Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dual Narratives Make 'Tower' One Compelling Crime Story

Review: TOWER (Busted Flush Press 2009)
Author: Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman

TOWER was jointly written by award-winning masters of noir, Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman (who also writes under the name Tony Spinosa). The authors create two memorable characters in TOWER and tell each of their stories, one at a time. The beauty of this approach is that, although the reader sees quite a bit from one character's perspective, there's a whole lot of story left to be revealed from the other's.

Nick and Todd have been life-long friends. They fall into a life of crime, working for an Irish mob boss named Boyle – a Bible-reading gangster whose sidekick Griffin gives new meaning to the word "sociopath."

The story starts (after the prologue, that is) in Nick's perspective. He's a guy filled with rage and bad family history (particularly with his father), who comes off as something of a criminal "wannabe." He and Todd (the seemingly more self-assured of the two) run into a bit of trouble trying to pull a job for Boyle. And Boyle puts Nick to a kind of test – one involving Todd. Meanwhile, Nick gets involved with a woman and wants to make the relationship work. But Boyle's test is putting him under pressure. And Todd has some surprises for him, as well.

Things that come out during Nick's part of the story are further explored from Todd's perspective. And (true to form for both authors) the whole picture ain't so pretty.

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