Hurwitz, Gregg (Andrew) 1973-
HURWITZ, Gregg (Andrew) 1973-
The Tower was named a Top Ten Horror Novel by Booklist; Minutes to Burn wasa#1 Los Angeles Times bestseller; Do No Harm was a BookSense '76 pick, a BookSense Top 10 Mystery, and a San Jose Mercury News Top Mystery of the Year.
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.
Gregg Hurwitz grew up in San Francisco Bay 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 Hurwitz's 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, refuse to treat him. Clyde escapes, and Spier risks his own life in order to recapture him.
Jabari Asim wrote in 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 Book-Browser 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."
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.
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.
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.
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; May 26, 2003, Adam Dunn, interview with Gregg Hurwitz, p. 44.
Washington Post Book World, August 13, 2002, Jabari Asim, review of Do No Harm, p. C3.
BookBrowser,http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (February 15, 1999), Harriet Klausner, review of The Tower; (June 14, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Do No Harm.
Gregg Andrew Hurwitz Home Page,http://www.gregghurwitz.net/ (December 30, 2002).
Mercury News,http://www.bayarea.com/ (August 1, 2002), Mark Johnson, review of Do No Harm.
Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (October 18, 2002), Marc Ruby, review of Minutes to Burn.
Pop Matters,http://www.popmatters.com/ Celia S. McClinton, review of Do No Harm.