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David PittThe two central characters in this compelling thriller are exceedingly unlikable: Allander Atlasia, a deeply disturbed criminal who escapes from the Tower, a maximum-security prison, and heads off on a murder spree, and Jade Marlow, a deeply disturbed former FBI agent who now makes his living as a "tracker" and who seems to be the only person who can stop Allander. Readers may have trouble knowing which character to root for, but first-novelist Hurwitz still manages to make us care about what happens. His character aren't likable but they are vividly rendered, the narration is sharp, and the dialogue jumps off the page. The early chapters, describing the Tower and the men imprisoned there, are especially impressive. There are dozens of ways Hurwitz could have imitated other writers here, and dozens of mistakes he could have made. He avoids them all. This is the kind of novel that will probably be snapped up by Hollywood, but, once word of mouth picks up, readers might not want to wait for the movie. An impressive debut.
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