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Tower: A Novel Paperback – September 7, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Busted Flush Press, LLC (September 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935415077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935415077
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,420,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Divided into two halves, this short, brutally poetic tour of the underside of Brooklyn, Boston and Philadelphia marks the first collaboration between noir masters Bruen (The Guards) and Coleman (The James Deans). Drawing on the classic theme of childhood friends pulled toward different sides of the law, the coauthors tell the story of Nick and Todd in quick concise scenes, sketching backstories and love lives, flipping time and incidents like Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Running errands under the cold eyes of an enforcer, Griffin, for the Bible-quoting gangster Boyle, the heroes learn fast enough that you live in the rain forest, you get wet. And looming symbolically over their narrow, violent world is the north tower of the World Trade Center. Bruen and Coleman shine, dropping in-jokes, experimenting and displaying all the literary chops that have made their novels such cult favorites among mystery fans. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Taking up the storied themes of crime fiction -- loyalty and betrayal, temptation and treachery -- Tower lifts and elevates them, forging a tale both barbaric and baleful, swaggering and broken-hearted. Brutal, soaring street poetry to take your breath away." --Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Queenpin

"Tower goes off like a slo-mo explosion, a raging blast of white-heat light. It's a compelling study of pathologies, and style, and friendship and fate. Fuelled by tenderness and murderous hate, it's as tender as it is brutal, tender as a savage wound, ragged and raw. Here be monsters, crippled monsters: Nicky and Todd are the truest angels and demons of our mean streets I've read for some time. Be afraid." --Declan Burke, author of The Big O

"Tower is spare, powerful, surprisingly tender. And as seamless a piece of two-author writing as you'll ever find." --S. J. Rozan, Edgar Award-winning author of The Shanghai Moon

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
This is an extremely good, fast, enjoyable read.
Rick Mitchell
The different parts of the story intermesh very well, and you get one perspective on what is happening, and then the other.
Frank J. Konopka
I was a little disappointed by the ending, but to say why would spoil the book.
Chris La Tray

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
TOWER is the book I had been waiting for all year. Ken Bruen is the Irish dark angel who, for the past several years, has carved a new and distinctive niche into the crime fiction genre. And Reed Farrel Coleman is a writer's writer, a master of noir crime fiction whose name is on the must-read list of all who have cracked the binding of one of his books. The news of a collaboration between the two men meant that the end result could be nothing less than an unforgettable, nightmarish journey to the dark end of a dangerous street. And that is precisely what it is.

TOWER is roughly divided into two sections covering the same period of time from the points of view of two childhood friends whose paths memorably and irrevocably cross and join as adults. Todd is a small-change hood working for Boyle, a mid-level Irish mobster with tentacles of influence throughout the East Coast to Ireland and beyond. Nick is the son of an Irish cop forced into an early retirement and working as a security guard. He doesn't fall under the sway of the evil of bad companions so much as he rushes to embrace them. Indeed, as his mother says, "he's got the bad drop."

When Todd brings Nick into Murphy's sphere of influence, Nick begins to thrive. But neither Todd nor Nick is entirely what the other believes him to be. Todd, especially, is holding a secret that will change the lives and relationship of both men when Murphy discovers it and forces Todd to make an untenable and impossible choice.

Matters are further complicated by the women with whom each of the men are involved. Nick meets Shannon by happenstance, a love at first sight circumstance that develops slowly and ends abruptly when his life gets in the way. Todd is thrown together with a woman named Leeza.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Frank J. Konopka VINE VOICE on May 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Ken Bruen is one of my favorite authors, and though I don't know anything about his collaborator, I knew I had to read this book because of my prior experience with Mr. Bruen's work. I am very happy that I did, as this book is simply excellent!

The plot concerns two friends, one Jewish and the other Irish. Mr. Bruen writes the part of the book about the Irish fellow and his co-author does the same for the Jewish gentleman. The different parts of the story intermesh very well, and you get one perspective on what is happening, and then the other.

There's a lot of foul language and gory violence, as usual, but they only move the plot forward. I don't like to talk abouit plot details bercause that would only spoil the fun of reading for others. One thing I will say, though: at the end I finally realized the significance of the book's title, because it was a puzzle to me almost all the way through. Read this book for yourself and enjoy some of the best gritty crime fiction being written today!
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By Raven on March 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
A brutal and uncompromising collaboration from the doyen of Irish crime, Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman, author of the gritty Moe Prager series. With each relating the same story from the point of view of Nick (Bruen) and Todd (Coleman) what ensues is a perfect slice of noir detailing the friendship between two guys drawn into a world of violence at the behest of ruthless Irish crime boss Boyle and under the uncompromising glare of Boyle's sadistic henchman Griffin. As they sink deeper into the realms of organised crime is there really going to be a way out when the breaking point beckons for them both...

Nick is a quintessentially Bruen creation, invested with a sharp intelligence, ready wit and propensity for violence. Named after his ex-cop father's favourite Hemingway character, he is an archetypal bad boy, running wild from an early age with a stint in juvie hall leading him into a life of crime- as his father says `You're nothing but a punk'. Nick is a wondefully smart-mouthed character, always walking the tightrope between knowing when to keep his mouth shut and when to suck it up. He also has a healthy disregard for his employer Boyle, mocking his exaggerated Irish brogue and quickly realising that Boyle's right-hand man Griffin poses a far greater danger to his physical well being. Bruen's pitch perfect characterisation of Nick, fair carries the reader along, with his narrative coming at you like a hail of bullets from a machine gun- sharp, punchy and unrelenting. As Nick experiences a kind of epiphany and seeks to assuage his conflicting loyalties, so Bruen unfolds his character a little more, and a little more, revealing a different side to him but never losing the intensity of the rapid fire prose.
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By Sam Sattler on March 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Tower," the gritty crime fiction collaboration of authors Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman, is a special little book. Seldom has so much violence, irony, black humor, and sheer atmosphere been packed into only 172 pages. As a longtime fan of Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor novels, I would expect no less from his half of the book, but I was happy to discover that Reed Farrel Coleman's portion of the novel is the perfect compliment to Bruen's segment.

This is the tale of two boyhood friends with everything in common, including distant fathers, weak mothers, and a willingness to do the dirty work for some of Brooklyn's lowest-level wiseguys. Nick is the son of a failed Irish cop now relegated to rent-a-cop duties at the World Trade Center's north tower. Todd, impressed with the fearless rage Nick can summon up when he has to, admits to having had somewhat of a boy-crush on Nick when they were kids. He knows that Nick hates his physically abusive father but, as he sees it, at least Nick's father cares enough about him to hit him.

As young adults, the two manage to get some work from Boyle, a small-timer with a fake Irish brogue who considers himself to be more Irish than the hard-cases who still live in the old country. What makes Boyle particularly dangerous (and successful) is Griffin, the psychopathic enforcer Doyle keeps at his side to make sure the money keeps flowing in his direction.

When things go bad for the boys, one of them gets an offer from the NYC cops and the Feds he can't refuse: save himself, and maybe his buddy, by informing on his crime connections while working undercover as a NYC police detective. Things get interesting when that buddy is ordered to assassinate the new cop in order to prove his worth and loyalty to Boyle and Griffin.
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