Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tower by Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman

As some of you know, I'm an eclectic reader. I like thrillers, cozies, suspense, noir and whatever else is out there. Ken Bruen is one of my favorite authors, and I was especially glad to get a copy of Tower, a new collaboration between Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman (another favorite).

This is a very different and difficult collaboration. Unlike many other writers who collaborate by writing every other chapter or smoothing over all chapters together, Ken and Reed wrote separate sections, first person, from the point of view of two different characters. They then had to add a prologue and epilogue. No mean feat, but something these two did extraordinarily and seamlessly well.

The characters definitely have different voices as they tell the same story from two different points of view. This is not an easy story to read, either. It's pretty brutal in parts. The characters are from Brooklyn. They grew up in the 'hood" together and went from petty crime to murder and mayhem. Both Ken and Reed capture the substance and edginess of their characters as they carry the reader through the plot. You might not like the characters or want to spend time with them personally, but you'll sure get a grip on how they think. Tower is not all brutality, though, the characters are so well developed that you will also feel for them. There's even a sense of poignancy in the novel.

The two writing styles are as different as the characters. Even if you didn't know there were two writers, you'll recognize Ken's lean poetic writing and Reed's fuller prose style. Tower really works on all levels.

Busted Flush Press does a great job by including interviews with both Ken and Reed as well as their editor. In addition, Ken has a wonderful introductory essay on how this novel came to be written. Be sure and hang out in Bars. I enjoyed these auxiliary pieces to the novel and encourage you to read them.

Read an excerpt: Tower:

Looking forward to the next collaboration between Ken and Reed.

And Breaking News: Tower was optioned for a movie by Brad Weston, Gil Adler and Shane McCarthy. (Hat Tip to Jon Jordan of Crimespree Cinema for the news!)

Weston is a former head of Paramount and was behind the second and third Scary Movie films as well as Bad Santa. He is also a producer on the upcoming Sin City 2 as well as the forthcoming remake of Footloose.

Gil Adler has been working in film and television for almost three decades. His films include Valkyrie, Superman Returns and Starsky and Hutch. He is also working to bring Bruen's Once Were Cops to the big screen as well as Havana Nocture by T.J. English, another book about the end of the mob that both Jon and I agree is pretty fabulous!

Shane McCarthy has worked on a trio of shorts and is co-producing several projects, including Havana Nocturne, with Adler.

From Crimespree Cinema:

Reed: "It’s amazing to see how a simple idea nurtured with a mix of mutual respect and friendship can blossom into this project."
Ken: "I give all the credit to Reed, Al (Guthrie, agent and a fine author himself) and of course, David (Thompson of Busted Flush Press) who published the book. I'm the roadie in this terrific band, cross me heart."

Wow!!! Hope this gets made. The whole time I was reading the book, I was thinking about what a great movie it would make.

But don't wait for the movie. Go down the Mean Streets with Tower. Buy the Book!

Cover Photo: CrimeSpree Magazine

1 comment:

carl brookins said...

You are right on the money, Janet. Collaborations are often interesting and often really really difficult. I know at least three "sets" of authors who collaborated, all ultimately unsuccessfully, after some publication. Now I read a book called "Doubleback," in which an author collaborates with herself, melding two characters from quite different series. It's an interesting tour. Does it work? Read it. From Bleak House by Libby Hellmann