THE TOWER by Gregg Andrew Hurwitz

THE TOWER

KIRKUS REVIEW

Sucker-punching, tongue-in-cheek debut psychokiller tale that spoofs, and tops, the hyper-violent Hollywood genre films that have inspired it. When Wotan, one-eyed FBI puppet-master, decides to put karate-kicking Jade (“shoot first and ask questions later”) Marlow, a former agent who left the fold when his superiors questioned his ludicrously over-the-top—if successful—man-hunting techniques, in particular on the Atlasia case, plucky and pretty FBI Travers, one tough lady, warns Wotan that “it’ll be like letting a fifteen-year-old loose in a whorehouse, if you pardon my metaphor.” “It’s a simile,” Wotan corrects her, “and I want him.” Serial killer Allander Atlasia, an ingenious criminal Åbermensch who speaks in complete sentences and even uses the expression “pray tell” when lecturing fellow inmates of San Francisco’s maximum security Tower prison, has not only flown the coop, but murdered the guards and just about every prisoner there. Marlow, currently self-employed as a bounty hunter specializing in catching bad guys who are wanted DOA, nearly massacres two newspaper reporters when he hears of Atlasia’s escape—and it isn’t long before he and Travers are bickering, bantering, and trying to figure out why Atlasia removed the eyes from his latest series of victims. The chase awakens slumbering demons inside Marlow, whose relentless pursuit of bad guys, we learn, compensates for a traumatic loss suffered in his childhood. But what about Atlasia’s demented upbringing? Was something Oedipal going on with his mother that led him to set squirrels on fire, etc.? Knowing that he’ll have to take Atlasia down himself, Marlow handcuffs Travers’s ankles together and endures enough physical torment to knock out Mike Tyson as he tries to stop Atlasia from planning a “Timothy McVeigh special” that will blow the Tower to smithereens. A breezy, funny first outing whose manically cornball dialogue, gross-out brutality, and preposterous action scenes aim low, shoot lower, and hit the target every time.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-85191-1
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1999




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