Hurwitz, Gregg 1973- (Gregg Andrew Hurwitz)
Hurwitz, Gregg 1973- (Gregg Andrew Hurwitz)
The Tower, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.
Minutes to Burn, Cliff Street Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Do No Harm, Morrow (New York, NY), 2002.
The Kill Clause, Morrow (New York, NY), 2003.
The Program, Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.
Troubleshooter, Morrow (New York, NY), 2005.
Last Shot, Morrow (New York, NY), 2006.
The Crime Writer, Viking (New York, NY), 2007.
Author of Gregg Hurwitz Weblog, located at http://gregghurwitz.blogspot.com. Author of screenplays for Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Paramount Studios, and ESPN. Contributor to MAX Sampler, Marvel Comics, 2006. Contributor to books, including Show Business Is Murder, Berkeley Crime Press, 2004, Meeting across the River, Bloomsbury, 2005, and Thriller, Mira Books, 2006. Contributor to academic journals, including Word & Image, Upstart Crow, and Sexuality and Culture.
Gregg Hurwitz grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and wrote his first novel, The Tower, while completing his education. The story is a psychological thriller set in the Bay area where, in an offshore maximum security prison, maniac Allander Atlasia kills everyone except for one other inmate and then escapes. The FBI calls in Jade Marlow, known for his extraordinary tracking ability, a former agent turned bounty hunter, who in pursuing Atlasia, deals with the criminal's demons, as well as a few of his own. Booklist's David Pitt commented that Hurwitz's characters "aren't likable, but they are vividly rendered, the narration is sharp, and the dialogue jumps off the page." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called The Tower a "sucker-punching, tongue-in-cheek debut psychokiller tale that spoofs, and tops, the hyperviolent Hollywood genre films that have inspired it."
In the environmental thriller Minutes to Burn, Hurwitz places the action in a Jurassic Park-like Galapagos Islands setting. The year is 2007, the ozone layer is gone, and earthquakes are shaking the world. A deadly virus develops, and a swarm of nine-foot preying mantis-like creatures threatens scientists studying the quakes and the U.S. Navy SEALS brought in to assist them. The navy crew includes the leader Derek, a husband and wife team, and an immense operative named Tank. "Most enjoyable is the fiftyish knife-wielding Nam vet, Savage, who practically steals the book," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Hurwitz was inspired to write the novel while doing research in the Galapagos, where he encountered the strange amphibians, reptiles, and insects that are so specific to the region. When he returned, he enlisted the aid of scientific experts in order to flesh out his story. "I was amazed how believable this story is, especially considering its somewhat outlandish plot," commented Marc Ruby for Mystery Reader online. "Hurwitz has taken the time to fill in all the interesting details of ozone depletion as well as biological and tectonic information. The science is fascinating." A Kirkus Reviews writer who thought the book is also reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, The Dirty Dozen, "and maybe even Beowulf," concluded by noting the book's "vivid cast," [and] "engrossing story. Hurwitz demonstrates once again that he's a thriller writer to be reckoned with."
Hurwitz dedicates Do No Harm to his physician father, "who taught me that ethics are never timid, rarely convenient, and always vital." The story is set in Los Angeles and the UCLA Medical Center, where Clyde, a man who had been included in a psychological experiment as a boy, throws corrosive lye into the face of an emergency-room nurse and then similarly attacks a female doctor. Because the brother of the nurse is with the police department, its full force and fury are directed at finding the perpetrator. When he is caught, after being beaten by the police and being scarred by the substance, he is brought to the emergency room, where the staff, with the exception of David Spier, chief of emergency services, refuses to treat him. Clyde escapes, and Spier risks his own life in order to recapture him.
Reviewing Do No Harm, Jabari Asim wrote in the Washington Post Book World that Spier "is fully realized," and added that "another supporting player is the most intriguing character in the book … and is one with whom Hurwitz has a great deal of fun. A shadowy operative named Ed Pinkerton—who seems to know everything and demonstrates a convenient mastery of covert surveillance, computer science, and disguise—steps in from time to time and offers Spier lifesaving assistance," Asim noted. "The pair's banter is believable and funny, and Pinkerton is a character worth seeing again." Booklist's William Beatty wrote that Spier's application of medical ethics in his practice is just one of the threads "in a smoothly written, gripping fabric of believable incidents, ethical questions, and changing relationships." Library Journal reviewer Jo Ann Vicarel called Hurwitz "a brilliant storyteller." Harriet Klausner reviewed Do No Harm for BookBrowser online, saying that Hurwitz "is the heir apparent to Robin Cook if this medical thriller is an indicator of the chill level that leaves readers reconsidering any visit to an emergency room." Klausner called the novel "a compelling read."
Hurwitz explores themes of honor and vengeance in The Kill Clause, his fourth novel. Tim Rackley, a U.S. deputy marshal, and his wife, Dray, a Los Angeles County sheriff, receive news that their daughter has been savagely murdered on her seventh birthday. Though the perpetrator is quickly arrested, the prosecution bungles the case and the killer is set free on a technicality. Tim is then contacted by the Commission, a vigilante group dedicated to correcting miscarriages of justice, and offered membership into the organization as its executioner. The Kill Clause received decidedly mixed reviews. A critic in Kirkus Reviews observed: "Hurwitz, … wanting to write a novel of ideas that's also a fast-paced thriller, gets hung up between the two," and Entertainment Weekly contributor Scott Brown remarked that the author "comes alive only when he's describing men locked in mortal struggle: The violence is so detailed, so mercilessly, excruciatingly story-boarded, it's almost erotic." According to Joe Hartlaub, writing on Bookreporter.com, "the ultimate aim of this fine novel is not simply to entertain but to get the reader thinking about the consequences of stepping outside the system in order to obtain a measure of justice that otherwise is denied."
Tim Rackley enters a cult to save a film producer's child in The Program. Having lost his job due to his involvement with the Commission, Rackley accepts a proposition from Hollywood mogul Will Henning: rescue Henning's teenage daughter, Leah, from "The Program," and Henning will use his influence to help Rackley rejoin the marshal's service. After adopting a new identity, Rackley goes undercover in "The Program," where he matches wits with cult founder T.D. Betters. "Grounded in character and believable detail, Hurwitz's thriller engages on every level," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Wes Lukowsky, writing in Booklist, called the novel "a gripping read from start to finish."
In Troubleshooter, Rackley, having rejoined the U.S. marshals, tangles with an outlaw motorcycle gang called the Laughing Sinners. Having learned that their president, Den Laurey, is being escorted to a federal penitentiary, members of the Sinners stage an ambush to free him, killing two marshals in the process. When Dray Rackley, now eight months pregnant, attempts to recapture Laurey, she is seriously wounded, and her husband determines to track down the gang leader. "Hurwitz is a rock-solid writer, researcher and plotter," observed a critic in Publishers Weekly. In the words of a Kirkus Reviews contributor: "It's the righteously resolute Rackley you pay your money for, and he doesn't disappoint."
A former marine breaks out of prison and goes on a murderous rampage in Last Shot, another work featuring marshal Tim Rackley. The marshal must follow the trail of Walker Jameson, a Desert Storm veteran who masterminds his escape from Terminal Island Penitentiary and begins targeting officers of a pharmaceutical company. Hurwitz "moves easily between the gritty scenes of violence and the more subtle abuses of power in corporate boardrooms," noted a reviewer in Publishers Weekly.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 1999, David Pitt, review of The Tower, p. 1158; July, 2001, Roland Green, review of Minutes to Burn, p. 1980; August, 2002, William Beatty, review of Do No Harm, p. 1931; June 1, 2004, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Program, p. 1708.
Entertainment Weekly, August 15, 2003, Scott Brown, review of The Kill Clause, p. 79.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 1999, review of The Tower, p. 245; June 1, 2001, review of Minutes to Burn, p. 761; June 15, 2003, review of The Kill Clause, p. 825; July 15, 2004, review of The Program, p. 649; July 15, 2005, review of Troubleshooter, p. 756.
Library Journal, March 15, 1999, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of The Tower, p. 109; June 15, 2002, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of Do No Harm, p. 93; September 15, 2006, Patrick Wall, review of Last Shot, p. 48.
Publishers Weekly, February 1, 1999, review of The Tower, p. 73; July 2, 2001, review of Minutes to Burn, p. 49; July 15, 2002, review of Do No Harm, p. 56; May 26, 2003, review of The Kill Clause, p. 43, and Adam Dunn, interview with Gregg Hurwitz, p. 44; July 12, 2004, review of The Program, p. 44; July 25, 2005, review of Troubleshooter, p. 45; July 24, 2006, review of Last Shot, p. 36.
Washington Post Book World, August 13, 2002, Jabari Asim, review of Do No Harm, p. C3.
BookBrowser Web site,http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (February 15, 1999), Harriet Klausner, review of The Tower; (June 14, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Do No Harm.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (February 25, 2007), Joe Hartlaub, reviews of Do No Harm, The Kill Clause, The Program, Troubleshooter, and Last Shot.
Curled Up with a Good Book Web site,http://www.curledup.com/ (February 25, 2007), Phillip Tomasso III, review of The Kill Clause.
Gregg Andrew Hurwitz Home Page,http://www.gregghurwitz.net (January 25, 2007).
Mercury News Web site,http://www.bayarea.com/ (August 1, 2002), Mark Johnson, review of Do No Harm.
Mystery Ink Web site,http://www.mysteryinkonline.com/ (February 25, 2007), David J. Montgomery, review of Last Shot.
Mystery Reader Web site,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (October 18, 2002), Marc Ruby, review of Minutes to Burn; (February 25, 2007), Lesley Dunlap, review of The Program.
Pop Matters,http://www.popmatters.com/ (July 31, 2002), Celia S. McClinton, review of Do No Harm.