The Tower

The Tower

by Gregg Hurwitz


View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Wednesday, October 24?   Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Shipping at checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details


The Tower by Gregg Hurwitz

In the bestselling tradition of The Silence of the Lambs comes The Tower, a novel of nail-biting suspense and heart-stopping terror played out in a psychological battle of wit, cunning, and pure evil between a diabolically clever killer and his determined hunter.

Allander Atlasia is an infamous psychopath whose heinous crimes have earned him a lifetime stay at the Tower (nicknamed Alcatraz II), the world's most extreme maximum-security prison. But after a briliant and brutal escape, the criminal mastermind begins a killing spree that is intensely personal—one by one, victims fall prey to a twisted and chilling re-enactment of his own depraved past.

Jade Marlow is an ex-FBI profiler and tracker whose fearlessness is only surpassed by the severity of his own inner demons. With a record of irrational behavior and a genius for putting himself into the mind of a criminal predator, he may be the one man diabolical enough to catch Atlasia. In an excalating contest of wills and wits, two equally defiant men race toward a showdown where daring is deadly and failure is fatal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416572794
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 08/13/2007
Edition description: Facsimile
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 505,385
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Gregg Hurwitz is the New York Times bestselling author of more than fifteen novels, including The Nowhere Man. His novels have been shortlisted for numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been published in 30 languages. He is also a New York Times bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). Additionally, he’s written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios (The Book of Henry), and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. Gregg resides in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Tower was magnificent, rooted beneath the swelling waves and standing proudly above the inconsistency of the water. It rose firmly and elegantly, layered with stone over metal, tall and sleek in the salty breeze.

Nicknamed "Alcatraz II" by law enforcers and government officials, and "The Boat Pokey" by inmates across the country, the Peter Briggs Federal Penitentiary was famous for one reason and one reason alone: the Tower. The Tower was conceived over a table covered with cigarette butts and half-drunk cups of coffee at 3:32 in the morning. It had been an election year. Peter Briggs had won the election.

The regular prison, Maingate, framed the end of a peninsula by San Francisco that jutted into the Pacific. It contained the expendable criminal element, those with life sentences doubled back over life sentences. Yet the worst of the worst had a special distinction even within Maingate.

The Tower was fifty yards offshore at low tide. Only about eighteen feet in diameter, it housed twelve levels of prison units, two cells on each floor. It sat within an inlet cut into the craggy walls of the peninsula. When the tide rose, it inched up the side of the structure until only the last two levels peeped out above the water.

A peripheral fence blocked the prison from the vast expanse of sea beyond, its enormous posts grounded with concrete plugs in the ocean floor. Access to the Tower could be gained only by boat, and only from the heavily guarded grounds of Maingate. The guards shuttled back and forth on speedboats like little insects busy at work.

The Tower was constructed to be the most airtight security facility in the world. Like anything built with such exuberance, it had a few design flaws — a few places where overzealousness lapsed into an arrogant carelessness. However, for the most part, the Tower was what it was designed to be: a steel trap.

Level One was used for storage only, so the second level was the lowest floor that housed prisoners. Because it was the darkest, Level Two was referred to as "the Dungeon." The loudest prisoners were kept there so their noise wouldn't disturb the guards.

The first eight levels were always underwater, and the only natural light they received filtered through the steel bars from the floors above. The twelfth level remained empty, for security reasons. Despite the tremendous precautions, the warden felt Level Twelve was just too close to freedom and the guards above.

A large fan, protected by a steel gate, was situated underneath the first level. Piping ran beneath the ocean floor from the mainland, drawing air to feed the fan. But the sluggish movement of the blades was not enough to sweep the musk from the air. Only the top four levels had vents, though those on Level Nine were never opened, as they were almost always beneath the ocean's surface.

A single carbon gaslight was encased in bulletproof glass on every other level, slightly illuminating the metal walls. These bleak lights trailed through the dimness of the Tower, making it seem as thickly claustrophobic as a mine shaft. At night, they were usually turned off.

The interior of the Tower was constructed of thick steel bars. There was barely a quarter of an inch between the bars and the outer wall, which sat over the steel intestines like a stone hide. Not only were the unit walls made from such bars, but also the floors and ceilings.

Home to men who could kill with paper clips and keys, the Tower was designed as the barest possible livable environment. No plaster could be risked for walls, no wood for floors. The steel bars that composed the inside of the Tower had another advantage: They allowed the guards to see through the levels to check on the inmates. Initially, the architects had experimented with an unbreakable glass, but they had found that it fogged heavily with mist from the ocean and created a ventilation nightmare.

The outside wall of each curved cell measured twenty feet, and the cells were five feet in width. Each faced its mirror image across "the Hole," an open cylinder of air that ran straight down the center of the Tower. There were spacings of eight and one-third feet between the units on each side; this ensured that the prisoners never established bodily contact, and that the guards could always remain out of reach.

Due to the fact that the ceiling of each cell also served as the floor for the one above it, the prisoners could most easily communicate with the men directly above or below them. Although this design element may have seemed a lapse in the Tower's tight security, few of the men were tall enough to reach their ceilings, even from their beds. Those who were could hardly get their fingers to the bars, let alone through them. The neck-strained interaction between the floors served the Tower's design: to break the spirits of nearly indomitable men by removing from them all the trappings of civilization.

The cells each had a minuscule toilet with a small tap that swung into place above it, allowing it to double as a sink. The toilets caught the water before it spiraled down through the barred floors. Each unit had a single mattress on a steel frame, and a thick blanket for the chilly nights off the California coast.

The Hole formed the shaft for the platform elevator, four feet in diameter, which was operated by a handheld unit. Precisely framing the elevator was a two-foot platform between the Hole and the unit doors. When not in use, the elevator was raised out of the top of the Hole ten feet in the air, leaving only the dark emptiness below.

When the prisoners were unruly or when it rained (which rarely happened), the large Hatch was swung into place underneath the raised elevator, blocking out all natural light and moisture. However, when the sun was directly overhead and the Hatch was open, light shone through the metal mesh of the raised elevator, and the two men on Level Eleven could see clearly down into the units ten levels beneath them.

A prisoner was shackled around his biceps and wrists when transported, and his thighs were strapped together to allow only minimal leg movement. He was sent down the elevator with a guard on each side. He was always gagged, and often hooded. At all times, one of the two guards had a gun with the safety off trained on the prisoner. The necessity of such seemingly paranoid precautions had been learned at painful expense. Prisoners were only moved once, and they were only moved in.

Before a prisoner was taken to the Tower, a small sensor was surgically embedded in the tip of the ring finger on his left hand. If he escaped, this device allowed his movements to be tracked. The prisoners were put under general anesthesia while the sensors were installed, and were kept heavily drugged until a significant amount of healing had taken place, sometimes five or six days. The Maingate physicians feared if the prisoners fully awakened before then, they would dig the sensors out with their nails and teeth.

Food was delivered to the prisoners twice a day. It came in the form of a large loaf containing all the necessary nutrients to allow an animal to function. A cross between quiche and bread, the loaves were light brown when cooked correctly. They required no plates or silverware, part of the reason for their continued use. They were delivered by a guard at precisely 10:30 A.M. and 7:15 P.M.; he slid them through a small rectangular slot, barely the size of the loaf itself, at the bottom of each unit door.

A long metal arm with two outgrowths at the end was used to guide the loaves through the slot. The loaves were referred to by the inmates as "shithouse bricks." They had minimal taste.

When a prisoner behaved perfectly for a week, he was allowed a large sheet of paper and two crayons with which to entertain himself. A guard held a box through the bars with a metal arm to retrieve the crayons when the time was up. This was called "Sketch Duty."

Sketch Duty was perhaps the only activity that the prisoners unanimously held to be important. It was the sole end of the prisoners' lives to obtain this hour of distraction each week. They could keep the pictures in their cells for two days, then they were removed and taken to be analyzed at the criminal psychology department of the Ressler Institute on the mainland. The pictures were often used in lectures.

Aside from the occasional books they were allowed, Sketch Duty was all that the prisoners had to break the monotony. Inside the Tower, minutes could stretch to hours, hours to lifetimes.

Despair prevailed in the bowels of the prison; nobody would ever be released and nobody had ever escaped its dark confines. The inmates sat pressed against the metal bars of their cramped cells, reciting their tales in the broken tongues of idiots.

Copyright © 2001 by Gregg Andrew Hurwitz

What People are Saying About This

Peter Hedges

In The Tower, GreggAndrew Hurwitz merges his formidable intellect with his love of a good story. The gratifying result: a smart and impressive first novel where the pages seem to turn themselves.
— (Peter Hedges, author of What's Eating Gilbert Grape)

James Thayer

Gregg Andrew Hurwitz puts the pedal to the floor in his first paragraph, and doesn't let it up until the very last page....Don't start this novel in the evening if you need to get up on time and go to work the next morning.
— Author of Five Past Midnight

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Tower 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some of the reviews indicate that Atlasia, the villan, is a worthy successor to Hannibal Lector and THAT IS ACCURATE! There are two main characters in the book, Atlasia, a villan unlike most in his desire to kill and maim as well as the hero, Jade Marlow, a successful 'tracker' with a former FBI background. One would think that Marlow was too tough for the FBI to control as he driven like there is no tomorrow. The tower, itself, is unique and the early part of the book describes a group of prisoners who are scary enough on their own to merit books. Alas, Atlasia proves to be the worse of the clan, escapes, and sets forth on a spree that will keep you reading until the very end. Hopefully, the author will write a sequel so that we can read another Jade Marlow novel soon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a real sleeper. I found it by reading reviews on bn and I am really glad I read the book. The suspense is wonderful, the characters are believable and quite opposite each other. Every chapter has a twist and turn in it. I hope Mr. Hurwitz will continue writing because he has a loyal fan here and I know anyone who reads this book will become a fan also. Please keep them coming Mr. Hurwitz!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of action if you can tolerate the grey details. Enjoy all his books and the pace of action and occasional levity!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AnnVR More than 1 year ago
A good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ed60 More than 1 year ago
While I like Hurwitz's work, the hero this of story was extreemely unbelievable in that his authority and demeanor would never be tolerated in real life. With that being said, I like the plot and the thought processees of both of the two main characters. The psychology in the novel is great and the tensions are taut. Great first novel.
Eric Ravanello More than 1 year ago
flat out amaing book. the character depth is excellent and graphic detail comes across like a movie. i have read it twice already and enjoyed every word each time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Teriffic, unable-to-put-down book! This may very well be the BEST psychological thriller I've ever read. Excellently defined characters and non-stop chills. Can't wait 'til Hurwitz' next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was so intense, i couldn't put i down....even at work! i love the characters, all of them. some very gory scenes which i thought were very cool yet very disturbing. i love some of the offbeat humor too. a great read, can't wait for a second book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hurwitz is adept at his craft. The Tower is an extraordinary psychological thriller that ranks among the best of the genre, including Silence of the Lambs and Cat & Mouse.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I searched for this book for 2 years before I found it - and I had to order it! Definately not disappointing. Great character depth, could've gone a little further, but overall a fantastic read!