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3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  249 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
“Taking up the storied themes of crime fiction—loyalty and betrayal, temptation and treachery—Tower lifts and elevates them, forging a tale both barbaric and baleful, swaggering and broken-hearted. Brutal, soaring street poetry to take your breath away.”—Megan Abbott, Edgar Award–winning author of Queenpin and Bury Me Deep

“A rough and profane read, with haunting echoes of
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Busted Flush Press, LLC
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The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
198th out of 523 books — 636 voters
Caught Stealing by Charlie HustonL.A. Confidential by James EllroyGalveston by Nic PizzolattoAlready Dead by Charlie HustonSend More Idiots by Tony Perez-Giese
New School of Noir
54th out of 163 books — 175 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 450)
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James Thane
Jun 11, 2011 James Thane rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Hard-Boiled crime fiction
Shelves: crime-fiction
"Tower" is a slim and seamless collaboration by hard-boiled authors Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman, which takes the reader into the sordid underbelly of Brooklyn, with brief side trips to Boston and Philadelphia. Two friends from childhood, Todd and Nick, are basically dead-enders, with very few prospects, at least in the straight world. With very little prodding, they are drawn into the orbit of a small-time mobster named Boyle who also employs a largely silent and very intimidating enforcer ...more
Debbi Mack
Mar 07, 2016 Debbi Mack rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
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 fo
Nov 15, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
TOWER. (2009). Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman. ****.
I have to admit that this novel, co-written by these two noir writers, starts off rather badly. I thought to myself: “Here we go again; another novel based on style with no substance.” After a while, however, the writing began to pick up and make sense. There was less posturing by the two protagonists and more fleshing out of who they really were. Our two main characters were Todd and Nick. These were two men from Brooklyn who had grown up
Otto Penzler
Apr 01, 2013 Otto Penzler rated it really liked it
Dark, yet poetic with hilarious dialogue, this noir novel is an inspired collaboration of two outstanding crime writers. Told from the perspective of two childhood friends who cross into the underbelly of the criminal world, Bruen tackles the mind of one character while Coleman enters the other. As the two friends sink deeper and deeper into a world of crime and make continually questionable choices, it becomes clear that neither is entirely whom the other thinks. Meanwhile, the women they chose ...more
Aug 03, 2015 Krausj2 rated it really liked it
These two writers seem like the real deal in this interesting double-perspective story. Each author brings a striking energy to his half of the novel (though it isn't clear that each wrote a separate half -- that's just a reasonable assumption given that the novel has two distinct parts to it). They share a hardboiled perspective, and each is gifted with the ability to write tight and crisp sequences.

The novel essentially retraces the same ground twice, and it's generally effective to see differ
Ronald Koltnow
Nov 09, 2015 Ronald Koltnow rated it liked it
An interesting experiment from Mssrs. Bruen and Coleman. Two stories, actually one story told from two points of view, about the fate of a friendship threatened by divided loyalties. Todd and Nicky love each other, as only two life-long friends can, but one ascends the rungs of criminality while the other seeks a way out. For a short book, this has many tangents, the primary one being the World Trade Center. A coda told from the point of view of a third character pulls together the story of the ...more
Jul 29, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
Very good read. I just had to see what happened....The more I think about this, the more I liked it. It hasn't left me.
Sep 06, 2011 Clifdisc rated it liked it
Call it 3.5 stars.

This book started off very strong and was a quick, well written, engaging read but, I felt the character in Ken Bruen's half was a bit inconsistent.

Tower is a book in two parts, telling the same story from the respective perspectives of two friends, Nicky and Todd. Nickey's section was written by Ken Bruen and Todd's was written by Reed Farrel Coleman. Both halves of this crime novel are lean and mean but, as I mentioned I thought Bruen's half suffered from inconsistent charac
Mar 09, 2013 Raven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brutal and uncompromising collaboration from the doyen of Irish crime, Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman, author of the gritty Moe Prager series. With each relating the same story from the point of view of Nick (Bruen) and Todd (Coleman) what ensues is a perfect slice of noir detailing the friendship between two guys drawn into a world of violence at the behest of ruthless Irish crime boss Boyle and under the uncompromising glare of Boyle’s sadistic henchman Griffin. As they sink deeper into t ...more
Mar 06, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tower? Oh.

Once upon a time...a few years ago I came across a book called the James Deans and I read this book that was not about a boy band with a 1950s theme. This was my first introduction to Reed Farrel Coleman and he's on my list of mystery genre authors I will read. Sadly, that's a small list but what can you do with a finite amount of life to read with.

Tower is a book that was written by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman about Nicky and Todd, two young men from Brooklyn and their lives and
Nov 04, 2012 Harry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
»Tower« von Ken Bruen und Reed Farrel Coleman spielt in New York kurz vor 9/11. Der Roman handelt von handelt von zwei Kleinkriminellen, ihrer Freundschaft und ihren ganz persönlichen Katastrophen. Der Roman ist äusserst unterhaltsam und am ehesten mit der grossartigen Max-Fisher-Trilogie zu vergleichen (»Flop«, »Crack« und »Attica« - auf dt. ebenfalls im Rotbuch-Verlag erschienen), bei der Ken Bruen mit Jason Starr zusammengearbeitet hat. Bei »Tower« wird allerdings die Handschrift von Ken Brue ...more
Mar 06, 2013 Guy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

Tower, a hard-boiled, stand-alone crime novel is the collaborative work of Irish author Ken Bruen and American writer Reed Farrel Coleman. Framed with a short prologue and a very brief afterword, the story is divided into two parts: one told by gangster, Nick and the other told by his best friend Todd. Nick is a low-grade criminal, the son of a former policeman, when he is introduced by Todd to “small-time racketeer” Boyle, and the two friends become part of Boyle’s crew. Boyle is into “cards, h
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
My View:
Unapologetically brutal, VIOLENT (and yes I did mean to shout) and yet somehow engaging. After reading the prologue I was ready to put this book down, the violence was so graphic and for me abhorrent. Yes I read a lot of crime but realistic, graphic torture and brutality doesn’t work for me or my vivid imagination. However I had heard so many good things about these writers and this book in particular that I thought I would continue on and see if there was a story buried amongst the viol
Kami Bumgardner
Sep 25, 2015 Kami Bumgardner rated it really liked it
No one does a surprise dramatic ending like Ken Bruen. Most times when I finish one of his books I sit there with the closed book in my hand- seemingly unable to move until I have digested and re-digested the words I just read. Sometimes for days I will ponder one of his characters actions and wonder how it could all have turned out different....he even makes you sympathetic for the darker, villainous guys and hoping they will set it all right.
Jul 26, 2015 Guy rated it really liked it
A collaboration between Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman. A classic story of two lifelong friends from Brooklyn who end up on opposite sides of the law. It's short and concise. Tightly written and doesn't waste any effort and very powerful. Divided in two parts, the story being told from the points of view of the two main characters. Good summer diversion. Can easily be read in a day. At the beach say. Or on a cruise ship. Wherever.
T.L. Cooper
Oct 23, 2010 T.L. Cooper rated it liked it
Tower by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman explores friendship, loyalty, and deception through the points of view of best friends, Nick and Todd. The co-authored story is divided into sections making the point of view always clear. The stroy flows together well hitting the joint parts of the story with originality and without sacrificing either character’s position in the story. Nick and Todd are drawn into the service of a local criminal with reach beyond their city. Their friendship is tested ...more
Sep 05, 2014 Dan rated it it was ok
Bruen is a genius - a pleasure to read - a laugh riot that hurts like hell. But add Coleman and Bruen becomes just another hack.

Who wrote what part? Who edited whom? Who cares? This pamphlet (you can hardly call it a book) was trash. The only saving grace was the occasional trace of pure Bruen.

I have read some of Coleman's independent stuff. Thought it was nice of Bruen to give him a lift. But Coleman didn't get a lift - Bruen got shanghai'd.

'Nuff said.
Mar 06, 2010 Ladiibbug rated it really liked it
Crime Fiction - Stand Alone

Author Ken Bruen (a big favorite of mine) teams up with Reed Farrel Coleman (author of the Moe Prager PI series) in this short but powerful crime novel.

This is an often violent, gritty tale. Think The Sopranos.

"From a rough Brooklyn neighborhood, Nick and Todd forge a lifelong bond that persists in the face of blood and betrayal. Low-level wiseguys with little ambition and less of a future, the friends become players in the destruction of an international crime syndica
Tim Niland
Nov 02, 2009 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads
Nicky and Todd grew up on the mean streets of Brooklyn, looking for any way to scrape by. Falling into the thug life, their paths diverge: one becomes a street criminal, the other an undercover cop. But their lives would continue to intertwine. This was a very well done collaboration, both Bruen and co-writer Reed Farrell Coleman take one character and tell their story. Both men have a strong, economical writing style that brings their characters stories into a bright light. Bruen seems to reall ...more
J.W. Cunningham
Feb 06, 2014 J.W. Cunningham rated it liked it
Not the cleanest book I have ever read - but the story was decent and the writing was convincing. Not really much of a mystery. Overall, for a book from a thrift sale it was a fairly enjoyable read.
Feb 18, 2016 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir
Short, easy read but interesting because it tells essentially the same story from two different POVs. Typically (of Bruen) violent, sparse and entertaining.
John Hubbard
Mar 21, 2015 John Hubbard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this read. Characters that made me feel for them, and a fast paced story that I just couldn't stop reading try as I might.
Mar 22, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it
Tower by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman is a dark and violent tale of friendship, family, betrayal, love and loss. The tale told by the two main characters Nick (Bruen) and Todd (Coleman) packs more twists, turns and violence into 136 pages than most authors do in books twice the size.

The two authors have written a novel that blends together flawlessly the two stories of Nick and Todd. With a plot that moves along at breakneck speed, fascinating characters and an ending that you won't soon f
Andrew Smith
Aug 22, 2011 Andrew Smith rated it really liked it
Busted Flush Press is a home for crime fiction of the hard boiled variety and this book by two of its favoured writers showcases this genre at its very best. It tells the story of two young gangsters starting out on the streets of New York; Bruen tells Nick’s story and Coleman tells the same tale through the eyes of his pal, Todd. The dialogue is terse and snappy and in fact the whole book is dark and spare. It’s so well done that I found myself re-reading certain passages just to savour quality ...more
John Kues
Mar 03, 2010 John Kues rated it it was ok
This short book was just too much - violence, messed up families, etc. I really like Coleman's other books. Don't know why it got such high ratings by others, I guess at its core is the friendship of two guys, and their twisted relationship. At times I was confused, not sure which character was on, and I am not sure what happened at the end. I won't go into that here, I think it leaves one hanging a bit. Not my cup of tea.
Jun 06, 2011 Pete rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
I will be reviewing this in depth over at my blog (, but I'll sum up by saying that Ken Bruen continues to prove why he's in my top 5 crime authors, and Coleman is quickly moving up the ranks. This story is told from two POVs, and both are written really well. Highly recommended if you are a fan of either Bruen or Coleman.
Mar 22, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
A must-read for fans of both authors - you can feel each writer's unique style, but they rub along together nicely like companionable friends. The two-sides approach with Nick and Todd's separate points of view works well for the story of betrayal and rage and makes for solid noir reading.
Bryan Cyr
Mar 27, 2016 Bryan Cyr rated it liked it
Shelves: noir
Two authors and one story usually doesn't work for me, but I enjoyed the structure of this book. Read my full look at this one here:
John Johnstone
Started out encouraging but eventually lost interest three quarters the way through. The mob culture described here did not really have any substantial story line and without that I gave up.
Patrick O'Neil
Jul 25, 2011 Patrick O'Neil rated it it was ok
Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman co-write a dark thriller each depicting a main character's point of view - interesting concept, that inexplicably weaves itself into 9/11. Ah, yeah.
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Ken Bruen, born in Galway in 1951, is the author of The Guards (2001), the highly acclaimed first Jack Taylor novel. He spent twenty-five years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, S.E. Asia and South America. His novel Her Last Call to Louis Mac Niece (1997) is in production for Pilgrim Pictures, his "White Trilogy" has been bought by Channel 4, and The Guards is to be filmed in Ireland by De ...more
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