a "tracker" and who seems to be the only person who can stop Allander. Readers may have trouble knowing which character to root for, but first-novelist Hurwitz still manages to make us care about what happens. His character aren't likable but they are vividly rendered, the narration is sharp, and the dialogue jumps off the page. The early chapters, describing the Tower and the men imprisoned there, are especially impressive. There are dozens of ways Hurwitz could have imitated other writers here, and dozens of mistakes he could have made. He avoids them all. This is the kind of novel that will probably be snapped up by Hollywood, but, once word of mouth picks up, readers might not want to wait for the movie. An impressive debut.
--David Pitt
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on 13 March 1999
Here's one for Hollywood. The Tower portrays two people haunted by similar backgrounds who have wound up on opposite sides of the spectrum. Jade Marlow, the FBI detective delves dangerously deep into the mind of serial killer Allander Atlasia, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat.
Although gory at times, The Tower realistically portrays a man who commits the most horrific crimes a sane person could not even fathom.
I have always been extremely fascinated by serial killers and have read a number of books about them. Hurwitz has clearly done his psychological homework.
Just as a footnote, it would be wonderful if a facility such as The Tower were created. I would feel a lot safer at night.
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on 10 March 1999
THE TOWER will be an unexpected pleasure for readers who do not generally buy books in this genre. First time novelist, Hurwitz, has managed to write a finely crafted tale of a brilliant murderous villain, suffering from among other things an Oedipal complex. What is remarkable about this book is not the story itself but the sophistication with which the author brings his characters to life. I'd recommend this book to anyone with the cautionary note that it does have its gruesome moments. Hurwitz is definitely a writer to watch. With such a spectacular debut novel, he is certain to have many more great books ahead of him.
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on 11 March 1999
The Tower is a taut, expertly written thriller that takes you on a gripping white knuckle ride through the lives of two complex and interwoven characters, the tracker Marlow and the serial killer, Atlasia. Written with an extraordinary eye for cinematic detail and piercing psychological insight that strikes deep in your mind and heart, their story is frightening and gut wrenching as it traverses some seriously scary terrain. Like a perfect Chinese puzzle, it unfolds seamlessly until its powerful and evocative ending raises this novel into the realm of literature. A smashing debut from writer Gregg Hurwitz.
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on 12 April 1999
What an impressive debut from first time author, Gregg Hurwitz. He takes us on a psychological thrill ride as we follow Allander Atlasia's escape from the Tower and his chase by ex FBI agent Jade Marlow. The book is filled with an excellent combination of action sequences and psychological undertones that help make it a compelling drama. These elements make the novel stand out from other books in this genre. Hurwitz is a very visually descriptive writer and I would love to see this on the big screen. Make sure you don't read it late at night, or if you do, leave the lights on.
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on 17 May 1999
Barnes and Noble has The Tower in a recommended section as reviewed by local DJ IMUS--and I thoroughly agree. With fast paced action sequences and interesting characters, this book is a page turner. My wife and I both read it in a few days and have recommended it to several of our friends. The Tower is not a book for the squeamish--some of the killings are fairly gruesome. The book is well structured and will make for great summer reading. An impressive first time effort.
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