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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

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

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. Their attraction develops slowly; each of them knows
exactly who and what the other is, and it is this knowledge that
leads to both the consummation and termination of their

At the same time, federal law enforcement is ready to destroy
Murphy’s syndicate, with Nick and Todd being caught between
the mob and the law. As the point of view of each man is presented,
an apparent contradiction is resolved, and it appears that both men
will ultimately escape intact with a promise of happiness or
something like it. The conclusion is somewhat enigmatic, at least
at first blush. When the full impact of what has occurred sets in,
however, the climax is as chilling as anything you will read this
year (or any year).

TOWER fulfills every promise made by the concept of this dream
collaboration. Bruen and Coleman collaborate like twin sides of the
same brain, making the difficult look easy --- and unforgettable,
to boot. Dark, violent, frightening and touching, TOWER stands as a
masterpiece in the crime fiction genre.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman

  • Publication Date: September 7, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Busted Flush Press, LLC
  • ISBN-10: 1935415077
  • ISBN-13: 9781935415077