‘The Tower,’ by Gregg Andrew Hurwitz

The Tower

Before he was a bestselling author (and before he deserved to be) Gregg Hurwitz wrote his first novel, The Tower, including his middle name in his byline. I figured I’d read it just for fun.

It is, definitely, a first novel.

You can see the author’s potential. It’s a high-energy story, written more like an action movie than a work of fiction. Author Hurwitz admits in his introduction that The Silence of the Lambs was his model, and there are a number of similarities—though Hurwitz lacks Thomas Harris’ character depth.

The male hero has the confusing, semi-Raymond Chandler-esque name of Jade Marlow. Marlow is a former FBI agent who (rather improbably, but the improbabilities pile up past counting) is temporarily re-attached to the agency in order to pursue serial killer Allander Atlasia. Atlasia has escaped from a fictional (and unlikely) high-security prison unit. Marlow attempts to get inside Atlasia’s head and anticipate his moves, resulting in a lot of chases and near-misses. Atlasia, of course, turns it into a game and teases Marlow with obscure clues.

It all doesn’t work very well.

At this point in his career, Hurwitz hasn’t mastered characterization. He attempts to dig below the surface, and provides vivid accounts of the personal traumas that led his main characters to become what they’ve become. But the bottom line is that I didn’t believe in them for a minute, and their behavior didn’t always make sense. On the other hand I didn’t dump the book from my Kindle unfinished either, so it could have been worse.

I don’t recommend The Tower very highly, unless you’re just keen to complete your Hurwitz collection. Cautions for violence, mild sex, and lots of rough language.

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